It can be a dreading experience when its time for your annual review. You’re unsure of what your boss is likely to say to you or what they’re likely to feedback on. However, preparation is always key and more so when it comes to your annual review. It is as much an opportunity for you to express your desires when it comes to your career progression and meeting your career objectives.

To help you get ready, we’ve provided you with a guide on how you can prepare yourself for this meeting.

Showcase what you have achieved over the last year

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A year goes by in the blink of an eye and sometimes we can get so caught up in the day-to-day that we often forget to reflect on our achievements. Be sure to keep track of the work you’ve contributed to, the goals you’ve completed, feedback you’ve received from colleagues and clients. So, when it comes to your end of year review, you’re mindful of these accomplishments and boast about them to your employer.

Discuss areas you think you need support or improvement and how they can help you do that.

Illustrating an awareness when you make a mistake is better than trying to ignore it. However, if you can illustrate not only what you did wrong but how you rectified this, well, that is a valuable asset indeed. Owning your mistakes in your annual review not only shows that you’re human but you have a determination to get things right. If you are simply unable to change what has happened, hold your hands up and admit defeat, you tried to resolve it but couldn’t and don’t be afraid to ask for some help.

The same goes for it you’re struggling. If the workload seems too much to bear, make sure your bosses are aware of this. It is better for them to have the opportunity to address these concerns and issues than for you to become demotivated, despondent and potentially leave.

It can also be a good time to discuss professional courses you could take to develop on skills or building a greater understanding of your subject field.  Perhaps you’ve already identified a course you would like to be put forward for or your bosses may be able to signpost you to relevant courses that would be worth taking.

In some instances, your bosses may even be willing to cover any fees for you to take them but if not, there are cheaper courses you can do that will not only help you develop your learning but show dedication to your employer.

Take/ask for constructive feedback


Your employers are likely to give you a holistic overview of your performance over the past year. They are just as likely to highlight some areas for improvements as well as thank you for your work throughout the year. Feedback, even constructive, is essential for your development and vitally important if you’ve aspirations of working towards a senior position. It can be a difficult pill to swallow though, we get it, but use any negative feedback alongside our above point to show you’re willing to work on it and improve.

If you find that your boss doesn’t give you any constructive feedback at all, be sure to ask for it! Asking what you can strive to do better will certainly make your boss sit up and take note.

Understand your companies process for annual reviews

Do you need to be invited or do you need to request it? Is it an opportunity for a pay review as well as discuss career progression and/or courses that may be on offer?

Knowing about the review process will only help you prepare more thoroughly and ensure you know where you stand when it comes to issues that are key to you.

Setting objectives for the year ahead

A good annual review will include some objectives for you to work on for the next year. It may be to work on your time management skills, read more management books, watch the news and take note in the financial markets. It might be to develop a rapport with clients or be more sociable at work. Or they may be more strategic to the business objectives, like researching opportunities for partnership opportunities, cost saving opportunities for the organisation etc.

When you’re set objectives, be sure to know the parameters around it. If there are deadlines, what are they? If they’re strategic objectives and goals, what is the ultimate end result and how do they want these to be presented?

At your next review, this is likely to be the first topic of conversation and looking at the success in which you met your objectives. Follow our first bit of advice and keep a track of your progress throughout the year so you can be concise in your feedback.

Express your desires for the future

You may have already expressed an interest in career progression and the opportunities the organisation may offer.  Your annual review is the perfect time to remind your bosses of your desires when it comes to progression.

Determine if there are any openings in the organisation you should consider or what the next steps may be in moving up through the company. If you work for a small organisation, it may be apparent where the opportunities lie but a discussion with your employer will only reaffirm your desires and hopefully encourage them to find further opportunities for you, especially if they don’t want to lose you.

We hope our preparation tips help and you get the desired outcome for your next annual review. There are some further related articles below such as important skills to employers, ways in which you can inspire creativity at work and why not take our career quiz to see if you’re in the right career- these are just a taste of the extensive career related pieces on our site.

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