Write Next Year’s Performance Review… Right Now.

While it’s early in the year yet, it’s a good idea to start thinking ahead about next year.  Your performance review can have a huge impact on your career opportunities and salary increases.  Prepare for your 2012 performance review right now by taking these tips in mind.  Get ready to write an incredible performance review!

Next Year’s Review

It’s a good idea to start thinking about your performance review now, so that you can start making a roadmap to make it happen.  Think about your goals for 2012 and start outlining steps toward achieving those goals.  Think of your performance review like a map – make an outline right now and use it as a guide throughout the rest of the working year.  If you think about your review now and make an action plan, when you turn in the review at the end of the year, you’ll already have a comprehensive list of your accomplishments.

Develop Your Goals Now

We recommend that you write down at least three major goals right now.   For example, if you were a salesperson, one of your goals might be to increase your sales quota by 20% by the end of the year.

This is a big goal – but just like any goal, it can be broken down into individual components.  If you want to increase your sales quota, what do you need to do to get there?  Do you need to speak with your supervisor to get more leads?  Is there any work that you can do with marketing to increase the efficiency of your sales funnel? Could you get additional education that could help you do the job better?  Write out your three main goals and then break down that big goal into several smaller steps.

Write it Out

This is where you should write out the sections of your review.  Consider formatting this in bullet-point form if you can – list your “big goal” and then bullet the steps you took to accomplish this goal below.  This is a very clear and crisp way of showing what you have done and then proving that it was done correctly.

Want more tips?  Here they are:

  • Don’t be modest. Make sure that you let your boss know where you shined and exactly why you did.  You don’t need to present yourself as perfect, but make sure you let your accomplishments shine through!
  • Go back to the beginning.  Your boss is likely not going to remember the time when you turned the project around at the last minute in January of 2012 if it is January of 2013.  Make sure that your performance review is a map of the entire year.
  • Don’t bring your salary into it. Bringing up pay is not appropriate during the performance review itself.  Use it as a bargaining chip later in an entirely different discussion at a later date.
  • Involve your coworkers.  After you have written your first draft, hand it over to a coworker.  They’ll be able to verify it for correctness and also give you pointers on how to review it to make you look even better.
  • Include objective measures of accomplishment.  If you’ve made a difference in your company, quantify it.  You didn’t just raise your sales quota – you raised it by 20%.  You didn’t increase conversions on your website – you brought an extra 50% of sales due to your design efforts.  Numbers and percentages are gold.
  • Write more than one draft.  You will likely need to produce more than one draft on your way to perfection.  Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to write your performance review so you don’t have to rush.

When writing a performance review, remember to start thinking early, make big goals, and break down those big goals into easily-consumable tasks.  With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to write a great performance review for 2013.

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