Information Technology Dark Side

Struggles of a Self-Taught Coder

Information Technology Dark Side header image 2

How to Write a Self-Appraisal

December 2nd, 2006 · 60 Comments


Most companies these days use a performance management process that is based on objectives. As I’ve complained before, I’m not a big fan of this approach. It’s very difficult to make it work, and seems too heavyweight for me. There’s got to be an easier way.

That said, let’s face facts. If you work in a company that has more than 200 employees and you’re not in charge, you’re not going to change the appraisal process. If you want to be successful, you’ve got to play well within the performance appraisal system or be passed over. That’s just one of the sad facts of life in corporate IT. Sorry.

Most performance management processes include a self-appraisal. This is your estimation of your performance and helps guide your boss’s thinking as she does her part of the review. Most people treat the self-appraisal as kind of a diary of the work they did through the year. This approach is a mistake because it doesn’t help you create an influential brand for yourself that will stick in the mind of your boss. You need to use the appraisal process to influence your boss to think about you in terms of the key capabilities/attributes you have that make you special and effective.

What does that mean though? Does it mean you write a book at the end of the year, detailing every good thing you did throughout 2006? What about every mistake you made? Do you treat the performance review process like a court case, where you’re trying to “prove” you belong in the top 10%?

My experience is that this almost always backfires. There are two aspects to the performance review process, and most people neglect one of them. First, there is the written appraisal. It’s the least important aspect, but if neglected can really screw you up. Second, is the perception of your actual performance. How do people think you performed, regardless of what your self-appraisal says? If the two don’t jive, it won’t matter what you write. A self-appraisal must reinforce the beliefs others already have about you or it will be discounted. If you write about what a great communicator you are, but people see you as a person who rambles on pointlessly or is irrationally negative, then forget about getting credit for communicating well. You won’t, because you don’t.

The first step in WRITING a self-appraisal is PERFORMING a self-appraisal. What are you good at? What situations are you best suited for? What stresses you out the most? When are you most afraid you will fail? When do you feel most confident? What do people compliment you for? What sort of situations do your co-workers seem least interested in working with you?

Ask these questions of yourself and others. Don’t be a defensive jerk about it. Just gather the data and think about it. Then make a list, focusing on two things: strengths and weaknesses. This list is the beginning of your self-appraisal.

Check your list of strengths and weakness against the facts. Did they come into play in the work you did? How? Write this down in your self-appraisal. If you think you have strengths that never got an opportunity to be put in the game, note them. You’ll use them in the last section: desired opportunities.

Don’t go overboard with examples to support your strengths/weaknesses claims. Pick the most glaring successes and failures and describe them in terms of how your attributes made them turn out the way they did.

By this point you’ve probably asked yourself whether it’s really a good idea to discuss your weakness and how they contributed to failures openly. Won’t this lower your rating/ranking/whatever? Perhaps. I suggest you make up your mind now that you won’t give a crap about it. Incomes go up every year, for the most part. Some go up slowly, some go up quickly. Hiding your weaknesses might help you with short-term gains, but in the long term failing to own up to them and overcome them will hurt your income potential far more than disguising them. Besides, I’ve found it is ALWAYS better to discuss your failures on your own terms than on someone else’s. Address them pre-emptively. You can influence your boss’s perception of your failures more than you might think.

Okay, so now you have two sections of the self-appraisal: strengths, with examples. Weaknesses, with examples. Now you’re ready for the next section: desired opportunities. What situations will give you a chance to demonstrate heretofore unused strengths and abilities? What steps can you take to learn about and improve weaknesses? Once you’ve improved them, what opportunities do you need to demonstrate that you’re better?

Write it down. Then hand it to your spouse or someone else who loves you but isn’t afraid to laugh at you. Listen to what they have to say, then change it up. Then, turn it in. Don’t obsess about it anymore. You’re done.

I get a lot of comments asking me to write or help write appraisals. Sorry, but it’s not what I do, so save your keystrokes.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
Stumble it!

