How to Write a Self-Evaluation When You Don't Like Selling Yourself

As 2017 comes to a close, you are bound to receive the inevitable “please submit your annual self-evaluation” email from your boss or human resources. It is your one chance before your annual review to promote all of the hard work you’ve been doing all year. How do you know what to include? What not to include? What if you don’t like “selling” yourself? This week’s post will walk you through my three step process to writing a self-evaluation with ease!

Before you get started writing your self-review, you should have your job description readily available. If you are eligible for a bonus tied to key business goals or if you were required to set specific business goals for the year, be sure to have those available as well.

Step 1: Create a list of accomplishments

Start by making a mega list of all of your accomplishments this year. If you’re having a hard time remembering what you did way back in January 2016, a good tool to use to spark your memory is your calendar. Go through month by month to remind yourself of key meetings, deadlines and projects. Don’t be concerned with whether or not all of these accomplishments will be included. Make sure you capture EVERYTHING at this step.

PS. Here’s a tip for 2018: start your list of accomplishments in January. Put a reminder on your calendar to update it monthly. It’ll make this process a lot easier and faster next time around.

Step 2:  Match your accomplishments up with your list of expectations

What are the natural buckets of what is expected of you? When I managed others, I typically had four different buckets to put match my accomplishments up with: how I managed key business initiatives, how I managed my team to meet key business initiatives, how I managed “special projects” and how I invested in my own growth and development. Again, without being too concerned about the final product, put each accomplishment you listed in step one into your specific categories.

Step 3: Organize and wordsmith your review by how much, what and how you did

Within each bucket of expectations, re-organize your accomplishments in this order:

1. How Much: what are the measurable accomplishments you had this year? If you were expected to deliver a cost savings of 5%, how much of that savings did you deliver? Can you also articulate that in a dollar amount? Even if you weren’t given a quantitative expectation, think about how you can articulate your accomplishment numerically.

2. What: what are your tangible accomplishments for this year? This would be things like a project you completed, lead or managed, a process you implemented or other deliverables. This is also the place to highlight your leadership skills. What did you get done that you weren’t asked to do? Where did you go above and beyond?

3. How: how did you go about accomplishing these things? Were you a team-player, a leader and positive? Or were you difficult, lazy and late? You’re going to know if your company cares about how you went about getting your work done. If this isn’t important, then you can skip this step. This is a good place to include positive feedback you received throughout the year from customers, team members, other employees and vendors. Here’s another tip for 2017: keep an email folder or word document to capture the positive feedback throughout the year. Again, this will make this part easier and faster next year.

Here’s a few more things to consider:

  • Remind your boss of what they may have forgotten or overlooked! When I managed others, I used my employee's self-evaluation as a way to gauge how they viewed their performance versus my view on their performance. What this means for you: this is your chance to highlight, and then underscore, and then triple underline, your accomplishments for the year. 

  • Think like the CEO when you write this. Keep your accomplishments as close to the “bottom line” as possible. Too often I would have employees include things in their accomplishments that weren’t a strong enough tie back to the bottom line. This also distracts from the more meaningful accomplishments.

  • Have an unbiased person read your self-evaluation. It should be written so simply and clearly that even someone who doesn’t know the ins and outs of what you do can understand it. This helps to make sure that your manager is understanding it in the way that you intended it.

  • Ladies. If you know darn well you were the reason why something got done at work, make sure the bullet highlighting your accomplishment reflects that. Too often I see women write "Worked on the Sales project" instead of "Lead the Sales project which resulted in an increase of $xx in sales". Don't be shy. Don't be afraid of coming off as boss. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, don't be afraid to say what you did. You deserve the recognition for your hard work. 

Hey, speaking of an unbiased person, if you have a self-evaluation due in the next few weeks, I’d love to look it over for you. Fill out the form below and we’ll work together to craft a self-evaluation like your boss has never seen before!

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