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Over the past few weeks, I have received numerous questions regarding performance reviews. It’s that time of year again. Companies look for ways to evaluate – and document – the performance of their employees.

From the employee perspective, this process can seem outdated and frustrating. It’s typically administered through a website where both you and your manager evaluate your performance. Your review is divided up into a number of goals. Each goal has a weighting as some are more important than others.

It starts with the self-review. The employee must identify what percentage complete each goal is and whether or not they met expectations. The choices are typically met expectations, exceeded expectations, and did not meet expectations. Then, there’s a box where the employee types up why they gave themselves the review they did.

Then, the manager evaluates the employee. Sometimes they do this before meeting with the employee and sometimes afterward. During the meeting, the employee and the manager what went well in the past year, what went poorly, plans for next year, and the areas the employee should work to improve on.

At the end of the conversation, the manager often reveals the employee raise and annual bonus, if they’re eligible for one.

I’ve seen many people really fail at this entire process. They look at it like checking a box. It’s something they want to get through so they can get back to work.

But, this is really the wrong approach. Your annual evaluation may be one of your only opportunities during the year to highlight your skills and to show your boss (who may have been busy attending to other things) what you’ve been up to.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help make your annual review a little more successful.


  • Don’t arrive unprepared to your meeting
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to fill out your self-evaluation
  • Don’t be shy when talking about your achievements
  • Don’t under value yourself
  • Don’t spend a lot of time highlighting what went wrong
  • Don’t come with negative feedback on your boss’ performance or the company – this meeting is about you
  • Don’t be defensive if your boss gives you suggestions on areas where you can improve – it’s their job to give you this feedback


  • Put together a presentation of your annual review for your boss
  • Practice what you’d like to say before meeting with your boss
  • Highlight your most impactful contributions
  • Use numbers to describe your accomplishments when possible
  • Dress to impress – this is an important meeting for you!
  • Be on time with your self-evaluation and your review meeting
  • Score yourself positively where possible – this isn’t the time to be shy
  • Come prepared with a proactive list of what you’d like to do next year
  • Be prepared for discussions around your raise or annual bonus

Taking your performance review seriously can have a positive impact on your future job assignments. It shows that you’re willing to take initiative and stand out from your peers. It can also positively impact your bonus or raise, as your manager will be reminded of all the great work you’ve done over the last year.

Also, please take just a moment to like my Copeland Coaching Facebook page. It’s a great way to stay connected, and each day, I share great job postings.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Thanks.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland


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