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Seven Ways to Ace Your Performance Review

Let’s face it. Reviews aren’t fun. You’re forced to sit in front of a roomful of your superiors as they pick apart your weaknesses and highlight all of the things you’ve done wrong. Though a stroll through Central Park at 2 a.m. might sound more appealing, a review can be an eye-opening learning experience and a chance to show your superiors what you’re made of.

Nail down these eight steps and you can turn a dreaded review into your time to shine.

1. Go back to basics
When you begin your review, start by listing the initial duties that were described in your job description. Give examples of how you’ve successfully completed these tasks, and then demonstrate how you’ve gone above and beyond what was expected of you.

2. 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. And when they point out a weakness you don’t necessarily agree with, go with it anyway. It takes a little pride-swallowing, but it demonstrates that you’re easy to work with. Offer a solution after each one to show initiative.
3. Mention your goals
A review isn’t just a time to reflect on the past six to twelve 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 do to get there.

4. Don’t expect them to know anything you haven’t told them
If you don’t always feel like you get the credit you deserve, here’s your chance to set the record straight. The brilliant idea that saved your team from losing a client? That was yours. The new process that makes keeping track of sales so much easier? You started it. The bigwigs aren’t around enough to know exactly who’s doing what on a day-to-day basis, so make sure you point out things that may have gone unrecognized.

5. Don’t blame
If you do happen to get blamed for a mistake you don’t feel was yours, it’s smarter to take responsibility anyway (unless you’re at risk of being fired, of course). Often, managers just want to know that steps are being taken to ensure it won’t happen again and that can’t happen if no one admits they were wrong.

6. Use numbers
Especially if your role isn’t in sales or finance, 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.  

7. Confirm a general consensus
Reviews don’t always take a straight course, and you don’t want to walk out of the room even less sure of where you stand. Take notes so you can refer back to what was said, and when you’re nearing the end of the meeting, ask them to sum up your performance.

Originally published at