Performance reviews can be intimidating at any level of your career. When I had my first performance review, I was nervous, but didn’t really know why. Feedback fuels my fire, and it should for you too. It’s easy to take constructive criticism personally, but just remember that it’s there to help you!
What if your company doesn’t have performance reviews? Make time with your manager to discuss things you have accomplished and things you want to accomplish. It’s important to see how your peers and manager evaluate you. Most importantly, you need to sit back and think about the direction you are headed.
I generally ask myself a few questions ahead of the review:
- What have you accomplished?
- What have you wished you would have experienced more of?
- What have you learned?
- What is your plan moving forward?
With these questions in mind, I do a few things to prepare. I know you are probably thinking, why should I prepare for a review when my manager will just tell me how I have performed? Your manager doesn’t see everything you work on. It’s also important to reflect on your work because you need to know if you are growing at the right pace to get where you want to be.
As you may notice, I am very goal driven. If there is something I need to learn or do, I set a goal to do it. So, performance reviews are something I look forward to. I have a constant need to know what my next steps should be to get to that next level. If you are nervous for your next review or just want to be prepared, here are a few tips to assist you in being confident.
Write down your accomplishments since your last review
I like to keep track of my accomplishments throughout the year based on the goals I was working towards. For example, if I wanted to practice more on writing long-form content, I would write down opportunities I had or content I wrote successfully so that I wouldn’t forget.
As you go through the year, or however much time is in between your performance reviews, write down:
- Any new experiences and how you were able to make it a success
- Any metrics are always good to have if you are able collect that type of data
- Any time you led projects, completed a project from start to finish or contributed to a project that yielded positive results
- Improving upon tasks that you needed more practice with
Having these accomplishments on hand are important because not only does it feel good to reminisce on your hard work, but also shows your manager that you are making an impact. Keep building that list of accomplishments and be sure to look back on them whenever you are having a hard day!
Evaluate your weaknesses and know what you want to improve on
Knowing what your weaknesses are will allow you to stay calm when you are hearing the constructive criticism that comes with every review process. Start thinking about what you know could be holding you back or you are struggling to overcome. But don’t just acknowledge these things, take it to the next level by telling your manager what your plan is to tackle these items in the coming year.
Additionally, having a list of items you would like to learn more about will show your manager that you are invested in your future. You want to learn more so that you can be the best you can be in your current role. Bring this list to your review so that you can discuss with your manager how to gain more experience in those areas.
For example, in one of my last reviews I mentioned that I had only been on two accounts throughout the whole time I was at the company. It was great because I loved those accounts, but I wanted to gain experience on others to expand my knowledge of PR on different types of clients.
Look at the job description of the role above yours
Why? Because this will help you determine what you still need to learn and what you may already have gained experience in. Going into your review knowing how close you are to the next level will help put things in perspective. It helps you understand what you would be evaluated on in that level and can keep you grounded. If you know you are doing all of the job duties of the next level up and doing them well, that might be a hint that a promotion is near!
Do these meetings make you nervous? We want to know what you do to prepare for performance reviews. Comment below with some of your tips!