How to perform in a performance review

The annual performance review (APR) is a time-honored tradition of the corporate jungle gym, whereby each year employees are assessed based on accomplishment, industry, and potential. Through interviews and objective metrics, employers have used the APR for years to determine concrete staffing decisions like promotions and even firings.

The stress of proving your worth to a company can induce the kind of stage fright we all dread in an important job interview. However, when both the employer and employee recognize the mutual benefit of the APR barometer, everybody wins. Here are some tips for acing a performance review:

1. Keep a log.

In a perfect world, our direct superiors know the ins and outs of our triumphs on the job, the fullness of our plates, and the gusto with which we attack our assignments. However, especially in a layered and fast-paced work environment, it can be difficult to to track our accomplishments from the outside. By keeping an inventory of them, you can supply your manager, HR department and yourself with a handy list of the headway you've made. 

2. Set new goals.

"In drafting your goals, you might want to look for opportunities to expand your duties, broaden your knowledge, or take on more responsibility," recommends Halogen Software, a talent management agency. Making them plain to your reviewer demonstrates valuable focus. 

3. Spiff up your brand. 

None of us is exactly the same as the professional we were when we first joined a company. An APR gives you a chance to make a clear statement of who you are, what you're doing, and where you're going. Feel your goals shifting toward the creative? Make room for them in your interview. You may never have a better chance to be honest and direct about what you want.