It’s that time of year again — time for your dreaded annual performance review.
Sure, this kind of session can be awkward — it always feels weird to be judged—and you probably aren’t looking forward to writing your self-evaluation, but this can be a great opportunity to leverage yourself for a pay raise or a promotion.
So rather than view your review as an unnecessary evil, think of it as the open door to a bump in your paycheck and position.
This guide will help you make the most of it in four simple steps.
Step One: Do Your Prep Work
Everyone suffers from a little bit of performance review-related anxiety, but you can come off as more confident if you walk into your boss’s office totally prepared.
Don’t wait until the day before your review to start thinking about the conversation. You’ve had plenty of notice that your annual review is coming up, and if you really want that raise or promotion, you should take stock of yourself now.
For example, don’t only tell your boss you’ve been successful or productive. Instead, cite specific examples of how you’ve been successful and productive.
What were your top five achievements in the last year? How did they add value to the company? What skills have you developed that make you essential to the business’s ability to thrive?
Remember, you’re not the only employee your boss has to manage. Don’t assume your boss necessarily knows — or remembers — your successes.
You can also show your boss that you’re interested and engaged by coming up with targeted goals for the future. If you show initiative and express that you’re willing to accept new responsibilities, you’ll be more likely to win that bonus.
Remember that old saying: “If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.” Do your homework.
Step Two: Be Assertive
There’s a difference between being assertive and being aggressive, and this applies to your work environment too. Sometimes you can get what you want if you simply ask for it.
Don’t be shy. Chances are, if you don’t express your desire for a raise or a promotion, one of your co-workers will — and your company probably won’t hand out salary increases like candy.
How exactly do you ask for a raise or promotion?
As the saying goes, “timing is everything.”
Take matters into your own hands, and carefully plan the timing of the conversation. For example, some companies make decisions about raises and promotions well in advance of the annual review. If your organization is one of them, set up a meeting with your boss before Judgment Day — then use your performance review to prove that you deserve the reward.
As Stevie Wonder said, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
Step Three: Follow Through
So you set up that meeting with your boss, you did all your prep work and you finally got through your review — with aplomb.
Congrats on a job well done!
Maybe you scored the new management position of your dreams or a big 10% increase. But if you didn’t, take solace in the fact that no plan is foolproof.
Don’t be discouraged! It is possible that no one received a promotion or increase this year — your company may even be making budget cuts. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure, and it doesn’t mean you haven’t successfully convinced your boss that you deserve an increase in pay or responsibility.
And if you did get some negative feedback, don’t worry — it happens to the best of us. Instead of becoming defensive, use this as an opportunity to improve your performance. After all, there’s always next year — and you may not have to wait that long. Many companies grant salary increases and promotions outside of the annual review period.
Hold your head high and, whatever the tone of the feedback, thank your boss for the constructive criticism.
Step Four: Honor Your Commitment
So let’s say you did woo your boss into giving you that raise or promotion. Good job!
Now make sure you don’t lose it.
It can be challenging to move into a management role or take on extra responsibilities at work — but you asked for it, and now you need to prove to your boss that you can handle it.
If you’re in a new supervisory position, establish your authority quickly. You don’t want your underlings to think you’re a pushover.
At the same time, don’t get a big head with your newfound power. Treat your employees with respect, and they’ll respect you — and be more productive — in turn.
Once you’ve shown your manager that you can manage others, you’ll be on your way to climbing the corporate ladder quickly.
If you need advice because you feel uncertain at first, don’t be afraid to ask. Remember, your boss started out at the bottom, too.
The Next Step
Don’t be scared — you’ve got this under control. You’re capable of success, and now is the time to start putting your plans into action. Don’t passively “try” to gain that raise or promotion. Just go for it. After all, as Yoda famously said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
Looking for more strategies to help you get that raise or promotion? Download your FREE eBook ” Getting What You Want At Work: Raises, Promotions, and Going For Your Goals “