How are you supposed to get better at your job if you don’t know the areas where you need to improve? That’s where the end-of-year review process for employees comes in. While the review itself differs from company to company it’s often what’s behind determining salary hikes, bonuses, and promotions. And there’s one step you really shouldn’t overlook—that’s the employee self-evaluation.
As part of the review process, managers often ask for an employee’s self-evaluation. In the self- evaluation, you want, above all, to document your success at work. While humility is a virtue, this is not the time to shy away from your achievements.
A quick Google search reveals there’s plenty of stock self-evaluation examples that detail what kind of language to use and what components typically comprise the form. Our four tips will help you craft a stand out eval and (maybe) help you land your next promotion.
Be totally honest with yourself
Remember that you’re only human. This is easy to overlook but it’s definitely worth repeating: you are human and therefore will always have room for improvement. Keep this in mind as you draft your self-eval examples.
There will be areas where you excel and areas where you fall short. To find these highs and lows, though, you have to look internally. “The biggest downfall I find with reviews and self-reviews is just people not being real,” Mikaila Turman, director of people at Goodhire, said. “If you’re doing it right, then you’re being very raw and honest and real. Like, ‘These are the things that I did really, really well over the course of the last six months or a year. These are the things that I need to work on, and here’s how my manager or my team could help me do better in these areas.’”
If you find yourself focusing too much on one area or another, try going over your performance in a chronological order. What big projects did you knock out of the park during X month? What did you struggle with? Also important: What changes did you implement to overcome certain challenges? Did they work or chip away at the problem?
Track your goals
Look back, if possible, on the original job description for your role. How have you stacked up against the job duties you were hired to perform? Consider: Was there something your manager said you could improve on during the last review? Was there an unexpected layoff that impacted your job and you’ve since taken on additional responsibilities? Did this force you to refocus your goals?
State your goals at the top of the evaluation so you have a frame of reference for every point you make thereafter. “You can keep it as simple as breaking the year up into the quarters and asking at the end of each quarter, asking ‘What did I get done?’” Turman said.
Choose specific highlights and don’t neglect the small stuff
There’s no doubt that you’ve accomplished a lot during the quarter, or year prior. You want to be strategic about what you zero in on. The easiest way to prepare for your review is to document your progress in real time. That way, you have something on paper, on a Google doc, on an Excel sheet, or even your Notes app to jog your memory.
“Anytime I end a quarter, I print out my numbers and I highlight my achievements, what account I closed or what contract we got on to, etc.,” Holly Caplan, a career coach and author of the Dick Clique: A Girl’s Guide to Surviving the Male Dominated Corporate World said. “I hold on to it by quarter so that at the end of the year I have it all backed up and it’s all documented.”
When presenting your achievements, Caplan suggests sticking to a timeline format. “Do it in chronological order,” she said “You can map out what you’ve done so they can see the storyline.” Once you have that story in place, you can wrap up by stating what your new goals and plans are for the following year. Who doesn’t like a forward-thinking employee?
Finally, don’t completely gloss over the smaller wins. Make note of extra work you’ve tackled that may help out in less tangible ways. Think: Helping plan a company party, mentoring interns, or volunteering for a presentation. While these might not be the “big wins” they help show your commitment to the company culture.
Tie your performance into the big picture
You kicking ass at your job is great and all—but how does it help the company’s bottom line, or mission? Caplan advises showing how your work and your contributions tie into the bigger picture in your company. Make note of any collaborative work you’ve done. “Companies do appreciate that because it shows that your trying to help the whole company grow, not just yourself,” she said.
Think of it as a way to put a nice bow on all you’ve done.