Professional Development

7 Tips for a Career Boost Through Your Self Evaluation

Annual reviews can be a stressful time, but it can also be a time for positive career development. The self evaluation is a tool to describe how well you’ve performed the previous year. You can use the self evaluation to help drive the performance appraisal process and instead of letting your manager decide the path to take, you can help steer the conversation to the positives that will help boost your career. These 7 tips will not only help you with a career boost, but they will also help you create a career development plan that will change your path at a company.


1. Speak in Terms of Career Development

Managers are looking for staff who they can trust. Writing your self evaluation in terms of career development will demonstrate your desire to work at a company long term. It demonstrates leadership capability: you want to take responsibility for yourself and how you can contribute in your role. As you write your self evaluation, discuss how goals fit into your career path and how your accomplishments contribute to the department and company.

For example, if you’re answering a question about teamwork, discuss your role and how it relates to the team

As a team, we’ve had a number of resource challenges this year. I’ve worked hard to compensate for these challenges by including people in projects in the places that are a best fit for them. I’ve also contributed to a number of projects my co-workers are working on, specifically the software refresh project, one we delivered two weeks ahead of schedule. Teamwork is a core principle for our department and one which I am working hard to fulfill.

When you craft your answers to the bigger picture and to career development, you’ll find your manager will review you based on the foundation you’ve set.

2. Be Specific About Successes

This is your self evaluation. Be specific about what you’ve accomplished the past year. You’ll find that the successes you discuss will inevitably end up on your performance review. Most managers have a ton of performance reviews, 360 evaluations, self reviews, and HR paperwork to complete during the performance review process. Writing a detailed self evaluation, highlighting your successes, will increase the likelihood these details will end up in your performance evaluation.

I created a new customer service manual to be used for level 2 incidents. I performed thorough research and testing and designed the manual to improve customer care. After rollout, we saw a 22% decrease in calls needing to be escalated to level 3 and a 26% increase in customer care satisfaction surveys.

3. Ask How Your Self Evaluation Will Be Used

Ask your manager what he will use the self evaluation for. Ask if he will share it, if it will be used for raises, or if it will be in your HR file. Many managers use the self evaluation to help them prepare the performance review, so as you write, think about how you can make it easy for your boss to use it. Knowing the larger audience that will read your self evaluation will help you decide how to write it.

4. Carefully Acknowledge Mistakes

Instead of highlighting your mistakes, write about development opportunities. Writing about shortcomings can be a difficult process and one which can be used against you in the future. Instead, write about an area you need to work on and how you are going to improve in the future.

One area I am focusing on this year is improving my communication skills. Due to geographically distances between team members, we often have difficulty being on the same page. I am increasing the number of meetings I have with fellow staff and shifting my schedule a day a week to improve in this area.

5. Rate Yourself Objectively

When you have facts and examples for a specific topic area, it’s easy to rate yourself an “Exceeds Expectations,” when it’s less clear, you may have to settle on a “Meets Expectations.” Think about each area you’re rating and how you would be rated objectively. If in doubt, think about how your manager will rate you and how you can justify your rating if your manager rates you lower.

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6. Ask for Training, Mentoring, and Coaching

Managers love employees who ask for help. Review the areas you’re challenged in and judiciously as for training, mentoring, and coaching. Use the performance appraisal process as a career development opportunity. Remember: if you don’t ask for it, you won’t receive it.

Be specific in your requests and how your manager can help.

As I was promoted to supervisor this year, I’ve worked hard to help develop staff and improve performance for our team. Over the next year, I’d like coaching to help further develop my team and continue the path we’re on to high performance.

7. Plan for Next Year

Turn the performance review process into a positive one by framing your self evaluation by asking for what you can do over the next year. Ask questions like, “What tasks would help you or the team that I can take over?” or “What projects do you see me working on over the next year?”

Building your self evaluation into one that helps develop you as an employee will chance the dreaded process into one that you both enjoy and benefit from.