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Six Ways to Ace Your Next Performance Review

Posted by Reem Boudraa June 2, 2014 5 Comments

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Let’s face it. Performance reviews aren’t fun. Indeed, you’re forced to sit in front of one (or a roomful) of your managers as they pick apart your weaknesses and highlight the things you’ve done wrong throughout the year. But no matter how nerve-wrecking a performance review is, it can also be an eye-opening learning experience and a chance to show your boss what an indispensable asset you are to the company.

A strong performance review can enhance your job security and boost your odds of financial success. Here, the career experts at offer six tips to reduce your anxiety and to get you well-prepared for your next performance review:

1. Perform regular ‘self-assessments’

Take an objective look at your performance about once a month to determine whether you are on track to meet your goals. Also, ask your colleagues for some honest feedback. If you detect a problem, talk to your boss about how you might resolve it.

2. Do your homework

We recommend starting the process two months before your review. Write a memo detailing your achievements. What have you done to increase revenues, to decrease expenses, to save time, to reinvent your department in light of the company’s changing needs? Make sure you track the entire year since your last review. You could also consider assembling a portfolio of work samples and complimentary memos from your boss, clients or peers.

3. Speak in numbers

In your self-review and in the performance review itself, speak plainly. For example, do not mention something like, “I was able to leverage strategic resources.” Speak in specifics, not generalities. It’s important to spell out how your work is contributing to the bottom line (which ultimately means how essential you are to the company). Don’t expect that your evaluators will connect the dots themselves.  

4. Ask for support

Spell out what support and/or resources you need from your boss. According to the ‘Employee Engagement in the MENA’ poll (March 2014), 34.6% of MENA professionals claim to still need the resources that would help them do a better job. Also, detail your goals for the next year. The same poll shows that 93% of professionals in the MENA are involved in decisions that impact their work. What sort of measurable outcomes are you shooting for? A review isn’t just a time to reflect on the past six to 12 months on the job – it’s also the perfect opportunity to share your professional goals, both short-term and big picture. Looking for a promotion? Want more managing experience? Let them know what you’re after and discuss what you’ll need to get there.

5. Be strategic with your weaknesses

Everyone has something they can improve upon, so when you’re asked to list what you can do better, provide an honest assessment. It takes a little pride-swallowing, but it demonstrates that you’re easy to work with. Offer a solution after each weakness on your part to show initiative.

6. Don’t get defensive

Reacting to something with tears or anger is one of the worst things you could do in a review. If something upsets you, remain polite and professional and save your venting for a friend or family member later. An emotional outburst will reflect poorly on you — and likely be all your manager will remember later on (rather than the subject that got you upset).

Performance reviews are an investment in your career development. These conversations are the place to find out if you’re on the same page as your manager – and if not, what you can do differently in order to do your job well and advance your career. Nail down these six steps and you can turn any dreaded review into your time to shine!

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About Reem Boudraa

Reem Boudraa is the Senior Editor at

View all post by Reem Boudraa

  • sofia grayson

    Highlight the things which have been done wrong..Great article, Reem Boudraa, for career maker and job seeker. Keep posting!

  • Thank you, Sofia! 🙂

  • Javad

    Excellent article. Very helpful.

  • Thanks for the kind words, Javad. We’re glad to hear that you find it useful. Stay tuned for more!

  • A V Murali Manohar

    I loved this article… forwarded too to my friends…

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