Found a great internship or career position recently? One of the best ways to maximize a new learning experience and establish the foundation for career growth is to actively solicit performance feedback from your supervisor. However, in today's busy work environment, many managers don't take the time to conduct a formal review. Here are six tips for getting the information you need to ensure that you are making a positive contribution.
1. Within the first couple of weeks of the position, ask your manager if you can schedule a meeting to review your performance. Requesting this meeting early shows initiative and gives you access to information that will help you to develop in your role.
2. Using your initial job description, create a "Performance Review" document that lists three to five objectives or tasks that you propose as the basis for the first review. For example, if you're supporting the sales team, perhaps completing tasks by deadline and with minimal errors is a key part of success in the role. "Working within deadlines" and "Creating high quality work" could be two of your objectives for measurement.
3. Send the document to your manager before the meeting date to make sure you are valuing the same tasks as she is.
4. Before the meeting, rate yourself on a scale of one (the lowest) to five (the highest) as to how well you think you are performing in the review areas. You don't need to send your ratings to your manager. Just note examples and prepare to support your assessment.
5. Ask your manager to use the same scale to rate your work. Discuss any discrepancies between your two reviews and ask for ideas on how to improve your results as needed.
6. Schedule a follow-up meeting to check in on progress.
By following these six steps, you're making it easy for your manager to give you constructive feedback. Additionally, you are checking to make sure both of you share the same priorities. Finally, you are demonstrating a high level of professionalism and ownership of your work. After the meeting, make sure you use her suggestions and check for progress in any deficient areas quickly.
In addition to the immediate work productivity benefits, this meeting has several other purposes.
Résumé and LinkedIn profile. The feedback and ratings established can become key components for summarizing your skills in a résumé or LinkedIn profile.
Interviews. On interviews there is always some version of the question: "What are your unique strengths?" Knowing what your manager thinks of your top skills gives you an ideal response when asked that question.
Promotions and salary increases. Having documented reviews that show progress in work performance give you quantifiable results to use in support of a promotion or compensation increase. These results also make it easier for your manager to support this request with her manager.
Long-term goals. The review meeting itself gives you an opportunity to discuss your longer term goals and ask what is necessary to obtain them. If you can deliver what is recommended, you have made a compelling case for advancement.
Your performance is always being reviewed - whether it is discussed or not. Strategic employees make it easy for management to give information that is critical to continued improvement. With this performance review strategy, you have control over this feedback and can make changes as needed.
Robin Reshwan is the Founder of Collegial Services, a consulting and staffing firm that connects college students, recent graduates and the businesses that hire them. She has interviewed, placed and hired thousands of people across a broad spectrum of companies and industries. Her tips and advice are used by Stanford University, University of California, Net Impact and local media outlets. A Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Robin has been honored as a Professional Business Woman of the Year by the American Business Women's Association. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and as a Regents Scholar from University of California, Davis.
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