It’s happening. The fiscal year is soon coming to an end, and for many of us, that means one thing: performance reviews lurk around the corner. While this process might seem intimidating or scary, you can actually use these conversations to your advantage.
However, it is critical that you prepare properly. Your review will only go well if you get organized and collect all your information before the talk. Consider these tips to put yourself in a great position for a productive conversation that’ll get you ahead in your career and get you on your boss’ good side:
1. Learn How to Respond to Feedback
You know not to yell (right?), but do you know there are ways to respond to negative feedback that actually make you look good? When receiving negative feedback, own up to your mistakes and be ready to offer a solution or show initiative to do better.
2. Collect Your Accomplishments
Think you deserve a raise? It’s so important to state your case by listing out your accomplishments (including how much money you’ve made for the company, the skills you’ve learned, the relationships you’ve built, and the projects you’ve completed) over the past six months or year.
3. Review Your Current Goals
Did you set goals at your last review? Or, do you have some personal ones of your own? If you met your goals, what did you learn along the way? Which ones are you most proud of? How can you build on them in the future?
And if you didn’t achieve them, how far did you get? Did your priorities change? What held you back? What can you do differently going forward? Jot down some notes to discuss further with your manager when you meet.
4. Set Some New Goals
Now that you know how far you’ve come, now you can decide where you want to go. Consider the following:
- What skills would you like to master by your next review?
- What responsibilities do you want to take on?
- What projects are you passionate about pursuing?
- What weaknesses would you like to improve upon?
- What goals would you like to continue to build on?
- What role do you want to shoot for one to three years from now? What can you do now to put yourself in the running?
5. Prepare Any Lingering Questions
Reviews are super helpful for getting some of your most burning questions answered. It could be about the status of your team or department, or the goals of the company, or possibilities for career growth. This might be the perfect time to get your questions answered.
6. Prepare for a Tough Conversation
Maybe your boss will bring up some serious concerns. Perhaps a performance improvement plan is coming. Or, maybe it’ll be a normal review on your manager’s end, but you’re going to have to raise your hand to discuss bigger issues. Either way, being prepared makes it a little easier.
7. Pat Yourself on the Back
Finally, give yourself some credit for making it to this big milestone. Sure, it happens every year, and you may not even receive anything special except for a simple “Great work” from your manager, but you’ve made it through what was probably a busy, exhausting, or even tumultuous period—look back on it, pat yourself on the back for everything awesome you did, and know you’re going to kick even more butt after this review.
Harvard Business Review (2022, April 21) Vasundhara Sawhney: Prepping for Performance Reviews: Our Favorite Reads
Forbes (2022, January 30) Caroline Castrillon: How to Prepare for an Effective Meeting with Your Manager
The Muse (2022) Alyse Kalish: 7 Things to Do the Night Before a Review
Harvard Business Review (2021, December 23) Octavia Goredema: Make the Most of One-on-One Meetings with Your Manager