7 Ways to Ace Your Job Performance Review

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If it’s almost time for you to have your annual performance review, you may be feeling anxious. If you’re not careful, a terrible review could eventually mean the loss of your job.

“Your performance review meeting and the written review that will come out of the process will identify whether you’re growing and succeeding in your role or you’re on the wrong track. If you’re not performing and meeting your assigned objectives, your job may be at risk. The performance review process will also determine whether you’ll receive an increase in compensation, how you’re ranked in your department and company…and whether you’ll be considered for a promotion in the future,” said career expert Brian D. Poggi.

What can you do to make sure you present yourself well and get that raise or promotion? Here are a few tips for how to ace your job performance review with flying colors.

1. Show up on time

First things first: be on time. This is a very basic first step toward making sure you don’t ruin your chance to make a good impression. Always be punctual. Arriving on time shows respect for your supervisor and demonstrates your responsibility. Author Lisa Lane says being late could reduce your chances of receiving a raise or promotion, so now is definitely not the time to walk in after your scheduled meeting time. Even if your co-workers are always late to meetings, don’t follow suit. Remain professional even when you think people aren’t watching—because they are.

2. Don’t use this time to complain

Your performance review is not the appropriate time to air out unresolved complaints. If you have pressing issues that need to be addressed, you should set up a separate meeting for that. The purpose of your meeting is to evaluate your progress and see if you’re worth keeping around for another couple of months. Your supervisor has the floor, said Poggi:

“Generally, most of the input will come from your supervisor. Your supervisor will compile his or her input based on information from your self-appraisal (if you have submitted one), and input from your peers, customers, other departments, and from your discussion during the actual performance review meeting.”

3. Be prepared

Prepare for your review by making a list of all your accomplishments from the previous year. This will come in handy if your supervisor expresses concerns about your performance or level of engagement. You can refer to this list as proof of your efforts to be a good team player.

4. Keep your attitude in check

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If you get a poor performance review, don’t lash out in anger. Be respectful and take the criticism in stride. If you feel your boss’s remarks are not accurate, calmly defend yourself. Responding with anger may cause your supervisor to question his or her decision to hire you. Don’t do anything that will raise doubts.

“Remember that the way you respond to this appraisal can make all the difference in the next one. Even if you believe that the review is inaccurate and that your boss is completely wrong, you will benefit by reacting in a mature, adult manner,” said career coach Marie G. McIntyre.

5. Ask questions and take notes

If you don’t understand something your boss is saying, ask for clarification. You don’t want to leave the meeting with any misunderstandings as this could impact your next performance review. Also ask questions about how you can improve and grow. This shows that you care about your job and desire to help the company thrive. In addition, take notes so you will remember what was discussed.

“At the end of this discussion you need a clear understanding of your manager’s expectations. Before leaving the meeting, summarize your understanding of what you must do to get a better review next time,” said McIntyre.

6. Show appreciation

Your boss is busy. Thank him or her for taking the time to meet with you to discuss your progress. Your supervisor likely has dozens of meetings to attend, so acknowledge the sacrifice.

7. Plan your next steps

Now that you have a better understanding of what your boss expects going forward, take steps toward meeting those expectations. You may also want to schedule a check-in meeting so that you can make sure you are on target. Continue to look for ways to strengthen your skills.

“Make your goals your mission for the year. Keep goals current, track progress and contributions, and update goals as appropriate to reflect any changes in your role or responsibilities. Remember that although goals are set to achieve certain work-based objectives, they can also yield personal rewards in the form of professional and developmental growth and greater earnings potential,” said career expert Maura Pallera.

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