How to Prepare for a Year-End Performance Review

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Performance review

You shouldn't fear your annual performance review. Instead, you should be proactive and make the review an opportunity to move forward in your career.

By Shravan Goli

The end of the year often means it’s time for your annual performance review. This shouldn’t be a time to dread. Instead, be excited: This is an opportune time to be proactive and help yourself move forward in your career. This is your review, so you will want to walk into that meeting fully prepared to discuss your accomplishments.

If your company has a formal review program, then fill out all self-appraisal forms. These forms help set the tone for your manager to begin your review. Although this specific time of year may be the formal review, be sure to document or file away key achievements throughout the year, which will make this process more comfortable and less stressful.

Honestly evaluate yourself. Have you met all of your goals from the past year? Where have you exceeded them? Where have you come up short? You need to consider all the achievements, problems and challenges that occurred.

Think about how you helped your company with a tech solution. If you're a project manager, did you experience any project delays? If so, how did you handle them? If you're a system administrator, how did you address any process breakdowns this year?

This is not a time to be modest about your wins, nor is it a time to duck away from anything that didn’t go your way. Familiarize yourself with both your successes and your failures from the past year.

When it comes to situations in which you were not successful, show what you've learned and what you've already done (or are currently doing) to improve in these areas. Be sure to note any training and development courses you have taken, including programming, information systems security, interactive media, networking skills or project management.

Prepare bullet points to bring to the meeting as supporting material for your triumphs over the past year. If you can, quantify your successes to help illustrate your value.

If you're a software developer, share metrics on usage and testing. If you're in Web design and development, provide analytics on the user experience. You may want to gather positive feedback from colleagues you have worked with to help your manager make an appropriate assessment.

Think about what specific projects you’d like to do in the future. What are your goals, and what would you like to achieve? Will you need certifications to advance, such as backup and disaster recovery, ITIL or Linux?

Use the performance review meeting as a time to discuss your expectations and progression with your manager. Then utilize the feedback as a springboard to advance to the next level in your career.

Shravan Goli is the president of Dice, a respected career site that brings together in-demand technology professionals and tech-powered companies. An Internet and media veteran, Goli is responsible for executing the growth strategy for Dice.com, ClearanceJobs and the Slashdot Media brands. @shravangoli

This article was originally published on 2014-12-01
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