June 22, 2018

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Does Your Resume Feature an Endorsement?

Celebrity and customer endorsements - those attention-grabbing testimonies and user accounts on popular commercials - are also used to make candidate résumés meatier (minus the celebrities, of course).

Career coaches and professional résumé writers often showcase snippets of employer, client, vendor, or peer comments to give client résumés extra punch, and hiring managers something memorable.

"Testimonials are powerful additions to the résumé package," adds Frank Fox, executive director of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches.

They are the résumé equivalent of ad endorsements.

Dawn Harris, HR professional and president of The Harris Institute for Professional Excellence, shares an important perspective: "As an HR professional, I would find it very appealing to see positive quotes. Although not a substitute for speaking with the reference directly, they could give some direction and insight into the candidate’s personality, while still upholding accountability."

"It tells the reader that someone thought enough about this candidate to say good things," adds Ms. Harris.

Five tips

  1. Choose the endorser carefully

    The rule of thumb is to choose a professional who will, hopefully, convince the hiring manager about your value.

    Asking the question "Which individual’s opinion could influence the hiring manager?" can be a great starting point. In the case of a pharmaceutical sales representative, for example, physician (perfect client), sales manager (supervisor), or peer (team member) quotes could be helpful.

    The endorser’s credibility, position, relationship with endorsee, availability for verification, and reputation are equally important factors that merit due consideration.

  2. Potential resources

    Reference letters, performance reviews, emails, customer files, and important records are a gold mine of potential résumé material, especially employer remarks. While written documents are a great source, don’t dismiss their verbal counterparts; they are both valuable.

    If research does not help, consider holding discussions with professors, team members, supervisors, clients, or vendors. Exciting information could surface during these brainstorming sessions.

  3. Seek permission

    Think of the endorser as being a job reference. Asking for permission is not only courteous, it rewards the opportunity to reconnect and network.

  4. Know what to use

    Research job postings in your field of interest or talk to potential employers. The key is to determine the needs of the position or employer and use remarks that strategically address those requirements.

    Consider the following examples:

    Customer service representative:

    "I was very impressed by the excellent customer service provided by Ms. Representative … it is due to her service that I haven’t hesitated to transfer funds from other banks to your branch … her service truly defines the term ‘going the extra mile’. I strongly recommend her." – P.C., Customer

    Business major (student):

    "I had the opportunity to review Mr. Student’s work when he wrote a strategic marketing plan … he conducted extensive research on a $6 billion industry … as a professional who has co-authored over 50 books, I am very capable of judging promising talent … Mr. Student is truly at the top of his field." – R.M., Ph.D., Professor of Management

    Pharmaceutical sales representative:

    "Ms. Sales is fun to watch, mixing her expertise in sales with her ability to interact one-on-one with all individuals … interpersonal skills are one of her strongest attributes." – L.M., MD & CEO

  5. Location, location, location

    Once the material is ready, choosing a spot that ensures visibility without obstructing other information is the next crucial step. Generally, top, middle, or end of the résumé are suitable positions.

    Although the number of quotes are kept to a minimum (one or two), one needs to be cautious if their inclusion pushes the résumé beyond two or three pages. "Because some hiring authorities are reluctant to see a résumé that exceeds two or three pages, an effective technique is to include them as an ‘addendum’ section to the actual résumé. Thus, this material becomes a supporting section without being part of the official résumé," explains Mr. Fox.

Endorsements cannot make up for a poorly crafted résumé, but a little creativity can transform an ordinary résumé into a career document with a compelling message: hire me.

- Nimish Thakkar

Nimish Thakkar is a sought-after career management coach and professional resume writer. He has helped thousands of clients through his professional resume writing service, and through his free career information site, Thakkar holds two graduate degrees, including an MBA.

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