Today’s job market remains highly competitive, and some online job openings can result in hundreds of resume submittals. A strong testimonial can grab the reader’s attention and immediately help establish your credibility.
Essentially a resume testimonial is a quote from a letter of recommendation, a performance evaluation, LinkedIn recommendation, or other respectable source offering an opinion on your abilities or appreciation for an achievement. We see commercials using testimonials all the time, and are often swayed by them. This same marketing strategy works wonderfully for resumes when used properly.
There are a few important things to keep in mind when choosing a quote:
• Use something that generously praises you and speaks to the heart of why you would be the best candidate.
• Keep it short and simple so the reader can easily comprehend the message; consider using excerpts (such as in the example below).
• Look for a quote from an impressive source, such as a supervisor, high-profile customer, etc.; remember greater credibility is often associated with the “who” behind the message.
• Whenever possible, look for a quote from your most recent work experience.
Here’s an example of a testimonial that’s been used effectively in a resume for an executive assistant:
“Joan had a strong presence among her peers, and they often looked to her for guidance...she is a high output individual who is very organized and carries out her responsibilities with extreme efficiency.” -- Harvey Core, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at XYZ Corporation
Always check with the author of the quote before using it. Generally getting their “OK” is not a problem; after all, they’ve already said something very positive about you in a format shared with others. However, asking permission is a courtesy and also makes sure they are not caught “unaware” if they are ever asked about it by someone who has seen your resume. You might even consider sharing your resume with them so they can see how the quote has been used.
Placement of the testimonial is also an important consideration. To determine where to put it, think about where it might make maximum impact on the reader. It could be a good way to close a summary or support the impression you want to make of your most recent job by including it right under the position detail.
A powerful testimonial acts as a built-in reference and can provide you with one more tool to give you an edge on the competition.