Tags: Job Advice

60 responses so far ↓

  • 1 My IT News Blog » Blog Archive » Posted on TechDarkSide.com - How to Write a Self-Appraisal // Feb 9, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    [...] Most companies these days use a performance management process that is based on objectives. As I’ve complained before, I’m not a big fan of this approach. It’s very difficult to make it work, and seems too heavyweight for me. There’s got to be an easier way. That said, let’s face facts. If you work in a […] Read more… [...]

  • 2 L.S.YADAV // Feb 3, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    if i write a commetment for sel appearaal i put the number 10 – 10, or 10 – 8, how to write a comment thanks you please send my email id

  • 3 |Ajit // Mar 31, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    sale pehle padhna likhna sikh le

  • 4 Katrin // Apr 9, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    My name is Katrin, me of 12 years. I have a friend my dog. His name is Tobby. He breeds Saint Bernard. We have found him when to me there were 8 years. Who that has thrown out him at road, he did not breathe almost. We left him. And he has remained to live at us, he my friend :-) . But recently to him it became bad, Tobby has ceased to eat, drink. The daddy has led him to the doctor. When they have returned the daddy has told to me that at Tobby tumour a brain and it is necessary to us him to lull. The daddy has remained without work and cannot pay operation. Please help to rescue to me my friend. If you can please send 0,50 $ on mine webmoney purse Z100071278687. Please help

  • 5 kumar // Sep 1, 2009 at 6:28 am

    Hi i am unable to understood ur way to write self appriasal,

    Send me a brief information about this,
    Thanks/kumar

  • 6 Ani Thomas // Sep 10, 2009 at 6:01 am

    Hi, am unable to write strength and weakness in my appraisal form. im a civil enginner and as a chief operator. pls. advise

  • 7 ramu.k // Sep 15, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Hi i am ramu working as store supervisor , not understood how to write myself appriasal .

    please guide me on this matter

  • 8 Maneesha // Oct 22, 2009 at 7:36 am

    sir ,

    I'm a branch admin (accounts & administration) in a finance company, I am unable to write self appraisal, Send me a brief information about this.

    regards

    maneesha

  • 9 lynn // Dec 6, 2009 at 2:11 am

    hi
    I’m working in accounts dept and unabale to write self appraisal. please help

  • 10 Nett // Jan 13, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    I am working in Food and beverage Dept and I would love to know how can I write appraisal for my assocaite that I take responsibilities

  • 11 Jojo // Feb 6, 2010 at 6:53 am

    i am unable write my strength and weakness please advice me i am a service engineer for Dispensing units in Petrol pumps please suggest me how to make it

  • 12 krish // Feb 11, 2010 at 9:12 am

    hi ,
    my name krish i am project coodinator for the project of high end office block and service apertment. I cant write about the strength and weakness, key competencies , key goal, characteristics, pontential evalivation and i graduate as a civil engineer.
    I look forward to get all i mention in writng so that i can score a higher point in my appraisal. Thank you .

  • 13 Augustine Samu // Feb 12, 2010 at 5:36 am

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    My name is Samu working for unite nations mission in Sudan needed a format of how to write appraisal.
    Thanks

  • 14 Abrar Hussain // Feb 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    I want to fill school appraisal form being a teacher,please help me in this regard. Many Thanks

  • 15 Abrar // Feb 19, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Please help me to fill self appraisal form. I am teaching in private school. Thanks

  • 16 russel ndlovu // Feb 26, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Praise when praise is due .Criticise constructively. Start with your oservations: Strength and weaknesses of your co-worker .

    Call them one by one and discuss. Give them advices on how to improve poor performance and mantain their good abilities.

    Ask them about their needs eg further education/inservice training on other on certain aspects of their jobs.

