How To Write Your Own Performance Review

Published: Nov 28, 2018
Modified: Dec 02, 2020

By AMA Staff

As human resources professionals search for novel ways to evaluate employee performance, employee self-reviews are becoming more and more commonplace.

Writing an honest and constructive performance review, is a skill many human resource professionals can learn from our variety of HR training seminars. Completing a self-assessment may sound easier than it really is, however. Knowing what to say and how to say it can make the difference between a meaningful review and one that fails to enhance your career.

How to write a performance review that will make a difference:

Discussing performance review can be difficult for managers as well. Take a look at some of our management and supervisory skills trainings to learn how to deliver positive feedback in tough conversations.
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Highlight the highlights.

Don't be shy about letting your boss know how you have shone during the review period. This is the place to boast with grace and diplomacy and, naturally, without putting any of your colleagues down. Don't worry about modesty here; this is your opportunity to toot your own horn—and loudly.

Don't forget about achievements made early on in the performance review period.

Your boss cannot possibly remember all of your projects and your participation. Go back over documents and e-mails to help you remember your earlier accomplishments.


Don't be stuffy.

One of the benefits of a writing a self-review is its tendency to lead to constructive dialogue between you and your supervisor. Try to write in a conversational style—one that is as natural as the verbal back-and-forth that will hopefully follow the completion of the self-review.

Solicit feedback from coworkers.

Consider asking your colleagues what they think of your performance. Be careful, of course, to avoid platitudes, overly critical comments, and any other remarks that could take away from, rather than enhance, your self-review.

Be objective.

It's awfully tempting to give yourself high marks across the board, but it's a little unlikely that you've done everything absolutely right. Instead of evaluating yourself based on how you would have liked to perform, quantify results as much as possible by using facts, figures, and specific dates. The more you can point to the tangible benefits you offer the company, the more invaluable you will appear. Ask yourself some specific questions:

What difference did my efforts make to the bottom line? What did I do to contribute to excellent customer service? Did my efforts make a dent toward furthering the company's goals? Did I take a leadership role when the opportunity arose?

Don't use the self-review as a bargaining chip.

This is the time to show, not tell. And it's certainly not the time to pick a fight about your compensation. Be clear about your accomplishments and save salary discussions for another time.

Use appropriate language.

Choose words that demonstrate some objectivity and distance. Yes, you're writing about yourself, but you can still stand back and offer a little perspective. For example, instead of mentioning your sparkling personality, comment on your ability to get along well with others. Rather than saying how much you like your job, include the ways that you have grown and improved during the review period.

Suggest specific improvements.

The self-review is a good opportunity to raise specific ways to improve your performance. Don't be afraid to come up with ideas to help you do your job more effectively. Making suggestions like this is not the same as holding something up as a weakness. Indeed, it is a mark of strength and professional maturity for employees to identify ways they can improve.

Include task-related action plans.

Again, you want to be as specific as possible, which will help you focus on your development.

Write more than one draft.

The self-review will become part of your permanent employment record. Make certain you are thorough and professional in your approach and language.

Master your writing even further by taking our 2-day Business Writing Class.  

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About The Author

American Management Association is a world leader in professional development, advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success. AMA’s approach to improving performance combines experiential learning—“learning through doing”—with opportunities for ongoing professional growth at every step of one’s career journey. AMA supports the goals of individuals and organizations through a complete range of products and services, including seminars, Webcasts and podcasts, conferences, corporate and government solutions, business books and research.