A job reference check is not always a part of the hiring process. Some employers never call your references. They feel that you are only going to provide the names of people who will say positive things about you, so they believe it is not worth the time it takes to make the calls.
Other employers place a lot of importance on the comments made by your references. They feel they can gather a lot of valuable information by speaking with people who know you, so it's important to ensure that you are always prepared.
Avoid sending your reference page when you submit your resume.
Employers typically wait until after the interview process to call your references. They don't need your reference page at the stage when they are reviewing your resume.
It's important for you to maintain control over who will be calling your references. If you know an employer will be calling your references, you can contact your references first to prepare them for the call.
If you send your reference page out with every resume you submit, and you submit hundreds of resumes, you will put yourself in a position where any of the employers that interest you could potentially be calling your references without your knowledge. In that situation you will not be able to adequately prepare your references for the call.
Unless you are responding to a job ad that specifically asks you to include your reference page, or you have some inside information about an employer and know that they expect a reference page at the resume review stage (this expectation is rare, but it does happen very occasionally), do not submit your reference page with your resume.
Bring several copies of your reference page to every job interview.
Contacting references can be a time consuming process. Typically, employers don't call references until they are very interested in you as a job candidate. At that time, they may be deciding between you and another strong candidate, and the comments made by your references could sway the employer's decision. Alternatively, they may be quite certain you are the person they want to hire, and they just want or need to double check to ensure there are no areas of concern that may come through in a reference check.
If you have reached a stage in the hiring process in which the employer is contacting your references, you are not guaranteed a job offer, but you are, in many cases, very close to receiving a job offer. Maintain your professionalism and continue to make a good impression on potential employers at this stage in the hiring process by being prepared with good job references.