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How to Write a Self-Evaluation in 6 Easy Steps

Parvathi Vijayamohan

19 October 2021

5 min read

So, you’ve been asked to write a self-evaluation.

That means you not only have to talk about your achievements in a whole year. You also have to present them in a way that comes across as confident (without seeming arrogant) and honest (without sounding negative). You have to prove your value with a dash of modesty, a sprinkling of self-awareness, and a heap of passion for learning and growing. No biggie.

It’s hard to view ourselves objectively, but don’t worry. You got this. We will go through six simple steps spaced out over a year that will help you turn this tightrope into a cakewalk.

How to Write a Self-Evaluation: One Year Ahead

#1. Note down your accomplishments as they happen

Ever sat down for self-evaluation only to find that your brain – that “complicated organization of matter” in Asimov’s words – is totally blank? Given how much we seem to forget daily, it’s a miracle if we can instantly recall anything that happened months ago.

To avoid the dreaded mind-blank, deliberately set aside a few minutes every week to note down your accomplishments. Of course, you can also note stuff down in real-time. They can include the following:

  • What were the goals for that week/month? How did you go about achieving them?
  • How have you tried to improve yourself?
  • If there was a challenging situation, how did you respond to it?

Another neat jotting technique is the Situation – Behavior – Impact outline. Again, let’s use a self-evaluation example to see how we should apply this outline:

Situation: Provide the who, where, when, and why of the situation

Example: During the run-up to Christmas this past December, I asked to lead the team’s brainstorming session for campaign ideas. 

Behavior: How did you respond?

Example: I took the initiative to schedule the meetings and also coordinated with the media and sales ops teams for our campaign promotion. 

Impact: How did your response contribute to the result?

Example: We generated three campaign ideas, one of which was produced in-house and got over 150,000 shares, 1 million views, and a 30% increase in footfalls.  

#2. Make a list of your struggles and challenges

It’s natural to want to portray only your best. But there is always a point when you face challenges that affect your performance, and you have to talk about them.

Here’s a tip: use positive language to describe your struggles on the job. You don’t want to emphasize your failures but to show how they helped you grow. And whenever possible, highlight your own solution to the problem.

Example: I frequently failed to reach my monthly targets.

This is an example of negative language. Let’s rewrite this to be more constructive.

Example: Several missed targets helped me identify my time management struggles. I’ve started creating daily task lists with timelines to stay on track.

This step helps you demonstrate your ability to hold yourself accountable and seek a solution – two traits that signal leadership material. And if you are unable to find a solution to the issue on your own, don’t hesitate to bring it up anyway. It could point to deeper organizational issues that are holding you back.

How to Write a Self-Evaluation: One to Three Months Ahead

#3. Get the numbers if you can (or should)

At this time, HR would have informed you about the upcoming performance review. Therefore, it’s time to scan your achievement log and support the accomplishments with numbers wherever needed. According to Kamara Toffolo, LinkedIn consultant, “Numbers convey impact quickly, efficiently, and can transcend language.”

“But slapping a number on an accomplishment just to quantify it doesn’t suddenly make it more relevant and powerful,” adds Toffolo. “The use of a number needs to make sense, and often, it doesn’t. There are many situations where you can’t quantify an accomplishment, and some cases where you shouldn’t even try.”

So, you need to include only the figures that add value to your work – like the metrics and KPIs you were chasing this year. Here’s a self-evaluation example:

“I exceeded my lead closure rates by 30% in 2021.”

#4. Align your achievements with the company goals

One good way to highlight your track record is to reflect on the company’s goals for that year and how your work contributed to achieving them.

“Clear goals and objectives allow employees to monitor their own progress all year ’round and correct their efforts as necessary,” explains Dan Feliciano, President of OpEx90. “If employees know what they need to accomplish, they can look at their results as they go and identify barriers to achieving those goals.”

Here’s an example of self-evaluation that aligns with a company goal:

We reduced customer returns/rejects by 60% as part of Z Corp’s quality improvement program.”

How to Write a Self-Evaluation: Review Time

#5. Take your time

Dominique Jones, CEO of BetterU Skills, recommends treating your self-evaluation like a work of art. “You’ll be much happier with the result if you give yourself time to reflect and carefully support your self-assessment,” says Jones. This makes sense – if you don’t advocate for yourself, who will?

With that in mind, you need to remember the following rules while crafting your self-evaluation –

  • Give yourself a week if possible to work on your self-evaluation.
  • If you didn’t achieve your goals for this year, own it. This is your review, not your coworkers. So refrain from finger-pointing or blaming others.
  • If you have a problem with a coworker that you feel affects your performance, keep that for a separate, private conversation with your manager. Ideally, you should do this way before the employee evaluation.
  • Check your self-evaluation for spelling, grammar, and tone. Here’s a tip: before you submit your review, you can run it through tools like Grammarly’s tone detector plug-in or IBM Watson’s Tone Analyzer. They will help you find the right balance and language style.

#6. Chart out your improvement plan

Before you turn in your self-review, think about what you’re going to improve and how you will do it. Then, follow these four steps to address it on your self-evaluation.

1. Acknowledge your flaws.

2. Set a SMART goal to address them. You can read about SMART goals here.

3. Make a plan. There are plenty of free and low-cost resources to help you figure this out. First, however, research which ones will deliver the results you’re looking for. Here are six resources to get you started:

4. Track your progress. This is easy for your manager if they use 360-degree software like SurveySparrow for performance reviews because it comes with automatic reporting and insights. However, nothing can beat the satisfaction of seeing your progress for yourself.

How to Write a Self-Evaluation: Template for Practice

Liked this template? You can experiment with gorgeous survey templates for every type of use case simply by creating a free account.

Wrapping up

Most employees dread self-evaluations because it is hard to view oneself objectively. In the article, we talked about the six steps of how to write a self-evaluation that will let your work shine. Good luck with your performance review!

Parvathi Vijayamohan

Growth Marketer at SurveySparrow

Fledgling growth marketer. Curious about all things SaaS. Aunty to a naughty beagle.

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