Recommendations and the Resume

There is a variety of additional information that can be included on a resume, such as: affiliations/associations, memberships, appointments (appointed positions), non-career related awards and honors, languages, and licenses, among others. How do you treat this information on a resume?

I present this information briefly. It’s part of the personal brand, and you never know when you’ll run into a hiring manager who was also an Eagle Scout or sits on the board of your nonprofit. A note on nonprofits, volunteerism is becoming increasingly important to put on a resume as companies are more and more concerned with corporate citizenship.

James Moore

It depends on what it is and how relevant it is to where my client is going in their career. Most often I regulate these types of things to a Volunteerism or Of Note section at the end of a resume. However, there are certain awards that are more impressive and may need to be featured earlier in the resume. I had a client once who was a top 36 under 36, a volunteer of the year, and was accepted into a special mentor program. While some of these were not career related, showing them all together up front made more sense.

James Moore

Use of Recommendations on a Resume

When properly used, recommendations, testimonials, and endorsements appearing on a resume can be impactful. Due to a resume’s limited space, a statement of recommendation must be short, relevant, and direct. Consider putting recommendations in quotes, italics (for effect), or both. Testimonials and endorsements from others are more powerful than what you say about yourself. Some recommendations can double as accomplishments (as in the first example).

For the recommendation to be effective, the person providing it must be identified by name and title. Get permission from this individual prior to including their recommendation on your resume.


“Increased average profit on special orders by 17 percent, resulting in thousands of dollars in new revenue.”

Letter of Appreciation from Elizabeth Jones, VP of Accounting

“Bonnie is a valued member of our team. Her expertise in cost-accounting strategies positively impacted our bottom line.”

Elizabeth Jones, VP of Accounting

You can also close a resume with an impactful recommendation:

“Katy was clearly the most client-focused account manager we had on our team!”

Bob Johnson, Vice President of Account Management

What the Pros Say:

What is your opinion about including recommendations on a resume?

Short quips from positive performance reviews, letters of recommendation or appreciation serve brilliantly on resumes as testimonials and are quite successful if used strategically. A testimonial should speak to job tasks of the future job and to the candidate’s past accomplishments that would add value to the future company. OR, the testimonial could be from a powerful player in the industry, whose voice holds power (the mayor, a senator, a senior VP).

James Moore

I like to include brief quotes. You can let others say laudatory things about you that would have a false or boastful ring if you stated them in the first person. Brief is the keyword, though. Most recommendations are long-winded. Quote selectively from them so they can be consumed and understood quickly.

James Moore

Information NOT to be Included on a Resume

• It is naturally assumed that you will furnish references if asked.

• Never give reasons why you’ve left any of your previous jobs.

• Never list your career’s salary progression on a resume.

• Avoid putting personal or legally protected characteristics on your resume. This would include age, marital status, length of marriage, ages of children, race, state of health, social security number, height, weight, and so forth.

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