Your annual salary increase or job promotion might depend on more than whether you met your sales goals or earned the highest rating on your annual performance review. Proving that your work is valuable to the organization and the higher-ups might depend on how clear and convincing a manner you articulate your accomplishments. In other words, it might not be what you accomplished in the past year, but how well you tell the story.
Review Your Job Description
Sure, you know what your job entails but before you begin writing the self-assessment portion of your annual performance review, start by reviewing your formal job description. This ensures that your self-assessment is comprehensive and that it addresses every job function and task you have been assigned. If you don't have a written job description, create a list of all your tasks and responsibilities as you carry them out over several days. This will become your job description for purposes of writing a complete self-assessment. In addition, note goals or objectives that you or your supervisor deem are important to your job.
This Time Last Year
It's helpful to compare this year's accomplishments to the goals that you and your supervisor discussed during your previous review, so review your previous performance evaluation. For each goal, jot down whether you achieved that goal, when and how. For example, if your supervisor's expectation was that you increase your sales by 20 percent, note the date on which you met that 20-percent goal. Also, briefly note the strategy you used to increase your sales, and how your strategy resulted in the increase. "Sales increased by 20 percent by mid-June; researched news about competitor relocating out-of-state and developed a survey of clients who preferred local provider; gained additional 14 clients." You needn't write a detailed explanation now – you'll do that when you draft the self-assessment part of your review.
Don't Ignore Your Shortcomings
If there are areas where you didn't meet your goals or job functions where you could improve, don't ignore them. Your supervisor won't necessarily overlook deficiencies just because you're a high performer in other areas. Describe the areas where you need improvement and whether you have explored ways to improve your performance in those areas. For example, if you're not an Excel whiz, but it's a critical application for your job, indicate what you are doing to improve in this area – preferably something that won't be a company expense, such as completing an online course on your own time.
Routine Job Requirements Are Not Accomplishments
Getting to work on time and being at work when you're scheduled is terrific, but it's not an accomplishment because employees are expected to be on time and present every day. Routine expectations such as attendance and maintaining collaborative working relationships with your colleagues and supervisors are not worth bragging about. Those are the things you're supposed to do, not things for which you receive a reward, a raise or a promotion. Your supervisor may appreciate your diligence and collegiate attitude about work and will likely consider them very important factors in your overall performance, but they needn't be part of your self-assessment. Instead, list your achievements during the review period over and above your goals.
Finalize Your Accomplishments List
Gather your notes and draft a chronological list of your accomplishments. Review your notes about each goal you reached during the past year, and flesh out the details for each goal. For each accomplishment, state the goal, and indicate the time frame or date you reached the goal. Be objective and specific, as well as highlighting quantifiable results. Provide details about how you accomplished the goal and explain your steps in a succinct manner. Describe obstacles you encountered and how you resolved them since problem-solving is a skill valued by employers.
Summarize each accomplishment and describe the impact it has on the organization, such as contributions to the bottom- line through achieving or exceeding your sales quota. Aside from reaching your already established goals, describe accomplishments that you initiated such as tasks that you took upon yourself to improve your performance and that proves you're a valuable contributor to the organization. Ensure the work you initiated is relevant to both the company and your own success.
Employee Accomplishments Examples
When you have completed your list, your accomplishments and achievements may look like this:
Goal: Increase sales by 20 percent within the calendar year, by December 31.
Action Taken: Upon learning that our competitor was relocating out-of-state, I gathered all the information I could about the competitor's client base and how it attracts clients. I discovered that the majority of its clients were loyal to the company because it was founded in this city and state. With that information, I compiled a list of all potential clients in our market, eliminated the clients that we currently serve and created a potential client list from the remaining names. Once the competitor closed its local store, I reached out to clients who were no longer being served by the competitor. By September 15, out of 30 potential clients, I was able to gain 14 additional clients, 10 of whom immediately placed orders, which resulted in a 26-percent increase from my previous year's sales.
Challenges: The only challenge I encountered was the timing of my outreach. I wanted to be respectful of the client relationships that our competitor had, without seeming like we were poaching their clients. Therefore, I waited until the competitor had finalized its out-of-state move. In doing so, I learned that my approach was well-appreciated by the new clients and well-timed.
- Keep a journal or weekly calendar so you can list your accomplishments throughout the year as they happen. This will help you remember them when it is time for your annual review.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In addition, she is a certified facilitator for the Center for Creative Leadership Benchmarks 360 Assessment Suite, and is a Logical Operations Modern Classroom Certified Trainer . Ruth resides in North Carolina and works from her office in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.