    Ask them if they are still happy with their jobs

  • 17 desperate // Mar 7, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I am spending sleepless night thinking about how to write my self appraiser. Where can a get a sample of the appriaser Willing to pay but not much as I am just an office clerk who doesn't earn much….but if I dont submit my report I may have to say good bye to my job…desperate

  • 18 appreciate // Mar 18, 2010 at 3:21 am

    hi
    i am an administrator with an organisation in africa and are curently in the early face of the BSC system in our company.i find your article very informative on the Self appraisal thank you.

  • 19 subhash // Mar 18, 2010 at 11:14 am

    i am a hardware,network engineer ,how to fill my appraisal form.

  • 20 bhupesh // Mar 22, 2010 at 1:32 am

    i am a hardware,Graphic designer for magazine,how to fill my appraisal form.
    My strenghts and wekness

  • 21 somnath gurav // Mar 31, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    I'm a in a finance company, I am unable to write self appraisal, Send me a brief information about this.

  • 22 nirmala // Apr 10, 2010 at 3:20 am

    I’m a in a finance company, I am unable to write self appraisal, Send me a brief information about this.

  • 23 Tina // May 6, 2010 at 7:30 am

    I am an Administrative Assistant. Can you help me with a self appraisal?

  • 24 Tina // May 6, 2010 at 7:31 am

    I am an Administrative Assistant with a company. Please help me write a self appraisal.

  • 25 Simeon // May 14, 2010 at 4:40 am

    I am unable to write weakneses on my apprassal form please send me some notes or give me a guide.I work as a Bank cashier
    Thanks.

  • 26 suresh nair // May 24, 2010 at 7:14 am

    I am unable to fill my appraisal form, please help me

  • 27 Tweets that mention How to Write a Self-Appraisal -- Topsy.com // May 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by SimonStapleton.com, Sandeep. Sandeep said: One of the better pieces on performance appraisal: http://www.techdarkside.com/how-to-write-a-self-appraisal/comment-page-1 [...]

  • 28 educational blog // May 26, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Self-Appraisal it's very important!

  • 29 rox // May 26, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Hi! i can't able to write self appraisal pls. give some ideas,i am working in a big company as an outlet in charge

  • 30 Thankachan.TJ. // May 30, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Iam Accountant can’t write self appraisal, give me some ideas
    how do like your work, ext….mention the most important achivements of the past year, State your main KPAs and KRAs

  • 31 parkash // May 31, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Hi! i can't able to write self appraisal pls. give some ideas,i am working in a Event company as marketing manager

  • 32 bhagappa.b // Jun 7, 2010 at 5:31 am

    hai.ican”t able to write self appraisal

    regarding strength weakness. iam working in food processing unit.as a quality officer/sr.chemist please suggest.

  • 33 krishna // Jun 11, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Hi

    I am Documentation Manager with a Forwarder, I am unable to write Discuss and compare with self appraisal entry in A1. clarify job purpose and priorities where necessary

    Please helf me

    Thanks & Rgds
    Krishna

  • 34 krishna // Jun 11, 2010 at 6:09 am

    B2: Review the completed discussion points in A2, and note the points of and action.

    B4: Discuss and agree the appraisee’s carrier direction option and wishes, and readiness for promotion, and compare with and discuss the self-appraisal entry in A5. (People not wishing promotion is capable of, and generally benefits form, personal development. Note the agreed development aim (s):

  • 35 krishna // Jun 11, 2010 at 6:16 am

    Discuss and agree the skills, capabilities and experience required for competence in current role, and if appropriate, for readiness to progress to the next role or roles. Pefer to skill-set in B3, in order to accurately identify all development areas, whether for competence at current level or readiness to progress to next job level/type) note the agreed development areas:

  • 36 krishna // Jun 11, 2010 at 6:19 am

    Discuss and agree the specific objectives that will enable the appraisee to reach competence and to meet required performance in current job, to move towards, or achieve readiness for, the next job level/type, or if no particular next role is identified or sought, to achieve the desired personal growth or experience

  • 37 krishna // Jun 11, 2010 at 6:21 am

    Discuss and agree (as far as is possible, given budgetary, availability and authorisation considerations) the training and development support to be given to help the appraisee meet the agreed objectives above

