Get Your Self-Evaluation Right

November 25 2019 by Miguel Pone

Get your self-evaluation right with our comprehensive guide below

The dreaded self-evaluation. What is it and why do I have to do it?

I had my fair share of rough times when writing my first self-evaluation, but I assure you there’s nothing to worry about. Sit back, relax as I share with you all the dos and don’ts concerning self-evaluations.

But first of all, the most important question:

What’s a self-evaluation?

According to BusinessDictionary.com, it is all about “Looking at your professional progress, development, and learnings to determine what has improved and what areas still require improvement. This normally involves comparing a before situation with a current situation.”. This is a pretty good definition but let’s get deeper into it.

In a nutshell, a Self-Evaluation is a comprehensive list of accomplishments/experiences/struggles that played an important role in your career in a specific period of time (usually a year).

Self-evaluations are usually used in companies to gain multiple insights that wouldn’t be accessible any other way. No one knows better than you, what you did with your time and what challenges you had to overcome to get to where you are today.

A self-evaluation is an amazing tool both for the writer and the reader. It gives you a clear idea of where you are, where you’ve been and where you’re going.

Who’s going to read my self-evaluation?

One of the first things in your to-do list is asking ourselves a few important questions.

  • What is my self-evaluation going to be used for?
  • Who’s going to read it?
  • Will it be used by other people to write their own evaluations of me?
  • Will my boss use it to decide whether or not I’ve earned a raise/bonus?
  • How many details shall I include?
  • Is including numbers and analytics a good idea?

Once you’ve managed to answer these and other relevant questions to your evaluation, you’ll have a much clearer idea on how to proceed with your self-evaluation.

Gather your material

You’ll need to include a considerable amount of data and personal work experiences in your self-evaluation. This step can be completely avoided by keeping notes of personal experiences/achievements daily, rather than doing all the research in a couple of days. It will only take you a few minutes every day, but this simple operation allows you to build a solid and reliable source ready to be used when needed.

“But what about my struggles and my mistakes? Am I supposed to include them as well?”

Absolutely.

Mistakes and other kinds of problems you might have stumbled upon during your career are no less important than your achievements. And remember, there are no mistakes in a self-evaluation, only improvement opportunities.

Time to put it in black and white

Now that you have all the material you need and you know exactly who your target reader is, it’s time to write your Self-Evaluation.

Start by listing your best achievements but remember to be brief. Don’t make your evaluation too long, select the most relevant information and stick to that. As we said before, always keep in mind who’s going to read your evaluation and try to align it with their point of view/goals. List the struggles and challenges you had to overcome but stay positive while you’re at it. You’re not just listing your challenges, you’re expressing your will to overcome them.

Let’s take a look at the following example:

“I had trouble meeting all the deadlines.”

Can easily be turned into:

“In order to meet every deadline, I started to prioritize more urgent tasks in my schedule.”

In the second version, the reader will be able to see that you’re aware of the issues you run into during the year and that you’re taking actions to proactively solve them.

Always remember that YOU are the one and only protagonist of your evaluation. You’re describing YOUR achievements and struggles and YOUR will to improve, this is not the right place to play the blame game. Take full responsibility for your actions and demonstrate to your reader how mature and professional you are.

A self-evaluation is also a really good opportunity to ask for career developments. By expressing your will to improve and by giving suggestions on how to make things better you’re proving to your employer that you’re ready for the next step in your career.

If possible, always include numbers and analytics. These kinds of details will make your evaluation much more credible and quantifiable.

“My sales increased significantly this year”

Is nowhere near as effective as saying:

“My sales increased by 24% this year”

It’s always a good idea to include “proofs” to back your numbers, such as screenshots, graphs and so on.

What about the tone?

Be proud, honest and critical. Make it clear that you strive for growth and that you have a direction. And most importantly, be professional. Don’t criticize others and give every matter it’s due attention.

Extra tips

Now you should be able to make your own self-evaluation more efficiently. Just in case you want to know more, here are a few useful tips to take your evaluation over the top:

  • Include positive feedback you received from others while performing your duties. Emails and reports are prime material.
  • Don’t just do a bullet point. Write your evaluation down, it will show the reader that you actually care about it.
  • List things by importance and list only the main experiences/episodes/data.
  • Check your final text for typos (of course).
  • Have some else proofread your evaluation. Colleagues, friends, and relatives can give you constructive opinions on how to improve your evaluation.

Now you know everything there is to know about self-evaluations. There’s no need to be so scared, is there? Now go and impress your employer with an amazing self-evaluation!

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