You’re Awesome. Now Write a Great Self-Appraisal.

Done a self-appraisal lately? Did you have to dig in your mental archives to list your accomplishments and projects? I know I did. Need some tips for writing a good self-appraisal?

This manager was so lucky.

I recently had the opportunity to help a customer, a former Marine, with his self-appraisal. He’d provided a list of his personal and work accomplishments on his self-appraisal for his manager to see. It was incredible!

Imagine how easy the appraisal was going to be for the manager (thanks to the employee’s list.)

Tips for Great Self-Appraisals:

  1. Document your accomplishments frequently and often throughout the year. You won’t have to dig in the mental archives at the time of the self-appraisal. They’ll be right there.
  2. Brag a little, with a dose a humility. How do you walk that tightrope? Just be honest about the role you played, large or small. When others were involved, share the credit.
  3. No beat-downs. You tried something and it didn’t work. How did you revise it?  Do not focus on the failure in your self-evaluation. Focus on what you learned and what you are trying now. That’s what managers want to see.  You haven’t revised your methods and it’s still a failure? Maybe something else took precedence so you haven’t come back to it. Explain it.  Stuck and need help?  Ask!  And, if you haven’t fixed it because you were just lazy? Well, take the criticism like a grown up and beg for a mulligan.
  4. Connect your actions with things your manager needs to be successful. For example, if your manager needs to hit a certain number, share how you played a role in hitting the number. While it might be nice that you learned to sew parkas for chipmunks, skip listing that accomplishment unless your manager has been tasked with manufacturing chipmunk parkas from corporate. Accomplishments you list should connect with business objectives.
  5. Keep stories short-n-sweet.  You’re going to write down lots of things, right?  Bullet point them, like this.
  • Helped bring back Customer XYZ from the grave. Now, they are a reference.
  • Key player in redesign of sticky internal process ABC.  Great learning experience.
  • Navigated complicated politics of the DEF sale.  There were delays, but it worked in the end.

A good Self-Appraisal is very, very important. It will help guide the conversation during your Appraisal meeting in the way you want it to go, and in the way your manager wants it to go.

Image Credit: Jonathan Leung