Anatomy of … a Performance Review

Strategies to Ace Your Annual Job Checkup

An annual review not only shows you what your manager thinks of your performance but can also set the stage for your career’s progression over the next year. Follow these steps to make sure you get the recognition—and support—you deserve.

Be clear on expectations. Review your job description and previous conversations with your manager to make sure you know which job functions are most important to your employer. Doing this also lets you see if priorities have changed.

Brainstorm your biggest accomplishments. Be ready to cite examples of workplace achievements in the areas most valued by your employer. If the manager prioritizes sales numbers, know how many times you exceeded your quota.

Come up with a personal growth plan. Women who obtain leadership roles often propose taking on stretch assignments that can benefit them and their organizations, according to Allison Elias, an assistant professor of business administration at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. Also tell your manager what skill building or training activities your company could offer to help you be more effective.

Drop any defensiveness. Even if you don’t agree with a criticism your manager makes, remain calm and respectful. The American Management Association recommends asking a manager to expound on their assessment so you can be clear on the feedback. Put it back in their court by asking what you can do to better meet their expectations.

See pay increases as a win-win. Salary transparency laws mean more companies are putting salary information in their job listings, making it easier to see the going rate for your skill set. Yet Elias’s research has shown that women feel more comfortable advocating for others than for themselves. Consider focusing on how more responsibilities—and salary to match—can help you be a more successful team player and better serve the needs and challenges of the organization.

Get plenty of practice. Women are more likely than men to experience anxiety when touting their own abilities and negotiating, Elias has found. With a trusted friend or colleague, practice listing your accomplishments and explaining why you deserve that raise or promotion. Negotiation is a skill that can be mastered like anything else, Elias says.

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