Walking the self-eval tightrope — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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When writing an end-of-year performance review self-evaluation, it’s not the time to be modest, nor is it a time to run for office, says executive coach Joan Lloyd.

“Your self-assessment is an opportunity to participate in your rating, your raise and your career development planning,” she says. “Your best bet is to be as objective and honest as possible.”

Lloyd’s tips for doing a self-evaluation:

•  Toot your horn but not any harder than you deserve. Some people see the self-evaluation as a chance to exaggerate their performance in order to drive up their overall score. But that could backfire if the boss feels the need to mention negative examples in order to bring balance back to the evaluation.

• On the flip side, don’t underrate yourself. You’ll set yourself up for less opportunity, Lloyd says. “Sometimes employees think that rating themselves lower will cause their boss to praise them more, ‘Oh, I don’t think you are average. I see you as way above average on this skill.’ You could come across as too timid.”

• Make specific, objective statements. Example: Instead of, “I helped increase sales,” write, “I helped increase sales 14.5% in the past two years.”

One admin reports that when listing her accomplishments, she writes in a “fairly dry” style with “no exclamation points or multiadverbs allowed.” Her goal: Provide the facts that support her self-evaluation.

•  Measure your performance against your goals, not against your peers’ work. Example: Rather than saying, “I work harder than the rest of the team,” you could point out that you outperformed a goal you set for yourself on last year’s evaluation.

If you missed a goal, simply state why you missed it, but be careful not to dodge responsibility. Identify the circumstances and any lessons learned for next year. If you need skill development, include that in the career development section.

• Ask for what you want. If you want more exposure to executives, say so. If you want more challenging work, ask for it. Being specific helps your manager help you. Exception to the rule: Avoid talking about a raise.

•  Limit your narrative to one or two paragraphs under each section. “Use enough to support your ratings,” Lloyd says, “but don’t go on and on for pages.”

Above all, remember that your self-assessment is a chance to take part in your own career development. Seize the opportunity!

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