Why do movies use reviews from critics? It’s simple. People trust movie critics, so if a movie gets a great review from a reputable critic, then it stands to reason that someone who doesn’t know the film but knows the critic will be inclined to view the film.
Movie studios aren’t the only industries to use testimonials to enhance their business prospects. The reality is restaurants, real estate agents and a host of other services live and die based on the words of others. Now it’s clear the importance of other people’s words for establishing your brand, but how do you convince people to like what you have to offer?
It’s actually not very hard. The best way to ensure that you get positive testimonials is through providing excellent service. If you’re looking to change careers or obtain work, then having a testimonial can be the difference between getting that job and being a finalist.
Now you’re convinced. “I need testimonials otherwise I’ll have no actionable identity!” Slow down a minute, because you will have an identity, just not a verified one.
Here are some simple ways to obtain testimonials that will enhance your personal brand.
Ask for a letter of recommendation: Recommendation letters are not just fodder for college applications. They are critical to enhancing your prospects as a potential employee. There are fewer things more convincing than your supervisor writing about how you’re an incredible asset to the company. A letter of recommendation communicates your strengths, but also implies, “This person is such an amazing worker that I’m willing to take time out of my busy day to tell you how much I enjoy having them in the office.” That type of praise is absolutely essential for getting a foot in the door for an interview.
Above and beyond: Now that you know you need a letter of recommendation, the question is how you go about getting it. Before ever asking your supervisor for a letter you need to demonstrate reasons for that supervisor to take time out of their day to help you get a new job. The easy stuff: show up early, leave late. Work hard, ask questions. Take on leadership roles. Be willing to accept and adjust your work based on criticism. If your employer asks you to get something done by Wednesday, get it done by Monday. Your hard work WILL be recognized.
Write it yourself: Many supervisors, if they’re thrilled with an employee, upon the employee asking for a letter of recommendation will say, “You know what, I trust you, write it yourself and I’ll sign it.” When that happens, it’s gold! Your supervisor trusts you that much. Now don’t go crazy and talk fantasy stuff in the letter. Instead keep it to personal qualities demonstrated by actions, e.g. David is a hard worker. Every day he’s the first one in the office and the last one to leave. He continuously finishes projects way ahead of deadlines.
Having testimonials is a massive help for you as you embark upon a new career. Be sure to make copies of these letters and have your supervisor’s contact information on them. Also, submit these letters along with your cover letters and resumes. Recommendation letters are welcome diversions from the same old portfolios that hiring managers see.