Does your employer require you to write a review of your own job performance? Employee self-reviews are increasingly popular these days. But how can you honestly assess yourself in a way that's likely to influence your boss? Here are 10 key dos and don'ts.
- Don't be modest. Don't be shy about letting your boss know where you shone during the review period. Highlight your accomplishments with grace and diplomacy and, naturally, without putting any of your colleagues down.
- Don't forget about achievements made early on in the performance review period. Your boss cannot possibly remember all of your projects and your participation. Go back over documents and emails to help you remember your earlier accomplishments.
- Don't be stuffy. Writing in a conversational style will encourage your supervisor to talk with you about the elements in the self-review.
- Do get feedback from coworkers. Consider asking your colleagues what they think of your performance.
- Do include objective measures of accomplishment. The more you can highlight tangible benefits you offer the company, the more invaluable you will appear. What difference did your efforts make to the bottom line? What did you do to contribute to excellent customer service? How did your work further the company's goals? Use dates, percentages, and numbers to back up your accomplishments.
- Don't use your self-review as a bargaining chip. A review is not the time to pick a fight about your compensation. Be clear about your accomplishments; save salary discussions for another time.
- Do use appropriate language. Choose words that demonstrate objectivity and distance. For example, instead of saying how much you like your job, detail the ways that your job skills have improved during the review period.
- Do suggest areas with room for improvement. If you can think of specific ways to improve your performance, mention them. Employers appreciate employees who have a realistic view of where they can improve.
- Do include task-related action plans. Be as specific as possible about any ideas you have for improving your performance, learning new skills, or taking on new responsibilities.
- Do write more than one draft. This self-review will become part of your permanent employment record, so be sure it's well-crafted.
For a good overview of how an employee self-review can help boost your career, read "The Benefits of Employee Self-Reviews". And keep in mind that there may be some distance between your own assessment of yourself and what your supervisor thinks. Check out "Closing the Gap Between a Self-Review and a Supervisor's Review" for tips on bridging that gap.