A short quote or two from satisfied internal or external customers can dress up your resume and your LinkedIn or other online profile. Testimonials and recommendations add to your credibility; someone else besides you agrees that you’re terrific! While quotes from other people should never take the place of information about your skills, education and accomplishments, in moderation testimonials and recommendations can be a good addition to your resume.
How do you get testimonials and recommendations? You may find excellent quotes on your performance reviews. If you have received a letter or email with thanks or praise from a customer, co-worker or manager, ask permission from the sender to quote them. If someone praises you personally, ask if they would mind writing down their thoughts. It is okay to actively solicit testimonials, if you are sure that the person you are asking appreciated your help. Some people are happiest if you draft a testimonial for them and ask them to edit it in any way they want. In addition, always obey the rules below:
- The testimonial on a resume or cover letter should be short—just one or two sentences at most—because resume real estate is valuable, and you do not want to take space away from your achievements and accomplishments. Online testimonials and recommendations can be longer. You can always put the full statement online and use an edited version in your resume or cover letter.
- The best quotes mention you by name and briefly state what you did and how you did it. “Great job!” is a far less desirable quote than “[Your name] is the one person I turn to whenever I have a question about the company’s products and services.” The best situation is if the person gives details about a particular instance when you helped or exceeded expectations (“thanks to training by [your name] our sales increased 15% in six months”). If you are soliciting a testimonial, it is fine to let people know that the more specific they can be, the better.
- Only use quotes from people who have had personal experience of your work. Your resume is not the place to share motivational or generic quotes from industry gurus or your favorite book.
When listing testimonials or recommendations, make sure that:
- You have the person’s permission to use the testimonial.
- The testimonial is quoted exactly. You may fix obvious grammatical or spelling errors but do not change the content without permission.
- The person’s name and title are correct. There is no room on a resume for an anonymous quote.
- Each quote is unique and specific. Avoid having a row of testimonials that all say essentially the same thing; once is enough.
- The testimonial is current, professional and in line with the job you are seeking. A testimonial about your skill as a swimming pool guard ten years ago is not helpful when you’re applying for a job as operations manager now.
If you are concerned about using testimonials in your resume, please contact me