The term references is used to describe coworkers, supervisors, or managers that have agreed to provide feedback on an individual's past workplace performance to potential employers.
The listing of references on a resume has become less important in recent years. Previously, job applicants would include on their resumes a list of references to potential employers. Eventually, this evolved to a simple one line statement: References Furnished Upon Request. Today, this section is really just a statement of the obvious and best left off the modern day resume.
This is not to say that having references is no longer required. In fact, a list of references should be prepared to send to a recruiter or prospective employer whenever seeking employment.
It's important to gain the permission of a reference before releasing their name and contact information to a hiring manager or recruiter. This is done both as a courtesy and to ensure the person used as a reference is comfortable in that role.
A reference list is different than a letter of recommendation, which is a written document provided by a reference.
A reference list is a one page document, outlining the following types of information for two to three individuals willing to speak to potential employees about their interactions and work experiences with a job candidate: