When it comes down to writing a great self-appraisal, a lot of questions come to mind. What are they used for? How are you supposed to promote yourself without coming off as a show-off? Is this really the best use of my time? For the last question, it honestly depends. For some companies, self-appraisals are nothing more than a formality; But used correctly, they can have a big impact on your career.
What makes them so important?
- They force you to think hard about yourself and your performance
- They help managers to know if you understand your job and your performance
- They help managers remember all the great things you’ve achieved over the year
Keeping those factors in mind, it’s important to make the most of your self-appraisal when it comes around.
Find out exactly what your appraisal will be used for
If you don’t know how your appraisal is going to be used, there’s no way you can get the most out of it. Is it going to just your manager? The CEO? Will it be used to determine bonuses or other rewards? One of the most important aspects of writing is knowing your audience. Once you know the audience of your self-appraisal, you can tailor it to fit your needs.
Like any other challenge, your attitude is going to affect the outcome. If there’s a lot riding on your appraisal, adopting a positive outlook has been proven to lower levels of stress. Your positivity should also spill over into the appraisal itself. When writing, it’s good to aim for a 90/10 balance: That is, 90% of your appraisal should be your achievements and successes, while the other 10% should be areas you need to improve upon.
Tip: If you’re finding it a challenge to remember your achievements, consider keeping a performance journal. When the time comes, it will make writing the appraisal a breeze.
Be up-front about shortcomings
You might be nervous to admit your problem areas to your boss, but 99% of professionals preferred a workplace where co-workers discuss issues truthfully. When writing your self-appraisal, honesty is definitely the best policy. You want to accept responsibility for any failures, and do not try to pass any blame off to your coworkers. Instead, ask yourself some difficult questions. Why did you struggle? What can you do to improve before your next appraisal?
While you’re writing the 10% on areas of improvement, be sure to use developmental language. Don’t just say, “I struggled with HTML coding.” Instead, with every negative point, include how you’re going to work on it. “I struggled with HTML, so I’m going to take a webinar to improve."
Focus on your long-term career plan
Your self-appraisal is a great opportunity to evaluate your long-term career goals. Think about how your current job skills are helping your career move forward and communicate that to your manager. If there’s one thing that managers love to see, it’s growth. If there are things you could improve upon to help your career and your current job, write that down too.
Stay focused on your long-term goals, but remain open to new possibilities when writing your appraisal. Your manager may have ideas for opportunities based on what you’ve said that you never would have thought of.
Even if you find out from your employer that self-appraisals are really just a formality, it’s still useful. You can use it to take a personal inventory of where you’re going, what you’ve done well, and what you need to improve on. If you really want to make those changes, write down goals to meet before the next appraisal: People with written goals are 50% more likely to achieve than people without goals.
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