You’re doing great work for your boss, delivering wonderful value for your employer. But you might be struggling to capture some kind words about your work. This might be useful for your résumé/CV, your LinkedIn profile, or as input for your next performance evaluation.
The secret is to get great testimonials while it’s still fresh. So here’s some ideas on how to do that:
Ask Your “Customer” – This is the person who directly receives your work. Ask them. Was it useful? On time? Good quality? Why did they appreciate what you gave them? This doesn’t have to be obnoxious or self-serving – when you’re truly interested in how well you delivered what they needed, they will probably be willing to tell you. Even a single sentence can be useful.
Ask Their Boss – If your “customer’s” boss also gets value from what you do, you can get an even more powerful testimonial because that person has more experience in providing evaluations. And make sure you ALWAYS give a sincere thank-you for their honest feedback.
Ask Your Boss – In the spirit of getting more real-time feedback, it can be great to have more immediate evaluation of individual tasks and delivered work. Be prepared for the good as well as the bad, but when your questions focus on value delivered, you’ll get more of the positive.
Capture Key Attributes – When delivering your work, create your own “evaluation” of how well (you believe) it met the requirements – on time, thorough, clear. But even more importantly:
Capture the Benefits – Presumably your work was done to the benefit of some larger objective. So you can realistically claim that you had a contribution to that larger goal. Just don’t claim that you were the PRIMARY contributor unless that’s indisputable – giving credit to others helps build an important part of your reputation.
Ask Your Teammates – Many times, those you work with will be inclined to support you in trade for you supporting them. Sometimes it can be a challenge to structure this as cooperative rather than competitive – perhaps they won’t want to recommend you for a promotion that they also want. So keep it factual, and have it relate to how well you do your work.
Seek Out Others Who Might Evaluate Your Work – Perhaps there’s an experienced person who could act as your mentor, to give you some feedback and advice. Especially if they have credibility in your organization, their assessment might be quite valuable as a mini-testimonial.
I talked about these ideas in the context of promoting yourself and what you’ve done. But you can see that this is just as useful for improving your work, because it’s specific, timely, and relevant. If you ask open questions to which you want honest answers, you should be able to improve your work and reputation.
Just a word about using this in a public context, on LinkedIn or your résumé: Make sure that you respect the non-disclosure requirements of your employer, the confidentiality of people who supplied the information, and yet provide enough context so that readers get a sense of why the information is important. Here’s some great questions to ask:
- Is there anything that I’d be embarrassed for my boss, my co-workers, my spouse, or my mother to see?
- Does it support my key messages of reliability, professionalism, and expertise?
- Is it accurate, specific, and relevant?
- Have I pushed too far into self-promotion?
Capture your testimonials while they’re fresh – every week you should be asking whether there’s feedback you should be getting. It will make your stories and materials so much more powerful.
by Carl Dierschow