Many companies conduct an annual review for each employee at year-end, while others do it at the hiring anniversary. If you have a review coming up soon, don’t wait until the day before to start planning. Start preparing now so you can sparkle when the day finally comes.

Pull Out Your Old Review
If you received a written assessment after your last review, pull it out now to review the items they said needed work. Make sure you’ve corrected those deficiencies. You should also check any goals they set for you, or you set for yourself. Have you accomplished them? If not, figure out why so you can explain at your review.

Write a Review Memo
Some employers ask their employees to write a review memo or do a self-review. Others simply poll supervisors and prepare the document themselves. Even if you aren’t required to write a review memo, do it anyway. As soon as your supervisor schedules the review, hand them your memo. It should highlight the following things:

Accomplishments. Did you save the company money? Bring in new business? Contribute to a team? Spearhead a project? Use as many hard numbers and facts as you can.

Goals. Did you meet or exceed any goals? Set new goals for yourself, but make them reasonable. This will hopefully guide your employer when they set annual goals. You should also set a challenge goal for yourself. Do you want to become a manager or team lead? Say so in your review and ask for guidance in achieving that goal.

Challenges. Were there any challenges that prevented you from meeting your goals? If they are personal challenges, detail how you will improve them. If you need additional staff or equipment, indicate that so they can include it in the budget.

Dress Professionally
Your review day is not the time to declare a personal casual day. You don’t have to wear a suit if you work in a casual office, but try to at least wear a slightly nicer shirt, jeans without holes, and real shoes (no flip-flops.)

Don’t Argue
If your boss indicates that you have a shortcoming, take it in stride and agree on a plan to improve it. Don’t pass blame, argue that it’s not your fault, or be combative. This should be a pleasant experience. If you don’t expect it to be pleasant, think about why that might be. Maybe it’s time to step up your game.

This year, your employee review could well be the thing that determines whether or not you’re included in lay-offs. Make sure you sparkle when the big day comes by starting to prepare for it now.

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