The performance evaluation. It’s one of those mile markers of the work year – like open enrollment or Girl Scout cookie time.
Anticipation of an upcoming evaluation can be stress-inducing. It can be difficult to sit there as your work record is picked apart. And, especially in this economy, any shortcoming is a potential strike against you if downsizing should come around.
But a performance review also can be a great opportunity to strengthen your position and shape your role within a company – if you take the time to prepare.
Check out our tips for making the most of your next evaluation.
1. Don’t Get Blindsided
Avoid nasty surprises during your performance review by seeking feedback all year long. Don’t assume that no news is good news when it comes to how you’re doing at work. Schedule a few minutes periodically to check in with your boss. Give her a status report and ask if you’re working in the right direction. Use the feedback as a guide to address shortcomings and build on successes.
2. Open Your Mind
Even if you are dutiful about getting feedback throughout the year, chances are you’re still going to hear some criticism during your performance evaluation. Open your mind to criticism. Don’t be defensive. Don’t dismiss it out of hand. Embrace criticism and use it to improve.
3. Be Ready to Prove Your Worth
Before your employee review, put together a summary of goals you met and accomplishments you made over the past year (likely you’ll need this info for a self-evaluation, as well). These are concrete examples of your worth to the company. The point is to show that you have exceeded expectations -- gone above and beyond -- rather than just satisfactorily completed your required job tasks.
4. Show that You Have Grown
Be prepared to show how you have addressed weak spots brought to your attention during performance reviews past. Show that you respond to criticism and improve. If, for instance, your boss last year told you that that you haven’t demonstrated leadership skills, then provide some examples of how you’ve successfully taken on leadership roles since then.
5. Have a Plan for the Future
A performance evaluation is a great opportunity to take part in developing your role in a company. Come prepared with a list of goals you can pursue and skills you’d like to develop over the next year. If you’ve faced legitimate challenges to meeting some performance expectations, be honest about it and have a plan for how you can meet expectations in the future (such as more training in a specific area).