How to ace your Annual Performance Review

About to meet your boss for your annual review? Don’t dread it. Make the most of this opportunity to push your career forward.

It’s about this time of year that annual performance reviews will start to loom large in the minds of employees, bosses and HR managers.

It helps to think of your review as your chance to show your boss just how you have contributed to the company’s success over the year. It’s also a great time for you to take a step back and take stock of your personal career goals and training needs.

So how do you get the most out of your annual performance review?

Start Early

Continually track your work throughout the year. Many people make the mistake of only thinking about their performance when they get a date for their review.At the risk of stating the obvious your annual review is for your entire year’s work not just the few week’s leading up to your review. 

When thinking back on your achievements for the year consider any projects you were involved with, positive client/customer feedback, any of your ideas that were implemented, examples of successful teamwork or leadership skills.  Basically, include areas of your work that you feel contributed to your department’s or company’s performance over the course of the last twelve months.

If you don’t already then it’s a good idea to create an achievements folder so you can track your work and your progress. It’s doesn’t have to be particularly extensive but it should be enough to jog your  memory and form the basis of your review.

Agree Your Targets

At the end of a review, following a discussion with your manager, targets and objectives will be set for the year ahead.

Once these targets are agreed they can be difficult to roll back so make sure you know what you have agreed to deliver.  Are they realistic? Are they achievable? Do you have the resources you need to hit these targets? Do you need additional training to help you?  When you are setting your objectives keep in mind that you don’t want to set yourself up to fail.

Take Ownership

Consistent communication is the key to success.  You should have regular (weekly, monthly or quarterly) meetings with your manager so you can check/review your progress. If you don’t have one then request one.

This will help you stay on track with your targets and also will allow you to raise the red flag and take action early if things are not going as well as you had anticipated.

Identify Areas for improvement

It’s unlikely that your review will be all about achievements.  There may have been parts of your job you found challenging or difficult. Be ready to discuss these with your manager but also take the opportunity to ask for the training or support you may need to get over these obstacles.

Don’t forget your CV

Now is the best time to update your CV.  More and more employers like CVs which reflect what a person has achieved in his or her job and not just a list of their duties.

By the end of the annual review process you should have a comprehensive list of your achievements for the year so be sure to add them to your CV.

Even if you’re not “actively” looking for a new job having a CV that is ready to go means you won’t miss an opportunity should one become available.  It also means that whenever you are ready to look for a new job you aren’t starting the onerous task of starting your CV from scratch.