Q. I know it's okay to put awards you have won on your resume, but what about performance appraisals? Our company rates employees on a scale of '1' to '5' on our evaluations (these scores determine bonuses and pay raises). A '5' means you're moments away from being fired. A '3' means that you "meet expectations." A '1' is reserved for the top 5% of employees. I recently received a ‘1’ and am wondering if I can list this on my resume. If so, how?
A. Yes, you can absolutely speak to performance appraisals on a resume, but you need to do it very tactfully. You also need to word it in way that makes it relevant to someone not familiar with your organization's performance appraisal process/structure, without the level of detail you have had to provide here.
Try something like:
Consistently recognized with outstanding feedback in annual performance appraisals. Recently earned the organization's highest ranking, a rating reserved for the top 5% of all employees.
By including the percentile instead of the actual rating, you communicate this point in a way that any reader can clearly and quickly see how remarkable this achievement is.
This advice goes for all accomplishments. Find a common language for company-specific processes / systems. This not only makes sure readers “get” your accomplishments, it is also one of the easiest ways to prove that you can communicate well.
Sometimes you know too much about a subject to speak to it in more general terms. This is called “the curse of knowledge.” If you find this is the case, you may need to reach out to someone who is not an expert in that area or is familiar with a certain topic. That outsider’s perspective can be incredibly valuable in helping you to best frame the information.