I’ve been called an overachiever my entire life. I don’t particularly like the title, but I do like learning new things and taking on new challenges. What I especially like, though, is showcasing my abilities and being rewarded for it. If being an overachiever means I get a promotion or a raise, I’ll take it! Who wouldn’t? If you find yourself working harder than your coworkers and not being acknowledged for it is it because your boss didn’t notice, or because you didn’t show them? Or, is it because you’re not paying attention to yourself? I have had great success tracking myself and then utilizing my accomplishments for promotable endeavors. That way, when it comes time for my next employee review, I’m 100 percent ready. Here’s how:
I take advantage of opportunities to stand out.
What you don’t want to be is the office suck-up. However, you do want to be an invaluable employee to your company. This trait is increasingly more important as the job market keeps getting more and more competitive. The more diverse your skill set, the more capable you’ve shown yourself to be- and the more likely it is that you’ll be the one saved from a lay-off. For example, if your boss asks who wants to take the harder account, offer to do it! If there’s a task where you could offer a suggestion for efficiency or better technology- speak up! Some of the contributions that my supervisors have found most impressive are the ones I just stumbled upon by helping a coworker or identifying a “this is just how we’ve always done it” task and creating a better method that makes more sense. Yes, you might get turned down on occasion, but you also might be the only one who’s at least trying to participate.
I track my contributions.
For each job I’ve had, I have a month by month chart (it’s just a table I made in a Word document) where I bullet-point what tasks I’ve done that are above and beyond what is listed on my official job description. If I’m ever asked when or how I “go above and beyond” I have real, recent examples. I never want there to be a reason for my boss to think I’m not the best employee she has, but I also don’t make that her job to realize it. I can show her myself!
I plan for the extras.
While I’m tracking, if I enter something for one month, I might realize that I didn’t do anything above and beyond for a past month, so then I know I might need to amp it up. Keeping up on my tracking forces me to be aware of how well I’m doing at my own game. If I’m short on ideas, reviewing my tracker usually reminds me of areas I tapped into in the past and how I could maybe go back and do more here or there. Then I can make a to-do list and/or set goals for upcoming months.
I relish employee reviews.
I’ve never understood why people seem to hate reviews. I suppose if you’ve had a really mean boss at some point who screamed at you, that could be a justifiable reason to hate them. But really, if you come into the review prepared to showcase positive things about yourself at least the entire experience won’t be a blow out. So bring your lists. Prepare your speech. Show off all your planning and tracking. Take advantage of the one-on-one opportunity to make sure your boss “gets” you and why you’re the best employee for the company. If you’re technologically savvy maybe you might even make a Prezzi, or at least a cool, graphic display of your development over the past year. It’s way easier to use yourself as a guinea pig for trying new things, so try a new program or device out during your review.
I tie it all back into ROI or general business development.
Going above and beyond is only as good as the return it makes for your employer. Make sure that the tasks you’re choosing to go “above and beyond” with are relevant to your industry. Then, make light of that during your review. Again, don’t allow yourself to be replaceable. Be invaluable!
So, overachiever or not, I’m not going to be the one laid-off because I just sit and routinely do my work. In this competitive job market, I’m taking personal responsibility to secure myself- and you can too. Good luck!
What do you do to get through your employee review? Is there a reason you dread your review each year? Let us know in the comments section below!
IMAGE: Courtesy of Leader Chat