January 16, 2018

Your Tuesday Top 5: How to Write a Self-Review

Posted by AGU Career Center

Every Tuesday, Patricia Yaya, AGU Vice President of Human Resources & Administrative Services, sends a message to the entire AGU staff featuring five short tips for getting by in the workplace.  On the Job publishes these tips in our weekly segment, Tuesday Top 5.

Have you ever had an annual review or similar assessment? Most annual reviews have a self-assessment component. With the right perspective, a self-review can be a productive tool for advancing your career. An honest assessment can lead to self improvement. It includes looking at one’s strengths and weaknesses.

Use self-reviews to highlight your successes and to demonstrate lessons learned from your shortcomings. A self-review is your opportunity to frame the discussion from your perspective. It’s your chance to remind your supervisor (or yourself) of your accomplishments, challenges, and development. It all starts with you stepping back, reflecting, and being honest.

Here are your Tuesday Top 5 tips for how to write a self-review:

  1. Review the goals you set out to achieve at the beginning of the year. Review and comment on each goal for the performance period. Highlight your performance, emphasizing the impact each accomplishment had on the organization, the members and/or the staff. Be objective and consider asking your coworkers for feedback. Note to what degree you achieved your goals and provide examples. Be candid about challenges. Describe how you overcame them, and note the steps that you will take in the future to better plan to avoid them.

Hint: For easier recollection in the future, consider keeping a performance journal you throughout the year.

  1. Self-praise with examples. Adjectives like “great” and “good” are subjective. Support them by giving examples. You have a story to tell, a full year of tasks and projects. Without embellishing or being too critical, refer to examples where you knocked it out of the park as well as those where you fell short. Describe what steps you took to make it work, how you adapted, and what you would do differently next time.
  1. Own your weaknesses.  Identify and own your weaknesses. While you own them, be sure not to harp on them. Use this opportunity to reflect on what happened and how you can (or already have) improved on it. Acknowledging areas for growth and further development will lead to more productive discussions with your supervisor.
  1. Keep the focus on you. Avoid writing about others. This is about you, not them. Avoid defensive language, and do not criticize others. The self-assessment is about your performance. If you have an issue with a coworker, discuss it with your supervisor separately. Use your self-review to share what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve learned, and how your work helped the organization meet its goals.
  1. Set a tone for moving forward.  Don’t be afraid to offer suggestions on how to make your job more effective; this demonstrates a genuine interest in your role and is a mark of strength. Think on what tools would help you better meet the requirements for your job. Consider what development opportunities would benefit you to grow professionally and to be the best employee you can be.

Patricia Yaya is the Vice President of Human Resources and Administrative Services at the American Geophysical Union.  Additional AGU Staff contributed to this blog.