Your resume is the most important tool in your job search toolkit. To maximize its potential, you need to ensure that it properly conveys your potential value to any employer. Naturally, you will want to include every bit of relevant information that sells that message. But what about important testimonials like recommendations and reviews? Should they be included in your resume as well? After all, what could be more compelling than an endorsement from those who have worked with you in the past?
While recommendations and reviews are important, you should never include them in any resume. While that might seem counterintuitive, there are some very good reasons for omitting them from that essential document. In this post, we will explain why recommendations and reviews have no place in a resume and offer a better way to provide that information to potential employers.
The most important reason for leaving recommendations and reviews out of your resume is that they take up space that you could put to better use.
Remember, your resume is supposed to focus on showcasing your qualifications and potential value as an employee. To do that, you need to highlight your skills, experience, and achievements. More importantly, you need to do that in a condensed format that is no longer than two pages. Use that space wisely.
Of course, there’s a good chance that the employer may not even want recommendations and reviews. Many of today’s companies understand that employers are increasingly reluctant to provide useful testimonials – largely due to fears about lawsuits.
As a result, companies that want such references will generally ask for them. If they don’t, there’s no benefit to providing that extra information. More importantly, even if they do ask for them, there are better ways to present those endorsements.
Recommendations and reviews won’t strengthen your resume message anyway. While they may reflect how previous employers viewed your work, they won’t answer the company’s most basic question: is this person right for this job? In fact, including those endorsements may detract from your overall focus on qualifications, achievements, and potential value.
Naturally, we are not suggesting that you ignore your recommendations and reviews altogether. Those endorsements do have value, after all. The resume is just not the appropriate place to share that information, however. Fortunately, there is a platform that can provide a perfect way to share those endorsements with potential employers and others: LinkedIn! Since LinkedIn provides a natural forum for showcasing your recommendations and reviews, you should rely on your LinkedIn page as a supplement that enhances your resume.
It’s important to know how to leverage recommendations and reviews in your resume. Since you won’t be listing them in the body of that document, you need to instead include a link to your LinkedIn page in the resume:
In addition, make sure that your recommendations and reviews are relevant to the position you’re seeking. Obviously, you also want to ensure that you’re only directing attention to truly positive reviews. You should also polish your LinkedIn summary and perhaps include quotes from your recommendations within that text.
“I was honored to have Alpha Corp Marketing Director Tom Thompson praise my “innovative strategic mind and commitment to excellence as team leader.”
(We wrote a good post here with more tips on how to write a great LinkedIn recommendation)
Sometimes, employers will include a request for references in a job listing. Some job-seekers may be tempted to respond by including those details in their resumes. Resist that temptation. Instead, continue to rely on your LinkedIn recommendations and reviews. In addition, create a separate list of references that you can send along with your cover letter and resume. Three references are standard in those cases. Include the person’s name, company and job title, address, phone, and email.
Recommendations and reviews can provide a great boost to your efforts to land an interview and job. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to showcase those endorsements, and your resume is definitely the wrong choice. Use LinkedIn to better highlight those references, and focus your resume on selling your qualifications, skills, and achievements.