Barbara Safani 6 Comments

apples.JPGFrom time to time I add testimonials or a quote from a letter of recommendation to a client’s resume or cover letter to add some extra “wow” to their presentation and underscore how well respected they are in their field. Recently, two of my clients questioned this practice because they were unsure how the testimonials would be perceived by the reader. I think that sometimes job seekers get caught up in what they think are the rules of resume writing when in fact there are very few rules when it comes to resumes and standing out in a sea of ordinary is often what lands you the interview. One of the reasons that LinkedIn has become so popular is that it allows you to get a 360 degree view of the person you are reviewing. The content is not just from the perspective of the owner of that profile. Through endorsements, people can elevate their professional brand and show their audience that others validate their value-add and core strengths. If endorsements work for the 25M+ users on LinkedIn, why would one doubt their effectiveness on resumes? Break out of the mold of what you think your resume should be…and what probably looks like everyone else’s resume and add authentic content that differentiates you.


  1. Barbara, I completely agree. I’ve used testimonials for years and find that branded, courageous execs are fine with them. It’s the execs who are uncertain about the validity of their message or who have issues with stepping out side of the box who cringe a bit. Usually they “give in” and find that the “endorsements” or “quotes” are well received. The obvious caveat has to be that the content of the resume or document supports what is “claimed” in the quote. It’s a powerful tool!

  2. Barbara: what you left off of your posting is the answer to the question “does this work?” I’m not so sure that I’m comfortable with a testimonials or a quote being added to a resume – it sorta starts to look like advertising (“Bob drives a Ford, and so Ford is happy to recommend Bob for this position”). I do agree that it would be unusual and might capture some attention. Just be sure that it’s the right kind of attention!

    – Dr. Jim Anderson
    The Accidental IT Leader Blog

  3. Jim,

    Thanks for commenting. Yes, testimonials can be very powerful marketing tools. Of course, the key is relevance…”Bob is a great guy” certainly won’t cut it, but saying “Bob’s strong leadership and team building skills contributed to a 25% increase in widget production or “Bob was the catalyst for getting a stalled project back on track and delivering superior financial results in 2008” will work.

    Like LinkedIn endorsements, testimonials should comment on specific skills and measurable impact.

  4. Deb,

    I’m predicting that with all the new tools out there for online identity, reputation management, and multi-media online portfolios that testimonials will continue to be an important part of the selection process. Thanks for reading!

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