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  • Lori A. Jazvac, CRS, CES

A valuable reference source that articulates powerful resume results

Over the last couple of years, I have noticed a simple yet inspiring technique that seems to give the resume a total uplift – featuring a testimonial. Contrary to outdated resume practices, a testimonial can be highlighted in a resume in a concise and appropriate manner.

A testimonial can be acquired from an employer, the jobseeker’s personal motto, or even a motto by a highly credible authority. Many jobseekers fail to recognize the value derived from a testimonial directly taken from a reference letter. If you’re scrambling to find an appropriate testimonial from other sources, you can also find such valuable information in performance reviews, thank you notices via email, informal notes, and recommendations from LinkedIn. Note that, a most recent testimonial is more credible than one from more than 10 years ago.

As a professional resume writer, I recall crafting a resume for a client in the marketing and business development sector who worked on many different projects. Incorporating a quote or testimonial seemed to transform the resume in a few different ways:

► Makes a great first impression and grabs the attention of the employer.

► Articulates the candidate’s unique value proposition. Job seekers today are competing with numerous candidates than ever; therefore, they need to equip themselves with visual data that makes them stand out from the rest.

► The testimonial evidences the skills utilized and actual results attained that help to meet the employer’s buying motivators.

► Highlights the candidate’s personal traits, strengths, and unique qualities such as a solid work ethic and team leadership skills.

► Boosts the credibility of the candidate through a third-party support of the qualitative and quantitative facts outlined in the resume.

► Gives personal confidence to the candidate in their abilities, as well as future employers in considering the candidate for current role.

► Builds authority by recommending the candidate for future roles.

Making Your Testimonials Stand Out in the Resume

As new resume trends are evolving, testimonials can be incorporated using different approaches. They can be added in italics in a textbox, bordered box, or highlighted/shaded paragraph to differentiate various project roles. If there are three or four testimonials, a ‘testimonial section’ or ‘accolades section’ can be used to support your claim that you are the best candidate for the job.

Testimonials can be featured in the ‘Achievements’ or ‘Career Highlights’ section below work experience.

To craft a strategic resume, I have displayed a testimonial just before or after the summary profile section -- underneath the header -- which has worked effectively to brand the candidate. A quote can even work effectively in the header, depending on the type of resume design used. A testimonial can also be incorporated into the reference sheet, but needs to be distinct from the ones added in the resume.

A Few Words about Testimonials to Consider

Overloading the resume with several testimonials is ineffective; use information that is relevant to the targeted role.

Assess the quality of the testimonial and what it actually says about the candidate. For instance, if the role you are applying requires web design skills, then try to not feature a testimonial that focuses on another type of skill or a different role. Ensure that you correlate the appropriate testimonial with the respective section detailing those particular capabilities. Therefore, a testimonial supporting web design skills would be best displayed in the technical competencies section.

Use your discretion when working with testimonials. Consult a Certified Resume Strategist/Career Consultant to help you decide the best approach in creating a resumes that communicates impressive results.

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