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How to survive your personal review at work

The idea of heading into a formal meeting with your line manager might be filling you with dread. For some, the main difficulty comes from speaking about themselves. For others, the environment of a formal meeting causes them to dislike the process. Whatever your reason for seeking advice, you've come to the right place.

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Preparation

Remember this is an opportunity for you to talk about your achievements for the year. The more you put in, the more you'll get out. Take it as a positive even if you're new to the process. To make the most of the experience, prepare for it well. Think about your achievements over the last year. Was there anything you did extremely well? Did you excel at anything? What about your expectations? Did you reach or exceed them last year?

The Future

Part of your preparations should include thinking about the future. What do you want to achieve in the next year? How will you do this? What do you need to help achieve your goals? Keep remembering that this is your review. This is your opportunity to showcase what you can do. You need to be open-minded about the future too. Your line manager might have plans for you or the department. You need to be accommodating to them.

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Questions

Asking questions when you need clarification is the key to a successful evaluation of your work. You might need clarification of a certain point. You might need to know something that's not mentioned. Feel free to speak up but be aware that this is a formal review so keep everything civil. There's every chance that the review will include some home truths you'd rather not hear. Take those as positives. Anything your line manager doesn't like is something you can improve on.

Realistic

Don't make the mistake of agreeing to every action point your line manager suggests. You don't want to agree to things you can't manage. Be realistic about your goals and make sure your line manager is also realistic about their goals for you. You might need to meet your manager half-way on points you're not happy about. Anything that's a deal-breaker though, should be discussed thoroughly before agreeing to. Keep remembering that this is your review. It's not the manager's review, do make the most of it.

Know what you're worth

Are you a valued member of the team or a new starter? You need to know where you sit in the team and what your value is to the team before the meeting takes place. Are you looking for promotion or a pay-rise? Are you looking for an easy life? Either way, knowing your worth to the company puts you in a position of power. Managers know to keep their best performers happy. If you feel the need to remind your manager of your worth, the conversation's probably not going well. What we're suggesting here is a mindset that allows you to work through the evaluation process with a good idea of how you're seen by your manager.

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