Performance reviews: How to prepare for success

By Diane Sofranec, Managing Editor

If you’re like most employees, your annual performance review doesn’t do much to help your career. You meet face-to-face with your boss, you’re told you are — or are not — doing a great job, and you get the standard company raise — or worse, no raise at all.

Prepare for your annual performance review, however, and you just might score a substantial bump in pay, more challenging job duties and job security.

In part one of this two-part post, I’ll examine how you can use your performance review to launch your career in the right direction. In part two, I’ll explore how you can show you’re an asset to your company.

Here are 4 ways to get the most out of your performance review:

1. Learn the purpose of your performance review.

Ask your boss what he or she hopes to gain from conducting a performance review. Does your yearly raise depend on your job performance? If so, which of your abilities are being measured and how? Ask your boss what it takes to be considered an outstanding employee and then, make it happen.

2. Request an honest assessment.

If your boss doesn’t tell you how you’re doing, ask. Don’t get defensive if your boss gives you constructive criticism. Instead, assure your boss you can learn from your mistakes. Use the feedback to make necessary adjustments in your attitude or work habits.

3. Establish attainable goals for the year.

Look at your job description (if you don’t have one, work with your boss to create one) and add a few tasks you can complete over the course of the year. Take on a project you and your colleagues have been putting off or consider tackling a challenging task that will test your abilities. Set specific and relevant goals that you and your boss can measure. Be sure to ask your boss to update your list of duties in your job description. At next year’s performance review, you can showcase your accomplishments.

4. Ask your boss to track your progress.

Request the opportunity to check in with your boss on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis because yearly is too long to wait. That way, you and your boss will know you are working toward your goals and are on target to meet them. Before you leave your performance review meeting, set up a time to check in for an update.

Your performance review can be a stepping stone to a successful career if you ask the right questions and heed your boss’ feedback.

Diane Sofranec has more than 25 years of B2B media experience. She joined North Coast Media in 2013 as a digital content producer and is now managing editor of the company’s Pest Management Professional magazine.