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Performance Reviews and Your Job Search

Performance reviews can be critical to your job search. Of course, if your reviews are mainly of the “8 out of 10” variety, with little or no background information or results, you might not be able to do much with them to help your job search. However, if they contain at least some substantive information, they could offer potential value.

Good Review Quotes and How They Can Help

Suppose you have a review that says something like this:

“Leo drove change that propelled us to the next level during a year that involved unprecedented challenges. He was instrumental in opening up a new market that resulted in double-digit margin increases in all categories.”

When you get comments like that (or somewhere in that ballpark), you can use them in multiple ways, including in your resume and your LinkedIn profile. If the entire quote is a bit too long, you can edit it down; just don’t do it in a way that changes the meaning.

Independent, third-party validation of your ROI message can make a significant difference in the impression your resume gives. When you include a particularly meaningful and relevant quote from a performance review, the resume is no longer just you tooting your own horn. Now you have someone else (your boss) saying great things about you!

Performance Review Job Search Challenges

When your work relates to sensitive areas—such as projects that would be considered confidential or proprietary in some way—you need to exercise caution in using review comments to support your job search. Stepping over that line could send a red flag to the prospective employer about your lack of discretion or land you in trouble with your current or previous employer.

Focus instead on communicating the best information from the review in a way that gets the key point across without going too far. For example, if you built, rebuilt, or greatly expanded an organization and its capabilities, see how that’s reflected in your performance review. Then determine the most effective way to incorporate it in your resume or LinkedIn profile. You could, for instance, substitute a general financial term or percentage for a specific dollar figure.

“Good Enough” Usually Isn’t

If your review consists mainly of “Meets Expectations” comments, it doesn’t give you a lot to work with. At that level, you’re an acceptable employee but not a standout. Performance reviews can boost your job search success IF they demonstrate that you’re “Above Expectations” or—better yet—“Outstanding.”

Look for those types of comments and make sure you put them to good use in your job search!