Career advice

Making the most out of your appraisal

If the prospect of an appraisal makes you anxious, it’s time to determine exactly what it is you want to get out of the process. Rather than dreading potential criticism and comments on your performance, use your appraisal as forum to help your employer get the best out of you.
A well structured appraisal should provide you with an opportunity to discuss recent achievements and what you feel works and what doesn’t work. It should also give you the chance to openly review previously agreed objectives and set new ones for the year/months ahead with your line manager.

Appraisals for future career development

Any appraisal should be conducted as a two-way discussion where you can speak honestly about your position, aspirations and potential growth within the company.

Here are 10 key tips to keep in mind as appraisal time approaches:

1. Set your own objectives in advance and be clear on what you want to get from the appraisal process.
2. Be ready to talk about your achievements and successes, especially when you received praise or merit. Every statement you make should be supported by an example.
3. Show that you’re positive and upbeat. Give a brief but sincere account of your actions and achievements since your last appraisal.
4. Study your last appraisal and ensure you have met its objectives and can address any issues that might arise.
5. Research and gather information on possible courses you would like to take with a view to future career development.
6. Listen to criticism. An appraisal is an ongoing process so, even if you disagree with what is being suggested, you need to respond in a positive manner.
7. Try to keep the subject on you, your contribution to the company and your future in a relaxed and non-confrontational manner.
8. Show that you’re promotion material. If you’re aiming to move up the career ladder, make sure that you communicate it to your line manager.
9. If you’re asking for pay rise, ensure that you do your research into what you’re worth, according to market rates. Have a look at Michael Page’s Salary Centre to see industry averages.
10. Arrange further meetings with your line manager to discuss your objectives and progress. Regular follow-ups are useful for ensuring that you’re on the right track.