Seven Tips for Writing a Great Self Review

Why incorporating a Self-Evaluation is a Smart Move

Your company or supervisor may want you to do a self-evaluation for a number of reasons. Most often, self-evaluations:

  • Encourage employee involvement in the process
  •  Create time and space for the employee to objectively assess their own performance 
  • Provide an opportunity for managers to determine how realistically the employee evaluates their own performance
  • Establish an opportunity to discuss career planning


What if There’s No Form?

I’ve been asked what to do if your company doesn’t provide a form for employees to follow. First, I’d recommend that each company establish a form or a standardized series of questions.  But just in case your manager doesn’t offer you a form, consider these questions from The Balance or from the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM).


Self-Evaluations often include discussions of:

  • Your Job’s Components (Is the job description still accurate? New goals, responsibilities, added difficulties, new levels of decision-making, or management).  What do you like about your job? What would you like to change or eliminate?
  • Your Accomplishments (What did you accomplish? What goals didn’t you meet? Why? What would help you meet those goals?  What major projects have you been part of? What work is outside the scope of your job description?)
  • Your Goals  What would you like to accomplish this year? How can your supervisor help? What additional help do you need?
  • Professional Development What are your career goals in the three years? What support do you need to accomplish those?


Here are Six Tips for Writing Your Self-Evaluation

  • Take Your Time. This is not a document you should rush. Remember, it’s a document that will live in your HR file for the duration of your tenure at your firm and could influence future promotions opportunities.
  • Provide supporting documentation or evidence. Using SMART objectives isn’t just for establishing goals.  Be sure to apply these same practices when evaluating your own performance.
    • Be SPECIFIC (HOW did you help increase company revenue?),
    • Be MEASUREABLE (HOW MUCH did you help to increase company revenue?)
    • Were the goals ATTAINABLE? (Were your “Stretch goals” too “Stretched?” or too unattainable?)
    • Include RELEVANT supporting data to help document your statements.
    • Be TIME-BOUND: Let the past be in the past. Focus only on current year’s performance discussion. (Remember the old song, “What have you done for me lately?”)
  • Don’t forget to brag a little! All too often employees sell themselves short, feeling like it “looks bad to be braggy.” There’s a difference between being obnoxiously braggy and stating all the things you accomplished this year. 
  • Consider asking for outside input. If there’s someone who has seen your performance this year – a colleague or mentor who you trust – ask them to share their observations about what you’ve done this last year. You’d be amazed at what other people notice!
  • Don’t assume. Along these lines of listing all the things you accomplished, don’t assume your supervisor will remember that great project you did last February. List everything! 
  • Put your best foot forward. This isn’t the time to forget spell-check or grammar check. If writing is not your strength, be sure to have someone proofread your work.


Bonus Tip: Make the pledge now to start documenting, even if it’s in your own files, what you accomplished this week and month, in preparation for next year’s performance review!


Want to learn more about navigating the Performance Review process more effectively? Check out our books (Amazon) and courses.


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