Let’s face it: Self-appraisals are a pain in the ass. There’s a delicate balance between being self-aggrandizing and self-deprecating, and it’s hard tightrope to walk when you know it’s going to affect your boss’s impression of you as well as your salary. Here are a few guidelines to help you through the self-appraisal process without tearing your hair out.
1. Know how your boss is going to use your self-appraisal.
If your boss hates annual reviews as much as you do, she may just use your self-appraisal to help her write her own review of you for HR. In that case, make yours as easy for her to copy and paste as you can. If she’s using to help her write her own in terms of just getting your perspective, it can’t hurt to be honest.
2. Document your accomplishments, as well as any pitches that didn’t get picked up.
You may accomplish a ton of stuff, but you may also offer up some ideas that get rebuffed. If you’re consistently at least making an effort and can document such (like in emails to your boss offering up a gallery for their website that can up their pageviews with SEO wizardry, for example), it’ll look much better than you just not producing. You’ll have some proof that you’re at least trying.
3. use numbers.
When documenting your accomplishments in your self-appraisal form, use any numerical data that you can to honestly show your progress. Anyone can say, “I increased revenue,” but it takes someone dedicated to actually pay attention to the numbers they’ve upped. Looking up that information alone is a task that shows you find your work to be important and meaningful to the company.
4. Be careful with how you word your weaknesses.
Instead of my writing, “I suck at Photoshop,” say, “I’d like to improve my skills using new templates.”
5. Don’t throw anyone else under the bus.
If Harold isn’t doing his fair share, now isn’t the time to address it. You do that privately in a meeting with your manager as soon as it becomes a problem. If you wait until your self-appraisal to do it, you just look like you have a bone to pick with the dude, which isn’t good.
6. Let your boss know how you’d like to grow.
If you want to get more involved in presentations instead of busy work at your desk, say, “I really think I’d be great at delivering presentations in meetings since I’m experienced in public speaking. Is there a way I can incorporate that to ease your load during the week?”
7. Listen to Kanye West.
Seriously. Get your ego pumped before you go in.