Testimonials are a powerful way to boost your reputation, credibility and career. Potential employers pay attention to this; trust me. If they can identify with the person sharing their positive experience, they’re more likely to see the value and trust the person giving the testimonial and you.
When, who and how you ask for a testimonial requires three elements: thought, tact and follow through.
When? Timing is everything!
When a person takes the time to email or call to thank you and comment on a job well done, acting on the moment by asking for a testimonial is ideal. If you wait too long, the enthusiasm may get diluted over time. Get the testimonial while the person is still excited about what you did.
If you’re nearing the end of a project that is going well, ask for a testimonial while people are still engaged. They will probably want to wait until the final delivery but getting them thinking about it is the first step. Circling back to them is important especially in a wrap-up meeting or social gathering, assuming the stakeholders and end users are pleased with the results.
Who? Think managers and project stakeholders
Although it certainly is impressive to get a testimonial from a c-suite executive, “what someone says about you” can definitely carry significant weight.. A key stakeholder on the project, for example, is ideal. This person knows the (challenges, variables and the impact on the business) beginning state and the expected results and impact on the business.
So, what does it take to get a glowing endorsement? Recognition and acclaim is not something that falls in your lap on the job – it is earned. So, now is the time for you to show your worth by going above and beyond the call of duty. The level of commitment and drive will be easily recognized and acknowledged. It feeds on itself, you’ll be recognized as a strong contributor, benefiting the team as well as yourself.
If you want to ask your manager to write you a testimonial, consider the timing and your relationship. You don’t want to place doubt in their mind about your commitment in staying and let on that you may be looking for something else. What you need to do is make it really clear that this is part of your career trajectory. You can state your objective for why you are asking for a testimonial . You can say that you are building your credentials for your long-term career growth. Good managers recognize this drive for professional development and what it takes for achieving career advancement. Use your discretion wisely.
Co-workers can offer different insight into your performance. Although they are often in the weeds and don’t acknowledge the grand scheme of the organization, they are instrumental in providing a deeper understanding about you and your work. In fact, they may be the best person to provide a testimonial because they work with you day in and day out and know your capabilities best. If you have a testimonial from both a stakeholder and peer that’s ideal. From each place of employment…wow! This can not only be powerful, but can give a perspective of you and your work that a peer or manager simply cannot do.
Format – Use LinkedIn
If you’re not on LinkedIn, you’re missing a huge part of professional networking and how you can market yourself. Similarly, a business without a website is likely missing out on a huge opportunity for potential business. With 380 million professionals on LinkedIn, it is the place for posting your “recommendation”. Your connections and anyone that see’s your profile will clearly see your recommendations. Make sure they know how to find your profile and where to write it. LinkedIn makes it very easy to give testimonials, it prompts you through the process.
How to ask
Explain why you’re interested in getting a testimonial from them. Hearing the comments from managers or peers will help build your credibility and reputation. It validates your expertise, work style, and how others perceive you. You want to continue to develop in your career and would be honored to have a testimonial from them to include on your LinkedIn profile, for example.
Give specific instructions
Quality overrides quantity, always !! This mantra holds true with testimonials. A thoughtfully crafted depiction of how and what was accomplished by the designated recipient can be accomplished in a few short paragraphs but the more specific it is, the more relevant and powerful it will be.
Instead of simply asking for a testimonial, make suggestions on the elements that you think were your most important accomplishments. This will give the person writing the testimonial the guidance that he or she needs to craft the specifics for what you feel was the most important accomplishments. Encourage them to mention certain aspects that you feel were important and want potential employers to know about. For example, you can remind them of the level of detail or coding involved, along with who benefited and to what extent- scale/scope.
Read it carefully upon receipt. Check for grammatical errors and clarity. You might need to edit for brevity or clarity. They will appreciate light editing that makes them sound more polished. Run through the final version with them for final approval
If you’re posting on a platform other than LinkedIn, be sure to ask their permission to publish it on the platform such as your own website.
Testimonials are not a one-way street. It is important to recognize your peers that do an outstanding job. You can be an advocate to your co-workers and associates. Promoting other people who do good work encourages and brings a positive element that is always welcome. Chances are, it will be appreciated and it will make it easier for you to ask them for one.
What is your experience in getting testimonials?