Is there a rule about cover letter quotes or testimonials?

Does anyone use cover letter quotes or testimonials? The answer is “Yes…if.” You can use a quote in your cover letter if you tie it to your accomplishments and value.

When I use a quote in either a resume or cover letter, it usually comes from an employee evaluation, reference letter, or perhaps a letter or email from a client or customer.

Rule of thumb for quotes in resumes or cover letters

Does the quote add value?

If it does then put it in. If not, leave it out. What would add value?

If the quote says something about the person that would sound like bragging if it was just a bullet point. Sometimes a quote from someone else lets you say something that would be awkward if you said them.

Does the quote provide more validation of the qualities someone brings to the table?

Rock solid leader… hard charging, innovative, and respected by all… makes the toughest job look easy! Never stops… quadrupled our baseline instantly by securing $19 million plus at end of year budget – phenomenal!” M.I Lt. Colonel, USAF

or

Under Kim’s leadership, Camp Edwards transformed from a struggling, barely viable enterprise with 2 marginal programs to a thriving, well-balanced and vital organization servicing 12,000+ people per year.” D.M., Board Member & Investment Banker

Cover letter quotes can add value and make your cover letter or resume stand out from the rest.

Can I use cover letter quotes from a favorite author?

This is more difficult and there are people who would call this fluff. If you creatively blend a quote that is really representative of a person into a cover letter, then it might work.

I opened a client’s cover letter with:

“Courage is being scared to death – but saddling up anyway.” ~ John Wayne

His letter went on to explain, “When I started exploring law enforcement as a possible career, I found the above quote. I realized I had the potential to deal with anything that came my way with that philosophy.”

Illustrate how the quote fits

Throughout the rest of the cover letter, we illustrated how this individual lived the quote. This differentiates the quote from a random quote you found on Facebook.

Should you use quotes? If you feel they add value, yes. But only if you are comfortable with them and it fits your personality.

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