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It’s that time of year again: time for the dreaded employee performance evaluation.

Most companies that do these reviews tend to do them in the same way. And, frankly, they’re a bit disconnected. Typically, your boss gives you little direction about the review, other than to schedule a meeting to go over it. In the meantime, you log into an antiquated online system where you rate how well you’ve done this year.

The rating system is often a bit strange. You have a particular goal listed to explain what you were supposed to do at a high level; for example, “lead implementation of new company website.” For each goal, you give yourself a numerical rating (say a 5 out of 5), and then explain why you believe you qualify for this score.

When it comes time for the review with your boss, you print out your self scores and take them to have a discussion about how your boss’ ratings compare to yours.

There are good and bad things about this ratings process. One bad thing is that it doesn’t encourage you to get the most out of your review. The good thing is — if you do extra work to stand out, you’ll probably be the only one of your coworkers who does.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Don’t wait until the last minute to do your self evaluation. The last thing you want is to be rushed.
  2. Take your evaluation seriously! Just because your evaluation is not part of your official ‘job’ responsibilities, it’s still important. It’s your one opportunity all year to shine and show off what you’ve done.
  3. Don’t undersell yourself. Give honest ratings and be ready to back them up with examples of your hard work.
  4. When you meet with your manager, bring printed copies of everything — one for you and one for your boss.
  5. Be prepared to have discussions about your annual performance bonus, your annual salary increase, and the possibility of a promotion. This meeting is the perfect time for those discussions. Don’t assume they’re off limits.
  6. Be open to honest feedback and potential criticisms. Your manager will often look to give you suggestions on how to improve. Many managers feel this is part of their responsibility. Don’t be hurt if they give you a few pointers.
  7. Do more than the minimum. I’ve witnessed even senior level employees doing the bare minimum on their performance review. Take the time to do something a little extra, and you will stand out from all of your peers. An easy way to do this is to prepare a PowerPoint presentation that highlights your accomplishments. Come up with solid examples of your work, and be prepared to present them.

This leaves one open question. What if your company doesn’t do performance evaluations? Sometimes, smaller organizations don’t incorporate this into their policy and unless you have a particularly ambitious boss, you may not automatically have one. If this is the case, ask your boss to do a less formal performance review with you. You can go through all of the steps listed above, even without the online system. Going through the process (even when one doesn’t exist) will show drive, it will give you the chance to present your work, and it will allow you to get feedback from your boss regarding your performance.

Whatever route you take, best of luck with your upcoming review!!

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 or 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.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland

This newsletter was originally published in the Memphis Daily News.

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