And where to find your testimonials
I recall in one of my LinkedIn profile workshops an attendee told the group she couldn’t think of any accomplishments from her last job. As I’m known to do, I told her she wasn’t thinking hard enough. Silence.
She was an administrative assistant and, like we’ve all heard before, she was just doing her job. I began by asking, “Did you reduce your boss’ stress?”
“Yeah,” she said. “He told me I organized his life. He’d be lost….”
“Do you have that in writing?” I interrupted.
She smiled. “He sent me e-mails saying this. Other bosses said I was efficient, organized, and had great time-management skills. These emails were really great to read.”
“Did you keep them? Forward them to your personal e-mail? Did you keep a brag e-mail folder?”
No she hadn’t. I’m not one to harp on past mistakes; but this was a mistake, and a good lesson for the rest of the group. I didn’t need to say more; the lesson was learned.
Normally we think of quantified accomplishments as the only ones that matter—they matter a great deal—but what others write and say about you also matters. Take the following testimonial for an administrative assistant:
The electronic filing system Adam created reduced tons of paperwork. It made the workflow process much more efficient.Brian Martin, VP of marketing, ABC Company
Although the positive result—reduced tons of paperwork and made the process more efficient can’t be quantified—the VP of marketing makes the statement an accomplishment. One might argue that a testimonial from a boss is more persuasive than an accomplishment, especially if you can’t quantify the result.
Where to use your testimonials
To answer your question, there are five obvious places for your testimonials. I’ve listed them from most popular to least, but all five areas are game.
This would be ideal real estate to use your testimonials. You could list them under a heading: WHAT MY CLIENTS SAY ABOUT ME (EXCERPTS FROM RECOMMENDATIONS 👇)
“As a fellow MassHire Career Center colleague of Bob’s, I turned to his expertise of LinkedIn when I was working on developing a LinkedIn program for MassHire Cape & Islands.”
“If you are looking for someone who can help you maximize the value of your job search and your LinkedIn Profile, you need to look no further than Bob McIntosh”!
The above excerpts are a couple of testimonials I have in my About section.
I’m not saying they’re not worthy of being anywhere else in your About; it’s just that we remember statements at the end or beginning of something written or said. Which leads me to say that you could list them at the beginning of your About section. Hell, why not list them at the beginning and end?
This is also a great place to list your testimonials. Struggling to write accomplishment statements? Again, testimonials can be a great source of accomplishments.
Let’s face it; some people have jobs like the story I describe above, where it’s hard to put numbers, dollars, and percentages to results. I think of the nurses, teachers, engineers, marketers, etc., who’ve come to me with this conundrum.
Here’s one for a nurse:
Andrew was attentive to the needs of our patients, showing compassion and making them feel at ease. More importantly, he was extremely knowledgeable of medical care.”Jessica Johnston, Nurse Supervisor, Lowell General Hospital
Make sure you list who provides your testimonial; their name, title, and organization. This gives a testimonial more credence.
This is particularly relevant to students whose main accomplishment is graduating from university, even high school if they’re young. Employers who are looking at you for a internship or full-time work would like to see some evidence of what you did while in school.
Even if you don’t have a great GPA, you might have excelled in you area of study (I’m a perfect example of this). Ask your professors and internship provider for testimonials. Here’s an example from an internship provider:
James did such a fine job reporting the financial news that I assigned him cases that our full-time analysts were covering. I offered James a full-time job, but he was concerned about finishing his Journalist degree.Susan Abbott, Sr. Editor, Dallas Reporter
You can use your featured section to post videos, audio, Slideshare, and documents. And for each media you can add a caption for them. A video would be awesome if you could get people touting your greatness, but a document or Slideshare would be more likely.
I had a client who was very proud of the work he’d done with Boy Scouts of America. He had a testimonial from the district scout leader which he wanted to highlight. Although his volunteerism as a scout leader didn’t fit well in his Experience section, I suggested he use About to direct them to Volunteer Experience.
Where to get your testimonials
- E-mail is fair game. If you’ve receive an e-mail from you boss that touts your accomplishments, store it in brag e-mail folder. I do this when I get e-mails from my clients thanking me for the help I’ve given them in their job search.
- Performance reviews are an obvious source of fodder for your profile, especially if your boss was generous in what he wrote. However, If he merely clicked off some boxes, these reviews won’t be as useful.
- Verbal comments from your boss can also be used on your profile as testimonials. “Director of marketing commented, ‘Josh, your ability to build and foster relationships has helped Company X achieve the visibility we’ve striven for.'” It’s important that you’re both on board with this, just in case she’s questioned about it during a reference check.
- Thank you cards from patients/clients speak to your customer service and other skills you’d like to highlight on your profile. Have you received cards that thank you for your help and caring nature? If so, ask the sender if you can quote him for your profile.
- Voice-mail you’ve saved can be used as well. If your boss compliments you, consider using it on your profile and other written communication. You might want to get your boss’ approval before you use his words in a public forum; it’s only courteous.
- LinkedIn recommendations have been used by my clients as fodder on other sections of their profile. Not all employers will see your LinkedIn recommendations; many people won’t scroll that far down on your profile.
If you haven’t considered using testimonials on your LinkedIn profile, I suggest you do. I encourage my clients, who don’t have accomplishments with quantified results, to use testimonials instead. I reiterate that testimonials could carry more weight in this case.