  • 38 krishna // Jun 11, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Grade/recommendation/summary as applicable:

    Distribution of copies/confid)entiality/accessibility details:

    Other issue (to be covered separately outside of this appraisal

  • 39 krishna // Jun 11, 2010 at 6:24 am

    Review the completed discussion points in A2, and note the points of the action

  • 40 Dr.Nagendra // Jun 12, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Can you send me your self appraisal sample copy

  • 41 Madhu Nepal // Jun 28, 2010 at 4:54 am

    Dear Sir
    I'm a in a Development Bank in Internal Audit & Compliance Department, I am unable to write self appraisal, Send me a brief information about this

  • 42 vijitha // Jun 30, 2010 at 6:46 am

    No you need not to do like that, because… by seeing such they will start to count
    your good things which you have done in your carrier by numbers.. and it will be a chance to compare with other

    Vijith Kumar CV
    Kallai, Calicut,India

  • 43 AJAY GOEL // Jul 25, 2010 at 7:22 am

    I AM UNABLE TO FILL MY APPRAISAL FORM. PLS HELP ME.
    THANKS
    AJAY

  • 44 ashish // Aug 3, 2010 at 7:03 am

    I am sr engineer mechanical (execution of power plant) please help me for filling my apprisal form

  • 45 prince // Aug 5, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Sir

    greetings. I am working as a service engineer in a company. i need to write appraisal to y management. can u help me?

  • 46 Tarun Chatterjee // Aug 20, 2010 at 3:28 am

    Sir

    I am working as a sr. supervisor in a logistics company. I need to write my job profile in self appraisal form provided by management. please guide me?

  • 47 Beena // Aug 26, 2010 at 2:33 am

    I am a Sr accountant in a pharma co. I have a experience of 12 years . But I am unable to write self appraisal. Plz guide me.

  • 48 pappu singh // Sep 4, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Sir

    I am working as a Marketing executive in company. I need to write my self appraisal given by management. please guide me?
    or Give the full formate where i can edit it.

  • 49 aaradhana sharma // Sep 10, 2010 at 2:07 am

    sir i’m trainee assistant in a commercial bank since 9 months i’ve to fill up the form of self appraisal.please help me

  • 50 Обяви // Oct 14, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    i am unable write my strength and weakness please advice me i am a service engineer for Dispensing units in Petrol pumps please suggest me how to make it

  • 51 Johny // Oct 18, 2010 at 1:40 am

    Help me in preparing a short writeup on me

  • 52 Edward // Nov 4, 2010 at 7:59 am

    I am unble to fill my appraisal form pls help me.

  • 53 Tong MW // Nov 8, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    I am working as a Assistant Project Manager in a medical center. I need to write my self appraisal given by management. please guide me? TQ!

  • 54 Nelson // Dec 14, 2010 at 2:52 am

    I’m working in a casino and focus on the shuttle bus operation, I need to write my self appraisal given by management. please guide me.

  • 55 sonatasy // Jan 4, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I can’t write a self appraisal too. Can you show me an example?

  • 56 Alias george // Jan 5, 2011 at 1:41 am

    I am working an Asst.manger in a supermarket
    i need write my self apprisal ,please guide me

  • 57 Indian // Jan 10, 2011 at 2:54 am

    I am working as a husband, please help me appraise my wife.

  • 58 SC // Jan 12, 2011 at 12:31 am

    Thank you for a terrific article. Are these other people for real? Your ideas were refreshing and new, after many years of rattling off all the good I never really stepped back and did a “strength and weakness” self appraisal….so obvious.

  • 59 David Christiansen // Jan 12, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Thanks. I think it’s funny that so many people think I will just help them. You’ll notice not one of them offered to pay me! I keep approving those comments hoping readers will get the hint, but, alas, no luck.

  • 60 sandeep dabhi // Jan 30, 2011 at 1:49 am

    help me,
    give me imformation about self appriasal system.
    what is self appriasal system.
    what is process.