How to Prepare Your Self-Appraisal for a Performance Review


Performance reviews are generally conducted on an annual or a biannual schedule. Self-appraisals are a key component of the review process. Self-appraisals allow the employee performance review process to have a more objective base. They also allow performance reviews to be more thorough, as employees are often aware of smaller projects that they work on throughout the year--projects that a supervisor might have forgotten about. Preparing a self-appraisal is relatively easy, yet thought-provoking.

Focus on Strengths and Areas for Improvement

  • Gather copies of work you have done during the review period. For example, finance managers could create a file that includes budget reports, headcount analytics and senior management presentations that they worked on during the past 12 months. A good place to start is emails that you sent to colleagues or supervisors. Often these electronic communications have documents or projects that you worked on attached to them. Pull these emails into a folder titled “Self Evaluation.” You’ll refer to these and other hard-copy projects that you worked on as you complete the self-appraisal.

  • Highlight specific action items that you took to complete individual or team projects. Refer to emails and hard-copy documents of projects that you worked on to list key strengths. For example, a human resources project manager could list organization and teamwork as two strengths. Tie strengths to specific projects. An example for a human resources project manager who has strong organizational skills could list “organized work-stream teams for acquisition of Company ABC to meet aggressive deal and close deadline.” Include communications of praise or appreciation from managers, colleagues, clients or business partners for work that you completed throughout the year. If the company’s performance review system does not have review categories such as leadership, project management, customer relations and communication skills broken out, organize your work strengths into four to five key areas. For example, a customer service telephone representative could categorize her work strengths into areas such as conflict resolution, team interaction, client communication and personal integrity.

  • Report areas for improvement. Return to emails and hard copies of projects that you have worked on during the year and highlight areas for improvement. Sample items might include unmet goals, times when a project was completed late or times when work had to be redone due to errors. Note two to three areas for improvement in the self-appraisal. Be candid without assigning blame. Include action steps that you can take to minimize or eliminate these weaknesses or/and errors.

  • Locate in-house or external training courses, programs, seminars or conferences that you can attend that will help you strengthen areas for improvement. Suggest in-house cross-training opportunities that will allow you to work in other departments at the company so that you can stretch and grow your skill set. Do this in addition to noting specific action steps you can take to minimize or eliminate errors or/and weaknesses. Be prepared to discuss with your supervisor coverage for training programs that require you to be away from the office. List the target date to enroll in and complete the training.

  • Summarize your progress in an overall summary statement at the bottom of the self-appraisal. Write three to six sentences in the summary. Focus on two to three strengths and one area for improvement in the summary. List professional goals that you would like to achieve at the company over the next six to 12 months. These could include items such as progressing to the next pay grade or professional title level, participating in team councils or getting involved in more community-based programs that the firm supports.

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