How to Write Your Own Performance Review

Published: Apr 28, 2022

Topics: Productivity       Salary & Benefits       

Your employer should give you at least one performance review each year. During your review, you may be asked to complete a self-assessment of some kind. The self-assessment can be somewhat of a daunting task, as it may give the appearance of being a trap depending on the overall work environment that your employer has fostered. Happily, more times than not it is an excellent opportunity to share your accomplishments, your concerns, and other relevant information with your employer in a constructive way. Here are some tips to help you perform a great self-assessment.


Keep Personal Records

I feel like a broken record with this one, and it may seem silly, but keeping your own personal records at work is extremely helpful. Whether you keep an open Word document or a digital notepad on your device, or you actually handwrite your records into an actual notebook, document your accomplishments consistently – and I mean all of them, no matter how small they may seem.

Believe me when I say that remembering all of your accomplishments at work can be incredibly difficult, as the fast and sometimes frenetic pace of everything can make time seem as though it’s going at light speed. Write everything down as it happens; you’ll thank yourself later when it comes time for your performance review, and you’ve got a ton of ammunition to show your boss how great you’ve been all year.


Know Your Role

Is your self-assessment being used as part of a routine performance evaluation? Or is it part of a bigger event such as a raise or promotion? If you’ve been keeping your records, this is a piece of cake, either way. If you’re undergoing a routine performance evaluation, you can consult your records from the past year or so, while if you’re up for a raise or a promotion, you’ll want to go further back in time and include all of your best accomplishments from the very beginning of your employment.

If you’re in the running for a promotion, try to share accomplishments that apply to your new position, if possible. If you don’t have many accomplishments that directly apply, list the best ones first, and so on. This will ensure that your employer sees the very best of your accomplishments first, making them more memorable.


Talking About Your Accomplishments

Whenever you provide your employer with a list of your accomplishments, try to show the accomplishments in a way that is quantifiable. For example, if you’re in sales, you can explain how you’ve achieved a higher number than your initial target. If you’re in marketing, you can include how one of your recent social media campaigns gained a large amount of followers or unique engagements with the company’s pages.

Of course, all of this is far easier if you’ve been keeping track of all your accomplishments in your handy notebook (digital or otherwise), because you won’t even have to remember anything! All the specific numbers and figures would already be included in your notes and can be easily extracted during the time of your review. If you haven’t yet, you’ll soon see the light with the whole keeping personal records thing…oh yes, you will.


Identifying Weaknesses

Weaknesses, cracks in the proverbial armor; we’ve all got ‘em, and it’s best to recognize them and work towards fixing them. There is nothing wrong with detailing your weaknesses or mistakes in your self-assessment, as it gives you an opportunity to tell your employer what you learned from said mistakes, and how you plan to rectify them going forward.

While we want to tell the truth and work hard to compensate for our weaknesses and mistakes, we shouldn’t go placing blame on others for our shortcomings. Even if you can prove that you took the fall for someone else’s error, whether intentionally or not, it’s best to leave things like that out. Your self-assessment is about you, and it shouldn’t serve as a platform for you to throw someone else under the bus.


The Numbers Game

Sometimes you’ll be asked to complete a section in which you have to give yourself a numerical score for a variety of topics. Typically, it will be 1-5, with 1 being the lowest and so on, but this information still applies in the event yours is different in some way. This is one of those times where it pays to be honest, especially if each topic section allows you to add notes along with your numerical score.

Let’s say for example that the topic is “displays mastery of all tasks at hand,” and you want to give yourself a 5. Keep in mind that giving yourself a perfect score means that you feel there is absolutely no room for improvement, and that you’ve been performing at the pinnacle of what you can achieve. If your employer disagrees, it might not be such a good look if you’re trying to convince them that you believe you've been displaying mastery in your role.

Likewise, if you feel you need to give yourself a lower score, it would be best to explain why you feel that way. Maybe you don’t complete tasks on time consistently, but it’s for a reason such as the organization is understaffed. Just be mindful that giving yourself all 1s or all 5s can be damaging, depending on your employer and how they feel about your performance.

Finally, your self-assessment can be a great opportunity to share your ideas and your goals for the future, and how you plan to achieve them. Be fair and be honest, as this is the path towards positive professional growth. Oh, and one more thing, and this is very important, but…keep personal records so that you don’t have to waste precious energy remembering things, and so that you can be quick on your feet when review time comes. Personal records, personal records, and, oh yes, personal records.