End-of-year reviews can be a stressful circumstance.

While you may believe that your work and performance were phenomenal, you may be unsure if your manager feels the same way.

And while it may seem too late to make any significant changes, there are certain ways on how to ace your end-of-year review.

Acing your end-of-year review is essential to portraying yourself in a professional manner.

Regardless of outcome or performance review results, you should aim to act and project yourself in a way that shows maturity.

Your manager will be mindful of your reaction and will be more likely to appreciate your professionalism.

You may also want to review our comprehensive article discussing questions to ask at a company townhall.

Typically, many companies and employers will hold townhalls around the same time as performance reviews are held.

Being prepared for both events will help you to stand out and make an impression amongst your manager and peers.

Bring Your Own Performance Review

While it may seem counterintuitive to bring your own performance review, it can be helpful to bring one as a backup to any comments and perceptions your manager may levy.

While your manager should be conducting weekly check-ins and one-on-ones, understanding what you are working on and what challenges you are facing, they may not always have the most up-to-date information.

By bringing along your own performance review, you are able to show your manager how you believe your performance was over the past year.

You will be able to discuss what challenges you faced and what accomplishments you made.

Lastly, bringing your own performance review to the meeting will assist you in setting the tone for the review.

This can be done by coming in prepared and ready to discuss the specifics of your performance.

Your manager will likely appreciate and take note of your preparedness.

Prepare Mentally for the Performance Review

As stated above, performance reviews are inherently stressful.

Regardless of whether or not you blew it out of the water, most individuals are nervous about a performance review.

However, you should take steps to alleviate your nerves and remain calm throughout the review.

A few ways to remain calm during the review is to utilize breathing techniques before the meeting.

Breathing techniques can help to alleviate stress and allow you to focus on an upcoming event.

In addition, these techniques don’t take too long to do, requiring less than ten-minutes to complete.

Put Yourself in Your Manager’s Shoes

It’s also important to place yourself in your manager’s shoes before the meeting.

This can help in two unique ways.

The first, is that it will allow you to view your performance from a managerial lens.

This will allow you to view the needs of the company and the department as a forefront of your performance.

The second, is it will help you to understand why your manager viewed your performance positively or negatively.

While you may assume your performance, you should try to understand how your manager viewed your performance.

Did you complete tasks assigned to you?

Were you proactive and helpful?

Were you a team player?

All those considerations are important to a manager and should be thought of from your end.

How to Ace Your End-of-Year Review

Ask Direct, Pointed Questions

A performance review is meant to be a discussion between yourself and your manager.

This discussion is meant to help you advance your career and improve your performance moving forward.

As-such, it is important to ask pointed, direct questions on what changes need to be made and what aspects of your performance were done well.

By asking these pointed questions, you will be better prepared to make the changes needed and to continue completing the tasks you’ve done well.

Don’t be afraid or nervous to ask pointed and direct questions.

Your manager expects you to come in with those questions and will appreciate your being proactive in asking them.

Be Receptive to Criticism and Advice

Although it may be difficult, you should remain neutral and receptive to criticism and advice from your manager.

Ideally, your manager is there to provide you with advice and recommendations on how to improve your performance and the work you complete.

Rather than taking that advice in a defensive manner, you should aim to be receptive and understanding of the advice.

By being receptive to the advice provided, you will be able, and better positioned, to make the appropriate changes.

By implementing those changes, you increase your chances for success and for climbing the career ladder.

Take Detailed Notes

Another great way to show your professionalism and maturity is to take detailed notes during the meeting.

You will want to let your manager know that you are taking notes so that they understand why you are scribbling away.

However, taking notes will help you to remember and retain the advice given.


Understanding how to ace your end-of-year review will help you in your career and your career trajectory.

Performance reviews are a time for you to have an honest, blunt conversation with your manager and to understand what steps you need to take to increase your performance moving forward.

Before you meet with your manager for a performance review, be sure to practice some breathing techniques to help calm your nerves.

During the meeting, you should be receptive to the advice given and remain open to it.

Be sure to take notes and ask detailed, specific questions.

In addition, bringing your own performance review to the meeting will help you to set the stage and the discussion.

Your manager will be there to help you achieve your goals and your career goals and asking them specific questions will help you both.

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