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Performance Appraisals

How to position yourself for success.

Climbing the ladderIn today’s competitive workplace, it’s essen­tial to put your best foot forward. The pos­sible results? Outstanding performance ap­praisals, promotions and professional growth.

What Managers Look For
Here are some critical attributes managers look for when preparing a performance appraisal or considering someone for a promotion, and tips on how to position yourself for success:

Attitude. Regardless of the challenges you may face with projects, company culture, managers or peers, maintaining a positive outlook will be noticed. Attitude comes across in many forms, including e-mail and voice mail. Before sending anything, read it carefully to ensure an appropriate tone. If you’re put on the spot in a meeting, be aware of your response. When a manager asks you to work overtime, do your best to accept happily. Maintaining a positive outlook will be noticed, as this soft skill often is rated in performance appraisals.

Initiative. There’s a big difference between completing a job satisfactorily and going above and beyond. Managers love to hear new ideas, offers to take on additional work, or requests for training to build stronger skills. But be sure to balance initiative with overstepping bounds. Suggest an idea to a manager before giving yourself authority to make the change.

TIP
Nothing on a performance appraisal should ever be a surprise. Management should give you feedback throughout the year so you can correct situations and continue to build your skills.

Skill and Actual Job Perfor­mance. There always will be a facet of the job outside of your comfort zone. The key is to attack and master it over time. Managers should point out your strengths and areas for improvement, backed up with specific examples.

Sense of Realism. It’s natural to want to be an expert early in your career, and to demon­strate your knowledge quickly. But it could take several years to know your job perfectly. If you have nothing else to learn, then it’s time to move to a new challenge. A manager will look at how long you’ve been in your job in accordance with company guidelines to determine the appropriate time to promote you.

TIP
Know your talents. Consider what you have done to stand out. Be prepared to highlight your acomplishments when being considered for a promotion.

Preparing for an Evaluation
Review your weekly reports. Be ready to discuss how you’ve grown professionally since your last review, or since you were hired.

• Think about accomplishments, with specific examples. Plan to discuss situations you are particularly proud of.

• Think about your career goals and next steps in the company. The focus of an appraisal is what you’ve done, accompanied by time to discuss where you want to be down the road.

• Complete a self-appraisal. HR departments often ask employees to complete a self-appraisal before the actual review. This will help organize your thoughts.

• Consider what you have done to stand out. If you are being considered for a promotion, be prepared to demonstrate your accomplish­ments instead of comparing yourself to others.

Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association

Alison Rosenblum Meet the Author
Alison Rosenblum, 35, is the owner of Hudson River Career Resources and Strategic Resources. Her best advice to job seekers is to research the company and make sure it, along with the job, is a good match for you.

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