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How to Prepare for Your Self-Review

9 min read

Reviews over time have become a huge part of our lives. Whether they are reviews about a movie you want to go to, a product you want to buy or even your performance reviews at work.

The reviews have become very important because we have come to realize that having these reviews  in place is actually helping people improve.

A movie review helps the filmmakers better films, a product review at an online store helps the sellers improve their product or service, and your performance review helps you improve your performance at work.

However, unlike the other two examples mentioned, a performance review is not a one-time task. These need to be conducted consistently at specific intervals to see some real changes and improvements in order for you to see some real changes and improvements. Reviews can happen on a monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or annual basis.

During these reviews, employees are often asked to write a self-review or the managers want to discuss the progress of the employee for the year and ask the employee to bring a few examples on paper.

What is a Self-Review?

Performance reviews are a formal assessment given by the managers where they identify the strengths and weaknesses of their employees. Self-reviews are basically the same kind of assessment that you do for yourself, where you review all the work you have done over the time and look into your strengths and weaknesses.

It is basically an opportunity to document all your past works and lay the path for your future goals as well. The key to a good self-review is one where you document all the achievements and shortcomings alike.

How do you get started with your self-review?

Writing a self-review and documenting all your achievements, failures and learnings can get a little intimidating. You might find yourself asking, what work did I even do all year long?

You need to understand what questions are to be answered in a self-review and before you know it, you already have everything documented.

Self-Review Questions

A lot of companies follow their own method and template of questions for you to answer while writing your self-review.

However, if that’s not the case, these questions are a great way to start:

  • What projects have you enjoyed working on the most, and why?
  • What were the projects you couldn’t complete on time?
  • What actions you have taken from the feedback you received?

Here’s an example Template

Employee Name: ______________________________ Date: __________

Job Title: _________________________ Location: ___________________

Supervisor’s Name: _____________________________________________

Performance Review Period: _____________________________________

Employee Instructions

Please complete and return this self-evaluation to your supervisor by [date].

Your thorough and timely participation in the appraisal process will help facilitate a fair and comprehensive review of your progress and accomplishments since the last performance review.

If you have been employed by the company less than a year, substitute references to “since the last performance appraisal/review” with “since you were hired” and answer the questions accordingly.

Question – List your most significant accomplishments or contributions since last year. How do these achievements align with the goals/objectives outlined in your last review?

Question -Since the last appraisal period, have you successfully performed any new tasks or additional duties outside the scope of your regular responsibilities? If so, please specify.

Question -What activities have you initiated, or actively participated in, to encourage camaraderie and teamwork within your group and/or office? What was the result?

Question -Describe your professional development activities since last year, such as offsite seminars/classes (specify if self-directed or required by your supervisor), onsite training, peer training, management coaching or mentoring, on-the-job experience, exposure to challenging projects, other—please describe.

Question -Describe areas you feel require improvement in terms of your professional capabilities. List the steps you plan to take and/or the resources you need to accomplish this.

Question -Identify two career goals for the coming year and indicate how you plan to accomplish them.

Question – Evaluate yourself on all factors that apply to you since your last performance appraisal, or date of hire if employed here less than one year. If a category does not apply to you, indicate N/A.

Rating Scale

4 – Outstanding/Role Model

3 – Very Competent

2 – Satisfactory

1 – Inexperienced or Improvement Needed

Technical Skills related to your specific job_________
Technical Knowledge (up-to-date on industry/discipline news, articles and best practices)_________
Quality of Work Product (comprehensive, accurate, timely, etc.)_________
Utilization or Productivity_________
Business Development_________
Project Management Skills_________
Technology Skills_________
Time Management & Organizational Skills_________
Interpersonal Skills (positive attitude; ability to get along well with co-workers/clients/vendors)_________
Communication Skills—Verbal/Written (proposals/reports, letters, e-mails, etc.)_________
Innovation or Creativity_________
Collaboration/Teamwork/ Mentoring Skills_________
Employee Policies (knowledgeable of and compliant with company policies and procedures)_________
Leadership Skills (applies to anyone—not restricted to supervisory level employees)_________
Professionalism (punctuality, attendance; conduct; responsiveness and follow through)_________


Question -Name any other management personnel, besides your current supervisor, that you feel should provide input toward your performance appraisal.

Thank you for taking the time to complete the Employee Self-Assessment.

Supervisors: Attach completed Self-Assessments to the Employee’s Performance Appraisal and return to HR.

Self-Review Tips

Having just the review questions may not be the complete solution you need.

You also need to figure out a way to answer them.

These few tips should help you with curating your answers for your self-review so that you can be more confident for your formal performance review.

Keep track of the accomplishments

While doing the self-review, you need to keep in mind all the goals that were set for you and how many of those goals were achieved on time.

These accomplishments help you in evaluating how well you have done and where you have lagged in terms of time or work.

Consider areas of weakness as learning opportunities

Nobody is perfect, we all have areas of weakness and improvement.

These weaknesses are inevitable, we all have our weak spots but when you look at the weaknesses as learning opportunities you will be able to improve for the better.

Be Specific

When you are trying to evaluate yourself and say that your customer acquisition OKR was met because you are a “People Person” will not cut it.

Being vague is not only going to confuse the rating but also does not paint a good picture of your performance.

You need to be as specific as possible so that all the factors can be considered while doing the review.

Be ready with the metrics and numbers

A lot of your contributions should create an impact that can be measured in numbers.

Having all the metrics and numbers makes it easy to do the review and helps in measuring the rating.


Taking the time and effort to write your self-review helps one understand their own strengths and weaknesses and drives them to set goals to improve themselves.

When management reviews the employees, they help them understand how their strengths and weaknesses will play a part in achieving the organizational goals.

Preparing for these reviews helps in getting on track much sooner while saving time for both the employees and the managers.

By following the tips mentioned above you can be more confident and precise while doing the reviews.

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    Meet the author

    Balaji Sogathur

    Trying to get my head out of the world of anime and manga and adding bit of that flavor in my work is not just fun but also satisfying. My ignition on the creative engine never goes off, maybe you’ll see a bit of that in my puns.


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