IT Career JumpStart

Dec 29 2008   5:02PM GMT

Gearing Up for Annual Reviews

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

While not all companies’ review cycles follow the calendar closely, there’s something about saying goodbye to an old year, while getting ready for a new one that leads people to think about where they’ve been and what they’ve done on the job, as well as where they’re going (or would like to go) and what kinds of work lies ahead (or they would like to see in their futures). Whether sooner or later, if you work for a company of any size, there’s probably an annual review on your calendar some time in 2009. Here are some tips to help you get ready for that often angst-inducing periodic ritual:

1. Think carefully about your last review, then answer these questions.

  • How does your recent performance compare to the period before that encounter?
  • What kinds of objectives were set for the current review cycle? How have you done in meeting or exceeding them?
  • What about stretch objectives? Have you made any progress there?
  • What kinds of learning experiences, problem-solving adventures, or professional development have you been through since your last review that may not fit into your goals or objectives? How can you speak to these in your next review?
  • What about remedial goals or objectives? If you were given areas or tasks in need of improvement, how can you demonstrate progress or more positive results, attitudes, and so forth?

2. Think about your company’s or organization’s review process, then answer these questions:

  • Have you received any accolades or recognition from your manager or others within your company or organization since that last review?
  • Any significant accomplishments or completions to report?
  • What have you done to add, enhance, or create value for your employer?

The best way to get a positive review is to prepare for that encounter as often and as obviously as you can in the review cycle interval that precedes it. Particularly when you have areas in need of improvement or remediation, you should speak regularly with your manager about such things on your own initiative, if your manager doesn’t do so with you. Even if you don’t have problems in need of fixing, or areas where improvement is required or desirable, regular contact and conversation about review related goals, objectives, progress and accomplish is a really smart way to gear up. You should also document such encounters via e-mail, and save them in a folder, so when your review comes you can print them out and bring them with you to the review situation. It’s also a good idea to document any kinds of recognition you get for your work, and to follow up with emails on those as well (same reason: creates a compact, portable record you can use during the review process to add substance to your side of the story).

In general, preparation will really help you get more comfortable with the review process. It will also give you a better sense of how you’re doing on the job, and help you identify areas where improvement will help you and those you work with. Also, if you can show substantial signs of development, progress, and a growing skills and knowledge base, if only to yourself, you’ll have a much better indicator of when it’s time to think about moving on when you fail to get the recognition or raises you deserve.


PS: Having exceeded my monthly blog quota with this item (the thirteenth for December) I’m going on hiatus until after New Year’s. Happy holidays to all, and my best wishes for a safe and prosperous 2009.

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