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How to Use Your Performance Review to Land a Raise

Whether you dread or gleefully anticipate your annual review, there's no doubt that it's important. Not only is it a quirky (and often misunderstood) ritual of modern office life, but it's also key to helping you land a raise.

Despite the potential to land a promotion, reviews can be nerve-racking. No one likes to hear criticism, however constructive it may be. Plus, there's all the paperwork and bureaucracy that goes along with your annual review.

Try to put that out of your mind. Instead, focus on the potential benefits and opportunities the practice represents for your paycheck and your career growth. Leverage your performance to get what you need. Here's how.

Conduct a self-assessment

Some companies mandate this step. If your company doesn't, self assess anyway. How? Evaluate your performance before your session with your boss using the following questions as a guide.

  1. How well are you meeting or exceeding the expectations outlined in your job description?
  2. What have you accomplished this year?
  3. Have you achieved any noteworthy successes, taken on responsibilities, or overcome special challenges?

If possible, attach numbers to your assessment. Has anything quantitatively grown thanks to your hard work? Record it. If it's difficult to measure, try to create your own  numeric scoring metric to illustrate your contributions.

Make a case

As you evaluate yourself, be honest. You're selling a product (yourself), and you won't close the deal by letting your weaknesses shine as brightly as your strengths. Take credit where credit is due, and don't expect your boss to know everything that you have accomplished. Use this to justify your desired upward movement in the company. Prepare a list of challenges and new responsibilities you want to tackle in the future. Show initiative, and impress your employer. Even if you don't get the promotion you wanted, your efforts won't go unnoticed.

Welcome positive and negative feedback

Your boss likely has many annual reviews to conduct. Don't miss out on the opportunity to make the most of this meeting. After your self-assessment, craft a list of goals for the coming year. Make sure these goals are specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time related (use the acronym SMART to remember this). During your annual review, ask for real criticism and honest advice. Be fearless, attentive, and genuinely grateful when you receive it. Upon taking in everything, go over the list of goals you made with your boss and see if the two of you can make adjustments together. If you truly want to excel at your job and rise to the next level of responsibility, meaningful feedback is your bread and butter.

When to ask for a raise or promotion

Some companies plan raises and promotions months before an annual review is executed. Educate yourself on the practices conducted in your workplace.  If your annual review is specifically designed to discuss potential raises and promotions, go for it. Come prepared to the review session (bring your salary research, self assessment, goals, and other relevant data) and launch your request on the spot. If your company plans raises and promotions months before a review, take notes during your review and use them as leverage when the time comes.

For more tips, check out "How to Ask for a Raise: 4 Tips to Help You Nail It!"

—Shine a spotlight on your hard work and accomplishments, and then cash them in for the promotion or raise (or both) that you've rightfully earned. For more on how to make this happen, explore our new e-book (link) and visit MyPerfectResume.

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