Throughout your employment with your company, you will need to know how to write a self-evaluation to bring to your performance reviews with your boss. This usually happens annually—you and your manager will discuss your performance and will reflect critically on your contributions to your position and the company.

How to Write a Self-Evaluation that Highlights Your Strengths

If you want your successes to be recognized appropriately and you want to be seen with positivity moving forward in your career, then a strong self-evaluation is crucial. You need to celebrate your accomplishments and set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd. There is a fine line between gloating, bragging, and giving yourself too much credit, though, and humbly yet honestly expressing why you deserve credit where credit is due.

Here is your chance to speak openly and with pride about why you know you are a valued employee and why you should be given the opportunity for a promotion or a pay raise. Your boss wants to hear about your success, so don’t hold back!

How to Write a Self-Evaluation that Helps You Shine

Learning how to write a self-evaluation that is accurate and sincere has several benefits for you as an employee. Think about it as a tool that helps you climb the ladder to the job you are dreaming about eventually securing.

You Won’t Go In with Nothing to Say

Every (experienced, successful) manager knows that during an annual performance review, they should ask the employee what they did well and where they can improve. These are serious questions, though, and they can feel overwhelming if you haven’t given the ideas thought beforehand. Writing an honest, detailed self-evaluation brings your ideas to the forefront so that you aren’t blindsided when you go into your review meeting.

Showcase Your Value

During your annual review, you have the opportunity to list out the successes you brought to the company over the last year. For example, you can discuss the projects you spearheaded, the teams you successfully led, and the improvements you made to make the company operate more efficiently. This way, you can secure the fact that you are a member of the team that management should want to keep on and keep happy.

Identify Opportunities for Growth

No matter how smart, successful, or motivated someone is, there are opportunities for each employee to improve (even your boss… but you knew that already, right?). Just as with any situation, though, there is a way to flip a negative into a positive. First, identify the areas in which you could grow and strengthen your skills. Then, bring it to your boss’s attention and ask for the resources and help you need to get there. Let’s say you want to work on your team management and delegation skills. If there is a workshop you’d like to attend that focuses on development in this area, bring the information to your annual performance review and ask your boss if the spring or fall session would be a better time for you to spend the week at that particular conference.

Take the Pressure Off of Your Manager

One of your manager’s responsibilities is absolutely to oversee the group of employees and have an umbrella idea of what is going on in the entire company or office. However, they are only human and only one person. You’re much more likely to get recognition for your accomplishments if you can detail exactly what it was that you did for the company over the last year and how you were able to bring value to the team. Your manager might put most of their brainpower toward day-to-day activities and big picture goals; noticing everyone’s individual successes could quite possibly not be a strength for them. If this is the case, you detailing your positive attributes allows them to give you recognition without you falling through the cracks.

Making Sure that Your Self-Evaluation Does What It Should

Knowing how to write a self-evaluation is important and has the potential to set you up for further success in your job. However, there are specific areas in which you need to make sure that your assessment comes across the way you want it to.

Use Specific Examples

Anyone could go into their annual performance review meeting and say, “I’m a consistent, motivated, positive team member. People listen to me and I have a charismatic attitude. I bring value to the team.” Okay… but what does that really mean? Instead, use strong adjectives in conjunction with real examples. For instance, “I consistently arrive to work on time each day; I only took one sick day in the past year.” Or, “I am motivated to improve the company; I implemented successful changes in the company-wide email communication program as well as the schedule for communal cleaning in the employee breakroom.” If you want to bring attention to your positive energy, you could say, “My colleagues often come to me for advice and support when they are learning the ropes; many of them ask me what I would do in certain situations.”

If you are vague, it not only seems like you might be grasping at straws, but it also strips away the opportunity for your superior to recognize you for your accomplishments. The last thing you want is for your hard work to go unnoticed.

Metrics Are Your Friend

Data and hard numbers are powerful partners to the specific examples that you provide in your self-evaluation summary for your performance review. If you have converted more leads into customers than you did in previous years (or more than the other people in the office), you want that to be highlighted using specific numbers. Those hard numbers can be easily used to negotiate for a higher salary or better days/hours.

If your company asked you to set goals at the beginning of your employment, this is the time where you will show that you accomplished those goals. If they didn’t (or don’t as a practice), this is your opportunity to set goals for yourself and then bring the successes to the discussion. Even if the numeric or metric goals you set for yourself aren’t presented exactly that way during your review, you will be able to use the information to create a more accurate picture during your self-evaluation.

Don’t Ignore Your Weaknesses—Reframe Them

Managers don’t want to hear sugar-coated laundry lists of what you love about yourself. They want to hear what you’ve been doing well, yes; however, they also want to know what you can self-identify as opportunities for growth. Recognize the fact that you have places where you can improve and don’t shy away from them.

Keep a Running List of Your Successes

A year is a long time, and you shouldn’t expect yourself to remember every single thing you’ve done well over the past 12 months. As soon as your annual review is over, start again on a new list for your next self-evaluation. Note down the projects you work on and the ideas that come to fruition, as well as the places where you’ve tried and failed, as those will garner fodder for your conversations on improvement. Whether this note is on your word processing software, a notes app on your phone, or the classic pen and paper, choose the one where you’ll easily have access and enjoy keeping track of your yearly work.

Concentration Areas

Depending on the focus of your company or your particular department, your manager might ask you to detail certain areas in your self-evaluation. In each of these areas, try to choose a couple of strengths and an area for growth or improvement.

  • Communication
  • Collaboration or Teamwork
  • Achievement or Financial Success
  • Innovative Ideas or Creativity
  • Problem-Solving
  • Adaptability and Flexibility in the Face of Change

Writing a Self-Evaluation with the Right Mindset

Creating a strong self-evaluation is an opportunity to present yourself well to the management team, especially if you don’t work closely with them day in and day out. Remember that if you’re wanting to take advantage of an in-house promotion, ask for a raise, or choose more flexible hours, now is the time to let your achievements speak. Don’t hold back! Show your strengths and speak openly and honestly about the areas in which you want to continue developing. Take the lessons you learn from each annual review and self-evaluation writing to learn what you can begin working on for next year’s meeting, too.

The actual meeting with your boss might only take about 15−20 minutes out of one day, but that small chunk can mean big gains for your career. Make sure that you go in prepared to give a good impression from the beginning—since your manager has plenty of employees with whom they will be conducting these meetings, it’s a much more significant amount of time for them. This means that they value the process; you want to have a strong, clear, accurate self-evaluation that will make your manager remember you and your successes well after you leave their office.