Self-Evaluations: Start Acing Them

Most of the time when I mention the topic of self-evaluations, I receive a collective groan from those around me. I honestly don’t know anyone who loves the ritual of filling one out. For some, they just don’t like to draw attention to themselves or toot their own horn. For others, it’s a nerve wracking process where they are always at a loss for words.

No matter your take on the self-evaluation tool, the reality is they are prevalent in the workplace. Knowing how to draft a positive assessment of yourself and frame yourself in the right light may be key to your success with your organization. Here’s what you should know before putting pen to self-evaluation paper.

  1. Know the purpose. Different organizations use self-evaluation tools in different ways. Find out who will view your assessment, and ask how they will use it. It’s important to know the role it will play in promotions and raises. And the reality is some managers are simply going to take your words and paste them into their own assessment. So, make sure you write them well.
  2. Always focus on yourself. One of the big no-no’s in writing your self-evaluation is bringing others into the picture. It’s never appropriate to criticize or even mention coworkers within your review. Keep the focus on you and only you.
  3. Highlight your strengths. This may sound obvious, but really point out what you do well and be specific. Give examples of projects on which you excelled or teams on which you played a key role. If you’re hoping for a promotion, this is also a good time to think about the requirements necessary for that job and highlight how you fulfill or exceed them. Treat it much as you would a resume when applying for a new job.
  4. Don’t skip your weaknesses. But rather than directly pointing out your shortcomings, frame them as areas you’re working on or areas in which you’d like to increase your skills. It may even be a great spot to mention your interest in continuing education or increased on-the-job training or mentoring. If you experienced a true failure within the review period, mention it carefully, but highlight what you learned from the experience. Always avoid defensive statements on your self-evaluation.
  5. Find a way to work in your goals. Many companies’ forms offer specific spaces for your goals, but if yours doesn’t, slip them in somewhere. Let them know you want to grow. Mention specific things you want to accomplish in the next year and throw in bits about your long-term career plan. This shows forethought and ambition — two characteristics any manager would love to see.
  6. Take it seriously. No matter how small a role you feel your self-evaluation plays in your future with your organization, do it well. Take time to fully think it out and cover all of your most important accomplishments. No one will ever scoff at a job well done. But managers who receive one liners about each question may not feel very warm and fuzzy when it’s their turn to review you.

Self-evaluations are not to be taken lightly. Follow my tips for showcasing your best self during your next review and help spark an open, honest conversation about your performance and future.

The Marlo Company, Inc. provides clients with the best in human resource services. Whether you are seeking a certified True Colors Facilitator, recruitment services, on-boarding services, new staff orientation, training or coaching, our team of dedicated professionals is here to assist you. Contact us today.

In the spirit of success,


The Marlo Companies