Your performance review can have a major impact on your career — either positive or negative.
A good review can improve your job security and may even score you a promotion, while a bad review may mean you'll have to wait an entire year to make another case for a raise.
How can you prepare for your next review to make sure it's a good one?
Give Yourself an Honest Evaluation
Before you head into your review meeting, you need to honestly look back at your previous year's work. What successes did you have, and what challenges did you overcome?
On the flip side, what problems did you have? Where are the areas in which you need to improve?
By having a clear, honest idea of how you've done over the past year, you can anticipate some of the comments and concerns your boss will have. You'll also be prepared to remind your boss about some of your wins.
Create a List of Development Opportunities
Now that you've done your self-assessment, you should have a good idea of where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
Prepare a list of areas in which you struggled or didn't perform as well, along with steps you've already taken to address the issues.
With this list in hand, you can proactively ask your boss for coaching, training, or other support you need in order to improve your performance and be successful.
Your list can also include training, skills, and experience you'd like to develop in order to meet longer-term career goals.
Do a little research on what sorts of training and education your company offers, and bring this information with you to your meeting. By being proactive about your weaker areas, you show your boss that you're serious about improving.
Set Goals for the Meeting and the Coming Year
While your boss is in charge of the evaluation and sets its course, you should have an opportunity to bring up other topics of concern to you.
Make a list of everything you want to cover during the meeting, and bring up any topics your boss doesn't mention during the review.
You should also arrive prepared with a list of goals you'd like to achieve in your job in the coming year.
These goals can be based on your job description, department needs, or your company's overall goals, and should take your current skills and experience into consideration.
Whether you are good at leading your respective department, promoting the company through social media and article writing or contributing to and/or being the voice of reason at company meetings, do your best to stand out in the crowd.
Keep an Open Mind
If you're expecting to hear criticism, or are angling for a raise or promotion, you may enter the review process with a defensive attitude. This makes it harder to focus on what your boss is saying, and the goals and action plan he or she has created for you.
By entering the meeting with an open mind, you'll be better able to listen and respond.
You'll also show your boss that you can remain professional, even in the face of criticism, which can make him or her more willing to listen to the case you've prepared.
Freelance blogger Angie Mansfield covers a variety of subjects for small business owners. From business growth to marketing to how to make a budget, her work will give you tips to keep your business running smoothly.