Because it’s a less common technique, using quotes on a resume is sure to make hiring managers take notice. Whether these references make a positive or negative impression, however, depends on how you implement them. Here are some tips for utilizing testimonials on a resume effectively and persuasively.
Resume quotes directly related to your work ethic and/or skills can be a powerful tool for getting a leg up on the competition. Including such testimonials on a resume gives potential employers evidence of the value you can bring to their company. They get to hear about what it’s like to be your supervisor, coworker, or client from someone who has experienced it firsthand.
Do not use celebrity or motivational quotes. Even if it has driven or defined your career, these personal mottos do not belong in your resume. The general guideline is that if it doesn’t have anything to do with your professional abilities or successes, eliminate it. You can always mention an inspirational saying in your cover letter or during the interview if you have the opportunity.
There are a few ways to gather quotes you can use in a resume. Reference letters and previous performance reviews are great sources of the positive, supportive feedback that hiring managers like to see. If you have access to emails clients have sent you or reviews they have written, these can be highly effective as well. Quotes are most powerful when you can give the speakers’ names, but you must ask their permission to do so. If you can’t get this consent, you can identify a reviewer as “Client,” though this will reduce the quote’s impact.
You can also acquire testimonials to use on a resume by directly asking supervisors, mentors, and coworkers to provide some. The process is very similar to asking for a reference. Make sure to mention some specific assignments you worked on with this person, or recognition you received while working at that organization. You may also want to include some helpful guidelines like “Just a sentence or two about what you liked best about working with me/what I brought to the team/etc. would be really helpful.”
One of the most difficult parts of using quotes on a resume is determining where to put them. Should quotes go in the body of your resume? In your summary paragraph? Or is it most appropriate to give testimonials their own section? Try one of these formatting strategies depending on the material available to you:
For Single Quotes: These tactics leverage the top of your resume for especially hard-hitting citations. Because this initial section—with your summary paragraph and core competencies—is so important and must remain uncluttered, these strategies should only be used with a single one- or two-line quotation, rather than multiple longer ones.
For Multiple Quotes: These techniques will give you the space you need for using multiple quotes on a resume, but be careful not to overdo it. Keep the number of testimonials under five to minimize the likelihood of potential employers skipping them altogether.
Whenever possible, include the name and title of the person you’re quoting. This both makes the testimonial look more credible, and provides some context regarding your relationship to the speaker.
Integrating meaningful testimonials into your resume can be a great way to ensure potential employers get an additional point of view regarding your achievements and professional strengths, even if they only skim through your references. To make sure your resume has what it takes to make it to the top of the recruiter’s pile, keep reading our career advice, or check out iHire’s resume writing services and let us write it for you.