A testimonial can be an invaluable asset to a job seeker. Like a reference, testimonials show potential employers the value you have brought to prior organizations and your work style. They provide employers insight into whether you may or may not fit into the organization’s culture. Invaluable qualities that cannot be discerned on a resume are brought to the surface such as drive, collaboration and creativity. Unlike a reference, testimonials are public and open to all who may view your profile on LinkedIn. As a recruiter, I pay careful attention to testimonials since they are a vital link in understanding who a person is and what they can bring to an organization.
For the job seeker, testimonials are integral in building your personal brand and marketing yourself effectively in a competitive market. They are a powerful way to build credibility and bolster your reputation in the market. They are an important way to instill confidence in an employer who wants to ensure that this person has the skills and experience to do the job. By connecting your profile with strong testimonials rich with examples of your work, this can dispel any second thoughts a potential employer could have.
An important caveat – not every testimonial is the same. The testimonials that really resonate with employers, recruiters and others are ones that are authentic. No one wants to read marketing blather that comes across as fluffy bits of nothing. No one cares that someone was the best marketing person or the best operations manager. What they care about is realness – real challenges, real characteristics and defining moments that made you stand out from the rest. How have you made a difference? How have you saved the company money or time? How have you collaborated across business units, organizations or with your vendors? Are you a team player? Are you a charismatic leader that brings your projects to fruition with enthusiasm? Are you a coach and do people like working with you?
And testimonials are given more weight if they come from those with influence. Think about getting testimonials from individuals who are directors, senior leaders, vice presidents, CEOs, CIOs, but remember they need to know you and what you accomplished.
Although you may have been exceeding expectations over and over, if you haven’t asked for a testimonial, chances are you haven’t y received them.. Knowing when, who and how to ask will help in getting powerful testimonials that draw attention.
Stay tuned for next month’s article on how to ask for a testimonial.