You thought you left report cards behind when you left school, right?

One of the most stressful, but potentially useful, experiences that someone can go through is having a performance review at their place of employment. It’s never easy to sit there and have someone “judge” the quality of your work. Thankfully, they can be worth it as you can get a lot out of it, both for your current job and for a potential job search. They can be super helpful to help you manage your career!

A performance review is written document, outlining the goals that your company sets for you and the quality of all the work that you’ve done for them. In a performance review, you sit down with your superiors and discuss and set goals that you will pursue throughout the following year. Basically, it lets you both get on the same page. 

Then, a year later, you will have another performance review that is an assessment of the work that you did and the progress you have made towards the previous year’s goals. Then you set new goals and start the cycle all over again. 

While some companies don’t do performance reviews, or only provide useless feedback like “exceeded expectations,” others can give you a considerable amount of information that you can use to advance your career. Here are the things in a performance review that can be helpful to you if you are looking for a new job:

Find Out Exactly What You Accomplished

Three hundred sixty-five days is a long time. It’s easy to lose track of goals and accomplishments throughout the year. This is one of the reasons why performance reviews can be so helpful. It thoroughly documents everything that you accomplished over the last 12 months at your work.

You can’t assume that your boss already knows everything that you did; they’re not omnipotent, after all. So a performance review can be a great way to get everything you did in context, in writing. This will be helpful because then, you will have a fully fleshed-out document that you can refer to when you talk to your boss again for next year’s performance review.

Planning Ahead for the Future

The second reason why a performance review can be a useful tool is to help you look ahead to the future. Some questions to consider are:

  • What are your goals for the next year?
  • Are they realistic?
  • Did you have any input into them?
  • Do you have the resources to accomplish, or do you need to request more?
  • Are these goals going to send you in the direction you want in your career?
  • Will they send you on a new career path or drive you straight into the glass ceiling?
  • Will you be getting additional training and new responsibilities?

All of these questions will be answered in a comprehensive performance review, giving you a fantastic way to assess if it is still a good company for you.

A Great Reference for Resumes and LinkedIn Profiles

The third reason why performance reviews can be useful has to do with your resume and LinkedIn profile.

I can’t count the number of times when one of my clients realizes that they can’t recall how long a project took or how much money they saved. We all think we are going to remember the details of any significant accomplishments we have at work, but the reality is that we don’t. 

Rather than having to rely on the imperfect recollections of former colleagues, it makes things so much easier if you have everything laid out clearly in your performance review. Just hand a copy of it over to me, and I can incorporate everything vital on it into your resume!

As you can see, performance reviews can be remarkably useful tools for advancing your career. Yes, they are stressful, and you never quite know what you will get out of them, but I think that uncertainty is well worth the potential benefit.

If you don’t feel ready for an upcoming performance review, I can help. Together, we can come up with some questions you may want to ask your boss or a variety of ideas for goals you might pursue over the next year. And, of course, I can also help you refine your resume if you have a copy of a recent performance review handy! Please feel free to contact me today to get started. There is no charge for an initial consultation!