It can be especially hard to make a compelling case for “soft skills” like those above; they can be hard to quantify or certify.
Rather than just asking the employer to take your word for it, why not have someone else vouch for you?
In an increasingly review-driven world, a new trend in resumes and cover letters is to include a short quote from your manager, a customer or client, or some other credible source.
Sources for testimonials for your resume:
It’s most effective when the quote can be verified, perhaps because it’s online as a recommendation in your LinkedIn profile. That’s a great reason – among many – to get LinkedIn recommendations.
You can also quote from a letter of recommendation, adding in parentheses that the full letter is available upon request. A customer kudo might be another good source, omitting the customer’s name if necessary to maintain confidentiality.
A glowing excerpt from a performance review can be very effective. If it’s recent, include the date.
Example: Judith Jones’ teamwork testimonial
Let’s say Judith Jones wants her resume to communicate above all that she’s a team player. Fortunately, her LinkedIn profile contains the following recommendation from a key internal customer:
“I had the pleasure of working with Judith in two different companies over the course of eight years. Judith is a consummate Human Resources professional and would be an asset to any company that hired her. She is always open to new processes and she partnered well with Payroll. She often came to me and asked ‘How can I make this process work better for you?’ She’s an incredibly collaborative colleague. I highly recommend Judith.”
– Steven Sanchez, Director of Payroll, The Green Company
For her resume, she would shorten this to something brief and punchy, such as:
“Judith is a consummate Human Resources professional … She often came to me and asked ‘How can I make this process work better for you?’ She’s an incredibly collaborative colleague. I highly recommend Judith.”
(Steven Sanchez, Director of Payroll, Multinational Marketing, Inc., excerpted from: www.linkedin.com/in/Judithqjones)
(Notice we are including Steven’s name. His comment has already been made public, so he is unlikely to have any objection to being quoted by name. If the quote were from an unpublished source it would be courteous to ask for his permission.)
Where else can you use a testimonial?
Where would you put this in your resume? Some good spots might be:
- At the end of the Summary. This is a very powerful location, so reserve it for strong, extremely relevant praise from your direct manager, senior management or other high-profile source.
- At the end of the resume.
- In the Experience section, under the job in which you received the praise. This works well if you have similar quotes from your other jobs.
Hang onto those customer kudos – and don’t underestimate the power of testimonials in your resume.
This post was originally published in October 2014. It has been updated for accuracy and relevance.