Performance appraisals are a fact of life in the business world. Rather than stressing out, however, writing a self-appraisal is great opportunity to share your accomplishments, especially if your supervisor doesn't interact with you on a daily basis or your manager is unable to observe how well you're doing your job. If you're asked to write a self-evaluation on your performance, embrace this as a positive starting point for a discussion of your strengths, weaknesses and career goals.
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Create a summary of your current responsibilities and all the tasks associated with them. This provides your supervisor with an overview of how you're spending your time. It's beneficial to obtain a copy of your position's job description and specifications from your company's HR department to determine if it accurately reflects reality. If the specs haven't been updated in a while, your boss may not even realise that technology has made some of the tasks obsolete or that you have taken on projects that are above and beyond what you were originally hired to do.
Identify accomplishments since the last review period that you're proud of and have saved your employer time, money or resources. Emphasise results-oriented activities in which you exercised initiative or leadership, communicated effectively with clients/customers, organised events or researched available options for resolving difficult problems. Use statistics as well as action verbs to make your list dynamic.
Examine your strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to sharing what makes you a unique and valued member of the team, this isn't the time to be shy. If you need help trying to decide what to say, refer to the job spec sheet and make note of the desirable personality traits the employer was seeking when you first applied. Examples: self-starter, flexible, pleasant demeanour, team player, excellent communicator.
Weaknesses are more challenging to address because of a realistic fear that they'll draw attention to a flaw that the boss wasn't aware of. Frame your weaknesses in terms of areas where you feel you could benefit from additional training or feedback. Example: "I feel my interactions with our Hmong clients aren't as smooth as they could be because I sometimes have difficulty understanding their requests."
Specify what types of training and development opportunities you'd like to pursue in the coming year. These can be anything from workshops and seminars to assignments where you're working on special projects or being loaned to a different division to broaden your understanding of corporate operations. To increase the chances of your request being approved, include an explanation of how the company will benefit from your participation in these training activities.
Articulate your career goals. There's certainly nothing wrong with wanting to keep doing what you're already doing and--from your boss' standpoint--your continued tenure saves time in having to interview and train a replacement. If you're aspiring to work your way up the ladder, however, and never mention this objective in a performance review, don't expect your boss to be a mind reader. Once a boss learns you have an aptitude or interest in other facets of the organisation, the doors may open more quickly than if you kept your ambitions silent (see Warning).
Tips and warnings
- If your future career plans extend outside the company you're currently working for, exercise caution in referencing it in your self-evaluation. Example: "My plan is to work here until my garage band takes off and starts getting major gigs or a recording contract."
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- "How To Say It Performance Reviews: Phrases and Strategies for Painless and Productive Performance Reviews"; Meryl Runion, Janelle Brittain; 2006
- "Performance Appraisal Phrase Book: The Best Words, Phrases, and Techniques for Performance Reviews"; Corey Sandler, Janice Keefe; 2003
- "Career Anchors: Self Assessment"; Edgar H. Schein; 2006
- "What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful"; Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Reiter; 2007