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Fast Five – Art of the Annual Review

December 8, 2020

Annual Reviews are one of the most important, and best opportunities, for a professional to make progress in her / his career. Taking ownership in this process by taking time to reflect, evaluate, and critique your own performance positions you to be a proactive participant in the review and gives you the best opportunity to shape your upcoming year and keep yourself on the career track you want to be on. It’s also when you go to bat for yourself for important things such as your pay, time off, benefits, and whatever else is important to you. Here are five areas to keep in mind and focus on to best prepare yourself.

1. Look where you started – go back to your original job description and any iteration of that job description you signed off on over past reviews. Read it / them, think about it, think about what you were doing when you started with this company, what you’re doing now, and how you got there.

2. Are you on the track you want to be on? This is a really important question. If you are, great. If not, ask yourself if you can head in that direction immediately or soon.

3. Know what you want to do this year – having your own idea of what you want to focus your efforts on is key. You can stay in the same job and make minor adjustments of what you want to focus on to give yourself a feeling of freshness and entrepreneurism that can make you feel lit. Formalize this beyond the thoughts in your head. Use your job description as a basis and tweak it to suit what you want for yourself. Having this written down in a shareable format is key. It shows whoever is reviewing you that you’re focused and you know what you want. It’s also a great opportunity for all involved to discuss whether or not it works for the position and if it supports the company’s goals for what it wants out of your position. Remember, this is not just about you.

4. Get formal. Using all of the documentation you have, and also being very concise and to the point, prepare a document that anyone can pick up to read and understand the following:

A. This is where I started (for you it might be your original job description)

B. This is where I am now (the responsibilities you've added since starting)

C. This is what I plan to do this year.

5. If you want it, ask for it. Whatever it is you want, now is the time to ask for it. Increase in your base pay? More Paid-Time-Off? A new job title? Better benefits? Whatever it is, if you don’t ask for it then whatever you get is going to be given to you and that probably won’t be as true to you as your own list. Everything you’ve done in #1 – #4 should support what you’re asking for here in #5.

If you’re reasonable, pragmatic, focused, and believe what you’re asking for is of equal value to the company then you are standing on a strong foundation. You might not get exactly what you’re asking for but if you have support from the other side, you’ll most likely get some of it and get on the right track to one day get all of it.

It’s also important to come from your professional place and not one of personal need. Leave that out and stay focused on how and why you are valuable to the company.

If you get none of what you want, well, time to search for jobs and network on Malakye.