Last week, a reader found himself quoted without his permission on a former colleague’s resume. He sent me this email about resume quotes:
I have seen resumes in varying formats over the years, but have you ever seen one with quotes about the person embedded in the middle of each place they worked?
It took me by surprise to see comments I shared in a letter of introduction embedded in this person’s resume without my permission. I thought it was like using me as a reference without my permission.
What do you think?
The Problems with Resume Quotes
I have received many resumes that feature quotes, but I don’t remember ever interviewing a person who sent me that type of resume.
1. Quotes Share Opinions, Not Facts
The quotes I’ve seen share opinions, not facts, about the applicant.
You get one or two resume pages to share compelling facts about where you’ve worked, what your responsibilities have been, and what you’ve accomplished.
That’s often a tight fit. Don’t waste resume real estate with opinions (weaker) when you can share facts (stronger).
2. Using Quotes on Your Resume Sends a Message That You Lack Self-Confidence
Your resume is the place for you to toot your own horn. When you enlist the help of others, you indicate you can’t do this for yourself.
Don’t diminish yourself by sending that message.
3. Resume Quotes Lack Credibility
Quotes on resumes lack credibility. They would be so easy to make up that featuring them switches on the reader’s bull**** meter.
Don’t activate that meter. Once it’s on, it stays on.
4. You Misuse Quotation Marks
Misusing quotation marks gives you an “attention to detail” strike against your resume. That’s a whole other blog post. You can see it here.
5. You Annoy People
Using quotes without permission can annoy the person who said nice things about you (see John’s email above).
Where Should You Use Validation from Others?
1. LinkedIn Recommendations
Ask for LinkedIn recommendations. They’re public statements. Thus, readers feel confident that they’re more truthful than not.
Ask people to serve as references. Potential employers can talk with them, ask questions, listen to what your referees say and how they say it, and decide what to believe.
3. Share Your Performance Evaluations
Give prospective employers copies of your performance evaluations. Written reviews show how your boss(es) evaluates your performance — positively and negatively.
A balanced picture is always more credible than one that’s 100% positive or negative.
Use your resume real estate wisely by keeping it factual.
Couple it with accepted, credible (off resume) sources of third-party validation. This will best help employers understand why they should hire you.
Updated February 2018
© 2015 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by 100+ business, general, and career media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, Payscale, Business News Daily, and the Muse.
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