How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review
Career Growth

How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review

by Elana Lyn Gross
Photos Cambria Hempton | February 01, 2016
When’s the last time you gave yourself a performance review? Ask these questions regularly to track your career progress.
I was so nervous the first time I had an annual review.

It ended up being fine, of course, but being reviewed on your performance—especially if you’ve never been through the process before—can be nerve-wracking. But if you are consistently asking for feedback and evaluating your work, you shouldn’t be surprised by what you hear during your review. Plus, annual reviews are helpful, because you’re told your strengths and weaknesses, you learn areas where you should improve, and (if you ask the right questions) you find out the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you’re being measured against and what you need to do to be promoted.

Unfortunately, not all companies have a formal review process. But that’s no excuse not to regularly track your performance! You can still learn a lot from taking time to critically think about your work—both your accomplishments and your missteps—and your intended career trajectory.

(And bonus: If you do have a formal annual review, you can answer these questions beforehand—you’re bound to impress your boss with your preparation!)

Here are some great questions to ask yourself as you review your work performance:

ANNUAL REVIEW, DIY EDITION

  • What are the three accomplishments that I’m most proud of?
  • What was the last time I made my boss say “wow”? (This one’s inspired by Kate White.)
  • How can I be bigger, bolder, and more badass next year? (Also inspired by Kate!)
  • What are three of my biggest strengths?
  • What are three areas where I’ve improved over the past year?
  • What are the three areas where I have the most room for improvement? What are some action steps I can take to improve each?
  • What was a “mistake” I made this year and how can I prevent it in the future?
  • What would my ideal growth trajectory (i.e., raise, promotion, new title) be for the next year?
  • Do I see myself at this company in the next two to five years? If yes, what role would I want to have by then? If no, what skills should I learn in the meantime that will help me get hired at my next job?
  • What are three things I can do outside of work that will improve my performance at work (e.g., classes, books, establishing a morning routine, blogging)?
These questions really helped me to clarify my strengths and weaknesses, as well as where I’d like to be in the future. I hope these questions—and the process of regularly reflecting on your career and performance—helps you, too!
Have you ever done your own annual review? Did you find it helpful? Let us know in the comments below!