Career Development

How To Perform a Self-Assessment

May 6, 2021

A self-assessment, also called a self-evaluation, is an effective tool for assessing your progress and career development. Self-assessments help you reflect on the knowledge and skills you've gained in the workplace and which areas you still need to improve. A self-evaluation can also help you document the accomplishments you have achieved with your manager, your team and your company. In this article, we discuss what a self-assessment is, what you should include and give you an example to help you create your own.

What is a self-assessment?

A self-assessment is a tool that can help you reflect on and track your career progress, achievements and skill development. If you plan to ask for a promotion, a pay raise or another form of recognition, a self-evaluation can be an effective tool for highlighting all the reasons for your request. An honest, accurate self-assessment can also help align your goals with your organization's and focus on your career objectives.

Many people write a self-evaluation as part of their annual performance reviews, and you and your manager will probably review your self-assessment together. That way, you can emphasize your accomplishments, and your supervisor can offer useful feedback on any tasks or skills that need improvement.

How to complete a self-assessment

When you complete a self-assessment, make sure it's thorough and includes all aspects of your work. To make the process easier, consider the following steps:

1. Include the appropriate elements

A clear self-assessment touching on specific points can also help establish your place in a company. It should include your success and accomplishments, how you achieved your success, an honest critique of your work habits, your strengths and weaknesses and any aspects of your performance that may need improvement. You can also discuss your teamwork skills, your customer service skills, the projects you completed with other employees or contractors and what you learned from them that can help you in your position in the future. Adding a request for feedback from your manager or employer can be useful as well.

2. Determine a timeline for your self-evaluation

You can track your accomplishments yearly, quarterly or even monthly. Keep extensive records of the projects you complete, the ratings or reviews you receive from customers, how quickly you accomplish projects on average and any improvements you make. When possible, include dates and times and highlight the tasks you finished early. For example, you could have secured additional funding or resources for a project that would have been shut down without your additional work and initiative. You could have also found a supplier that offers an important supply for a lower price, saving the company money.

A timeline of your progress can let managers know more about new responsibilities you've acquired, awards you've received and how your skills have improved over time. It can also emphasize the ways you helped the company increase its profits and customer satisfaction levels.

3. Address your strengths and weaknesses

When performing a self-assessment, think about what your strengths are and how those strengths contributed to your success. Try to be as specific as possible about your accomplishments and the qualities that make you a valuable employee for your organization.

In addition to your strengths, consider discussing your weaknesses and any setbacks you experienced. Talk about how you plan to improve on them and prevent problems in the future. Discuss how you learned from your mistakes and how you can apply that knowledge in the future. This shows that you're willing to receive feedback and eager to improve your skills.

Read more: Interview Question: "What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?"

4. Talk about your goals

An important part of a self-assessment is showing that you're willing to grow and improve as an employee. Talk about your career goals for the future and your plan for continuing your professional development. If you want to further your education or apply for another position in the company with higher pay and more responsibility, say so. A self-evaluation is a great opportunity to ask your manager what you should do to accomplish your goals. You can use it to discover and correct any mistakes you could be making and advance in your career faster.

If possible, make your discussion about goals SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based. That way, your employer can help you get the resources you need to achieve your goals. You can also review your self-assessment later, see which goals you accomplished and think about any factors that kept you from being completely successful. On your next self-assessment, you can talk about the work you did to achieve your goals.

Read more: SMART Goals: Objectives for Your Career

5. Give an honest, professional review

Recognizing and documenting your accomplishments is critical for your self-assessment. Be as honest with yourself as you can, avoid exaggerations and be aware of how other people perceive you and interact with you. Avoid harsh or informal language or be overly critical of your supervisor or other employees. A self-evaluation should focus on your performance and not the performances of others. This is an opportunity to show your professionalism, and because your employer will receive an unbiased assessment of yourself, you're also showing your integrity.

6. Use action words

When possible, use a variety of active verbs to describe your actions. Here are some examples of action words:

  • Led: “I led my team of employees to work on a project.”
  • Managed: “I successfully managed a project.”
  • Mentored: “I mentored others during a training session.”
  • Proposed: “I proposed new rules for the office.”
  • Recommended: “I recommended solutions to a problem.”
  • Reduced: “I successfully reduced company expenses.”
  • Supervised: “I supervised team meetings.”
  • Trained: “I trained others on how to use a new software program.”

7. Format and edit your self-assessment

Format your self-assessment and edit your work carefully for any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. Use a professional font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, and add subheadings to each section to make your self-evaluation easier to read. Also, add a short outline to the beginning, and use short paragraphs and bulleted lists. By making your assessment easy to read, you're showing respect for your employer's valuable time.

Read more: How to Write a Professional Email

8. Ask for feedback

At the end of your self-assessment, include a brief conclusion and request some feedback from your employer or supervisor. Asking for feedback can provide valuable insight into how others perceive you and useful tips for your career.

A self-assessment example

The example below highlights many of the elements you should consider including in your self-evaluation:

Self-Assessment for Joy Green, Accounts Payable Clerk

Strengths
I am a dedicated worker who understands my work as an accounts payable clerk and the responsibilities that go with that role. I am courteous and firm to reconcile information, but I treat each vendor equally and with respect.
I have great communication skills which makes me a good team member when difficult situations arise. Teamwork is valuable to me because I welcome coworker insights. During the year, I worked to fund and install new accounting software and provide training sessions after working hours. I can find creative ways to meet deadlines or solve problems, and I am an innovative thinker who likes to come up with new and better ways of doing things.

Weaknesses
I tend not to ask for help when I should. While I'm a great team member, I need to remember that sometimes I shouldn't work on things alone. I am always willing to help others, but I should recognize my limitations. I tend to become too absorbed in my work, and I am working on my time management skills to correct this.

Core values
I believe in teamwork, and I show this by respectfully listening to the opinions of others. I try not to be an obstacle when there are disagreements, and I try to work things out as much as possible. I believe in transparent communication between employees and management, and I welcome feedback on my work performance and my teamwork in the office. I try to be helpful to coworkers, management and customers.

Goals
I am working toward an eventual role in management. To that end, I am taking evening classes for a bachelor's degree in accounting. I would like to stay with the company because I enjoy working with my team members and customers. As a manager, I want to continue helping the business grow by encouraging my team members to do their best. I would like to have a role that allows more decision-making for the team. I also want to learn more about other departments within the company, the organizations we work with and how we produce our product.
I would appreciate any feedback from my coworkers and management about my self-assessment. I am always looking for ways to learn and grow as an employee and as a colleague.

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