Testimonials in your resume—or on LinkedIn or similar social media sites—puts you steps above competitors. Testimonials that focus on your skills and accomplishments highlight your potential as an employee.
When choosing testimonials, you are looking for:
- Short testimonials. It may be tempting to include long-winded accounts of your skills, but it’s important to choose quotations that are brief and pointed, to increase their impact as much as possible. Plus you need that space to describe your achievements and skills.
- A maximum of about three testimonials. No potential employer has the time to read a novel of testimonials, nor are they likely to find any groundbreaking information about your skills five testimonials in.
- Testimonials with strong content. What a past coworker, mentor, vendor, customer, or boss has to say about your strengths is more important than whether or not they were president of your company.
- Testimonials that are attributed. It is best to use a full name and position but you can use initials and position or, if necessary, position alone. But make sure the testimonial comes from a real person.
- Testimonials that are positive. Avoid negative language in your testimonials. (For example, you can edit testimonials taken from annual reviews using ellipses (…). In that case, “Jack is reluctant to talk with customers but is the most creative engineer on our team” might become “Jack is…the most creative engineer on our team.”)
- Testimonials that are honest. If all your “testimonials” are negative, do not use them. If the only testimonials you have are from your best friend who never worked with you, skip them. Resumes are fine without testimonials.
- Testimonials that reinforce, but are not redundant. Use different testimonials to elaborate on your most important strengths and achievements, not to mention your impressive people skills for the third time.
- Testimonials that are unique to you as a candidate. Avoid basic statements like “great guy!” Instead, use testimonials that help you to stand out from competitors.
Here is an example of a successful testimonial: “I worked with Jane on the ABC project and she was a wonderful mentor and leader, who inspired me and the rest of the team to bring the project in on time and on budget, making a difficult client very happy.” J. Smith, Engineer
Testimonials will support your value as a candidate if they are short, strong on content, stress the positive, are honest, reinforce your strengths and achievements, and are unique to you.