7 ways to ace your next performance review!

Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Career Advice | 2 comments

Don’t be content to sit back and let your performance review happen to you; opt instead to participate and shine! Your performance review is an opportunity to highlight your accomplishments, communicate your value, create a positive working relationship with your boss, and set your goals for the coming year.

Think of your performance review like an interview, it is your chance to showcase your qualifications and experience to your employer and direct your career success. Like an interview, it is important to come prepared and doing so will allow you to speak intelligently on the topic of you and your career.

Facing my first performance review at a new job after working for over seven years working without a performance review was daunting and a little unnerving. I did some research and came up with these ideas to prepare to rock my review and I have enjoyed positive experience with performance reviews since. Here are 7 ways to ace your next performance review.

1) Revisit your most recent review. Consider any feedback you received and any improvements you’ve made. If you received constructive criticism, how have you changed? If you received positive feedback, how have you continued to build on your success? Be prepared to talk about your progress and take an active role in your professional growth.

2) Make a list of your accomplishments. Have you completed additional training or learned a new skill? Did you work on a major campaign or project? Did you increase efficiency or productivity? Recognize the value you bring to your employer and don’t be afraid to own your success.

3) Evaluate your work and come up with a list of skills you want to build in the coming year. You can impress your supervisor by recognizing and actively seeking to improve your weaknesses. Be honest with yourself, and also gentle in your assessment. It’s important to be fair without being too hard on yourself. Acknowledging areas that may need improvement shows you are thoughtful, proactive, and care about doing good work.

4) Create a list of goals for your career. Your boss may or may not ask you about your goals, either way it pays to be prepared to answer this important question. Whether or not your goals come up in your performance review, knowing your own goals will help you make informed decisions about your career and take advantage of opportunities that arise.

5) Outline how you will improve your skills and reach your goals. Your performance review is a great opportunity to actively involve yourself in your career success and show your employer how you focus on solutions. Research training opportunities, when they are coming up next and how much they cost. Find a mentor that is successful in an area you want to learn more about. Whatever your solution, tell your employer exactly how you will build on your career success.

6) Consider what you truly enjoy about working for your employer and, specifically, working with your direct manager. Being a supervisor is a tough job and most employees don’t think to say “thank you” to their boss. Use your performance review as an opportunity to share your gratitude with your manager. Let him or her know exactly why and how much you appreciate working with them and what you like about your working for your company.

7) Be prepared to turn negative feedback into accomplishments. If negative feedback is given, ask questions about how you can improve, what outstanding performance looks like to your supervisor, and how you will know when you’ve done great work. Resist the temptation to argue, complain or stay silent. Asking questions shows your employer you want to succeed and you are willing to see their point of view and make improvements.

Preparing for your performance review and actively participating in your performance discussion will boost your confidence, highlight your value to your employer, and help you focus and direct your future career development.

Are there other topics would you like to read about on Live Love Work? Reader questions are welcome and I’d love to explore areas of challenge and growth in your professional life.


  1. Sounds like the right steps…most people don’t even realize any of these and wonder why their career is stagnant.

    • Thanks for your comment, Angela!

      I think far too many employees see reviews as no more than sitting down to be judged. In my experience reviews can be a great opportunity to actively participate in professional success and plan for future growth. That isn’t to say I don’t get a little nervous myself come review time, but instead of focusing on being nervous I choose to focus on my accomplishments, goals and growth.

      Have a grateful day!


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