Apr 082011

(By Dan Simmons)

It’s that time again.  New Year’s Resolutions have been made and by now, have either been kept or broken.  One of those resolutions should have been to make sure you took the time to focus on what you wanted out of your career this year.

Having a plan of attack for your career not only prepares you for the upcoming months, but also allows you to walk in confidently for your annual performance review.  While many dread this yearly event, there are simple steps you can take to make sure you’re prepared to answer the questions that need answering.

The first step: read last year’s review.  Not only does it give you an idea of where you were a year ago, but it also allows you to do a pre-review of yourself based upon the outlined plans made by your boss.  Make certain you’ve achieved your goals and implemented changes and adjustments as directed.

After you’ve done that, here are your next steps:

  1. Make Your List
    Create a list of accomplishments that you’ve achieved during the last 12 months.  Make sure to bring this list to the meeting so you can be prepared for a clearly organized and straightforward discussion.
  2. Attitude
    Walk in with a positive attitude.  No one likes to give a raise to an unenthusiastic employee.
  3. Compensation
    Expect a compensatory increase if you’ve earned it.  If your employer can’t afford one, come in with a list of suggestions they could offer in place of a salary increase.  These might include flextime, an extra few days of vacation, a training opportunity (either online or a conference out of town), or you may also suggest another review in six months when budgets open up.
  4. The Review
    MOST IMPORTANTLY—take a copy of your new review with you.  This is an excellent letter of recommendation, and you may need it someday soon when a great job opportunity comes along.  It’s also a great way to keep you on track to accomplish your objectives.

Wherever you’re at in your current job, make time and take time to focus on how you can prepare for these upcoming events in the life of your career.  Being prepared for your next performance review is a simple step which will make the event more enjoyable.

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