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Improve Your CV - Add Testimonials

Updated on December 11, 2014

Credit where its due

The original article the idea of adding testimonials to your CV was written by Don Goodman. Since Don is somebody I've never heard of before, I don't know how credible he is to be giving CV advice but the idea did get my attention.

Credits & Research

I have since reading the initial article conducted research into the matter (I spent two nights reading as much as I could about CVs, made a shed load of notes and here we are) and can be confident that the views and opinions displayed on your screen below are spot on, however they are my own and you should make your own decisions in life. Obviously I have a job so my CV can't be that bad.

How am I relevant

Well I'm not as such, my current job role does mean im in charge of recruitment and therefore I have to assess CVs on a daily basis and interview from there. beyond that though, as stated above, this is advice based on my thoughts & opinions.

Can adding testimonials be a good thing?


Don and I, suggest adding testimonials to you resume (resume? what's one of those Don? Do you mean CV?) in one of the three following ways;

1. Add A Testimonials Section

Don says
"Similar to how a resume may have a section for Profile Summary, Work Experience and Education, add a Testimonials section for a bullet point list of 2-3 testimonials to support the case that you are the best candidate for the job."

Kris says
"Two places I would suggest locating this extra section are;

- Below your introduction
- Try to turn your first page into an "overview" page for introductory purposes, this could be doubled up as a built in cover note if you format it well. Sections I would try to squeeze in are;
- An introduction - This is where good work can make this page usable as a cover note, when making tailored CVs (we'll discuss this below) this section can be leveraged to include relevant skills and points of interest.
- Most relevant/current job - In this section detail your most relevant job to the one you are applying for, again this will be tailored as we'll discuss below. Try to include your job title, role, time with the company, a description of your role and your achievements within the company.
- Testimonials - Now come your opportunity to add a few testimonials, few being the word, I would add just two testimonials to my CV, I would make them as relevant as possible and try to provide contact details for the person who wrote it. you could say a testimonial is a reference, except in the testimonial format, the reader gets a preview, a blogger might call it the excerpt.

- Above/Below (or in place of) your references section
- If like most the end of you CV looks a little something like this;


References available on request

STOP, why, what's the point, its not helpful and only takes up valuable space you could be using the persuade your potential employer. I don't know why you wouldn't just provide a good strong reference. What you're effectively saying is that if they ask you'll tell, why slow the process of make them ask? Just tell you employer who your references are or like above use the testimonials the make a references with a difference section.

2. Incorporate Into Your Work Experience/History

Why not try adding a testimonial to your "Work Experience/History" section. You could even go as far as to add a testimonial per job, just to add emphasis to your success within the company. Try adding a testimonial from a supervisor or client in italics and offset it from the general summary by centering the quote. Appropriate testimonials of this kind may be found in performance reviews, reference letters, thank you notices via email or informal notes, and recommendations from LinkedIn.

3. Include It As A Filler To Other Appropriate Sections

Testimonials can enhance a resume when it’s included in a suitable section to what subject matter is discussed. For instance, if the testimonial is about a candidate’s web design skills, it may make sense to include it to the section detailing technical capabilities. Just be careful not to go overboard, the point of adding testimonials to your CV is to add context and depth, adding to many could remove any positive effect adding a small selection could add.

My two pennies worth

I would think that perhaps you could add them instead of the usual "References on request" line spammed at the bottom of 99% of all the CV's I've ever read. Having started writing this post last night I've had some good time to think about it and have decided that I will be giving this a go. I think the crucial thing to remember here is keeping them relevant, I don't know about you but I have a couple of CV's, each has a different purpose. I'll take the time to separate testimonials into categories and use them in the most relevant locations on each CV, I'm thinking you could highlight particular skills by adding a testimonial over others.


Types of CV I have

  • General work - Optimised for if I ever find myself out of a job, I should be able to walk into any retail or bar job with this
  • Web Design - This is a CV/mini portfolio showcasing my favourite work, the coding languages I know and related work history
  • Photography - Again a CV/portfolio, I have several portfolio sections based on the type of work I'm angling for.
  • Vanity - This CV is put together specifically for displaying on my website, it showcases my digital work and is designed for those looking for me.

If you haven't already I'd suggest thinking about creating a couple for yourself, granted you probably wont need the vanity CV but think about your area of expertise and try to pick out and highlight relevant details. If you find yourself struggling for inspiration you can always check out my "Vanity" CV for some inspiration.

Is it time for review?


Why am I adding testimonials to my CV?

Adding testimonials to your CV seems like a good idea to me, If I were to buy something from an online store I'd always read a few reviews on the product and the site before making my purchase. Testimonials are effectively personal reviews so the same logic could be applied to hiring people. I'm also a fan of being unique and as stated I look at CV's on a daily basis and very few stand out to me, discovering a testimonials section would capture my attention. I don't think it's a huge risk to take either, after all you're only losing the "references on request" line if you use my method.

Have I helped?

Will you be adding testimonials to you CV?

See results

© 2014 Kris Goddard


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