You’ve waited months for this moment—the chance to prove your worth to your boss and get a leg up in your career.
Let me break it to you: You won’t get what you want if you don’t prepare properly. In fact, your review will only go well if you get organized and collect all your information before the talk.
So, with that in mind, here’s what you need to do the night of your next performance review to put yourself in a great position for a productive conversation that’ll get you ahead in your career and get you on your boss’ good side:
1. Learn How to Respond to Feedback
You know not to yell (right?). But do you know there are ways to respond to negative feedback that actually make you look good?
You’re going to want to pay attention to the following because it’s possible you’ll receive some not-so-great feedback. And even if you’ve been doing fabulous work, it’s almost guaranteed you’re going to receive some form of constructive criticism (no one’s perfect, after all).
And, says Muse Writer Rich Moy, avoid blurting out things like “I didn’t realize that was wrong” or “It won’t happen again!” (Here’s what you should prepare to say instead.)
2. Collect Your Accomplishments
Think you deserve a raise?
It’s so important to state your case by listing out your accomplishments (including how much money you’ve made for the company, the skills you’ve learned, the relationships you’ve built, and the projects you’ve completed) over the past six months or year.
We made it easy for you: Just fill out this worksheet right from your computer.
3. Review Your Current Goals
Did you set goals at your last review? Or, do you have some personal ones of your own?
Either way, reviews are a great time to look back at what you were hoping to accomplish and see if you, well, actually did them.
If you met your goals, what did you learn along the way? Which ones are you most proud of? How can you build on them in the future?
And if you didn’t achieve them, how far did you get? Did your priorities change? What held you back? What can you do differently going forward?
Jot down some notes to discuss further with your manager when you meet. Which leads me to…
4. Set Some New Goals
Now that you know how far you’ve come, now you can decide where you want to go.
Do this by setting some realistic, yet ambitious goals. Consider the following:
- What skills would you like to master by your next review?
- What responsibilities do you want to take on?
- What projects are you passionate about pursuing?
- What weaknesses would you like to improve upon?
- What goals would you like to continue to build on?
- What role do you want to shoot for one to three years from now? What can you do now to put yourself in the running?
5. Prepare Any Lingering Questions
Especially if one-on-one time is rare in your office, reviews are super helpful for getting some of your most burning questions answered. It could be about the status of your team or department, or the goals of the company, or possibilities for career growth (like budget to get some professional development help).
6. Prepare for a Tough Conversation
Maybe your boss will bring up some serious concerns. Maybe you even seen a performance improvement plan coming. Or, maybe it’ll be a normal review on your manager’s end, but you’re going to have to raise your hand to discuss bigger issues.
Having these conversations is hard! But being prepared makes it a little easier.
7. Pat Yourself on the Back
Finally, give yourself some credit for making it to this big milestone. Sure, it happens every year, and you may not even receive anything special except for a simple “Great work” from your manager, but you’ve made it through what was probably a busy, exhausting, or even tumultuous period—look back on it, pat yourself on the back for everything awesome you did, and know you’re going to kick even more butt after this review.
Now all you have to do is double-check your review time (in case you have a jam-packed day), lay out a slightly-nicer-than-usual outfit (it doesn’t hurt), and get some beauty sleep.
And no matter what happens, because you’ve prepared, you’re sure to handle it like a champ.
Photo of person working courtesy of Ridofranz/Getty Images.
Previously an editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She’s written almost 500 articles for The Muse on anything from productivity tips to cover letters to bad bosses to cool career changers, many of which have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., CNBC's Make It, USA Today College, Lifehacker, Mashable, and more. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer and reader, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.More from this Author