Performance reviews are one of the biggest opportunities you will have in almost every job. It offers you a chance to sit one on one with your boss, and discuss expectations, goals, successes, and areas for improvement. If you go in prepared, you can demonstrate your value as an employee, and potentially even negotiate a raise. However, a great performance review isn’t something just fall into. You have to prepare well ahead of time. In today’s blog, we’ll break down how you can set yourself up for performance review success.

Understand Your Goals

To impress in your review, you first have to understand your manager’s expectations. If you don’t understand what they are expecting, it’s possible that all of your hard work could be for nothing. So first, try to understand the expectations of your role. If that is already clear to you, great! If not, sit down with your manager well before your performance review, and establish goals and expectations.

Once you have a clear understanding of those goals and expectations, you have to hit the ground running. A great performance review won’t happen without great performance! There’s no trick to success besides actually seeking it out and doing the work. Now that you have those goals clearly established, do everything you can to meet them. However, it’s also important that you keep track of your own progress. Depending on where you work, management may already do that, but there is no guarantee.

Track Your Progress

To truly have a great performance review you have to be very self aware. It’s important for you to document everything you do. This should help you build a list of successes to reference by the time you have your performance review. The more exhaustive your notes, the better. Ideally, you should be taking these notes the day of or day after you finish a new project, or reach another goal. This ‘success journal’ will prove to be an invaluable tool when you do eventually sit down for your review.

Beyond successes, you should also note down any mistakes, learning experiences, and opportunities. Chronicling any mistakes and learning experiences will help you remember them later, and address them if they come up. Any opportunities you recognize within your position should be taken down, and either acted on or saved for later.

Demonstrate Your Success

You should also gather any documents related to your performance or success. Anything that helps to demonstrate your value as an employee. Ultimately, you are trying to prove that you have met or exceeded all of the goals set. So you should definitely hang onto any documents that demonstrate your success. For example, if you are in sales, it could be a report that tracks the amount of leads you’ve brought in, and how much business those leads have driven. Any documents with quantifiable success make for great performance review material.

By now, you should be feeling pretty confident about the review. You have exhaustive notes of your project and work, as well as documents that demonstrate your success. Having done that prep work beforehand will take you far. Your ultimate goal is to demonstrate your value to the company. However, it’s also important that you check your own expectations as well. You never know what your manager may be focusing on. It’s important to go in with an open mind.

Go In With the Right Mindset

Lastly, make sure you are able to take constructive criticism. It’s very rare to come out of a performance review without at least one thing to improve on. We are all human and make mistakes! So even if you’ve had a great year, understand that your manager still may have some recommendations on things to improve. Being open to those discussions will help you and your manager come to a better understanding from both sides.

Much like job interviews, how successful you are in a performance review will be greatly influenced by the amount of prep work you have done. Getting ready for either should take some time if you want to knock it out of the park. Just remember, it all starts with hard work. To have a successful performance review, you actually need to have excellent performance. So do great work first, and then prepare for the performance review later. We hope this guide helps you better prepare for your next performance review!