Five Ways to Prepare for Your Annual Job Performance Review

At many companies, employees are expected to participate in performance review at the end of every year. While you may be tempted to try and get through the process as quickly as possible, know that the process of reviewing your accomplishments and outlining goals for next year with your supervisor is extremely important if you’re looking to advance your career within the company.

Although all employers will have their unique processes and forms for conducting annual reviews, the following five tips will help you enter the review period with confidence.

Keep track of your activities throughout the year. Avoid scrambling to remember what you did in the early months of the year by keeping a running list of your activities and accomplishments. Whether you keep a paper or electronic to-do list, save it in a folder (electronic or real) for review at the end of the year. Not a fan of lists? Take 15 minutes at the end of each week to reflect on and make notes on what you accomplished that week. If you haven’t done this, looking back at past meeting calendars and emails can help jog your memory.

Consider your objectives. Many employers use the annual review to decide whether you are eligible to receive any company-wide pay increases or bonuses. You may also decide it is the time to ask for a bigger raise or promotion. If you’ve previously received negative feedback, you may need to show your boss you’ve improved. Determining what you want to get out of your review will shape the case you need to make to your employer.

Define your top accomplishments. After making a list of everything you’ve accomplished, identify the ones that have made the greatest impact on the organization and that best demonstrate your abilities. Some employers use a form asking you to list a certain number of accomplishments; if yours doesn’t, bring in a bulleted list and be prepared to expand on each of them.

Determine your goals for next year. Your review should not just be about looking back on your past activities, but also determining what you want to achieve next year. Do you want to take on new roles at your company? Are there educational or professional development goals you’d like to achieve? Plant the seeds now to show your boss you’re committed to your career and the company.

Invite (and receive) feedback. Some supervisors are naturals at giving you feedback on your work performance; if yours isn’t, be prepared to ask questions about how they’ve perceived your work and contributions. If you think you might receive critical or negative feedback, be prepared to receive it calmly and ask questions to clarify their perspective instead of getting upset.

Following these tips will give you a solid start toward having a useful annual review. Good luck!

Have other tips to share on navigating the performance review process? Share your ideas in the comment section below.