Filling out your performance review can be both an exciting and daunting task. Most of us need to fill it out every year, and it usually contains a section on goals for the upcoming period (usually a year). In this article, I’m sharing some advice that I used when thinking about goals to put on my performance review.
I found the inspiration for this post as I was filling out my own performance review. My review with my current employer happens every June, and the process starts in April. I need to come up with some goals for my review for the upcoming year, and I thought, what do I put down?
After filling out my own review form and sending it to HR, I thought, how could my readers benefit from this experience? So I decided to write this article to help you come up with some goals for your review.
Why Do You Need Goals To Put On Your Performance Review?
The first thing many of you (myself included) may be thinking about is, “why do you even need to put goals on your performance review?”
It’s a valid question.
Shouldn’t performance reviews be just that, a review of your performance? That would make sense! However, the performance review is just a common term for this process.
The aim of this review process is to discuss how you have been performing for the previous period, and then to make plans for your job and career for the next period (once again, usually a year). The “plans” part is where the goals come in.
Setting goals for a performance review is good so you know what to focus on for the next year, whether it’s improvements in your current role or advancing to something else.
The goals in a performance review are usually revisited on your next review as well. So, for example, during review #1, any goals you set there would be checked again during review #2 to see if you have met them. Setting good goals will help you get a good result on your performance review.
Alright, with that said, let’s have a look at some goals to put on your performance review.
Improve Skills That You’re Not Strong In
One of the most common goals I’ve put down in the past is around improving skills that I’m not strong in. I think it’s a good goal to have. We should all be trying to improve as we progress through our careers, and to do this, we improve the skills that we’re not good at.
Some of the skills I put down as goals were around verbal communication, effective emails, and Microsoft SQL. It made me focus on improving those as the year went on.
What skills can you think of that you’re not strong in? Of course, you have your major skills, the ones that got you hired for your current role (Java development, testing, project management, SQL), but what other skills do you think are essential to know but you don’t feel comfortable with?
A goal to put on your performance review around these skills could be:
- Improve my Microsoft Word skills so that I can effectively create documentation to help with my role
- Improve my presentation skills so I can feel more comfortable when presenting topics to a small group of people
- Improve my skills and knowledge of server-side scripting so that I can do my job faster and easier
Get A Certification
A great goal to put on your performance review is to get a certification.
The IT industry has many certifications that are available. While a lot of them aren’t software career focused (they are focused towards networking, servers, hardware, security), you still have quite a range of certifications you can get.
Setting a goal for your review to get a certification is a great goal because it’s measurable, it gives you knowledge to improve your career, and it serves as a standard for your industry. For example, if you have the ITIL v3 Foundation certification, the industry knows what that means and what is involved.
What certifications are available for your current role? Do a Google search for some that are related. Many areas of the software industry have certifications – there are some for testers, business analysts, developers, database programmers, and all kinds of roles.
Some examples of certification goals to put on your performance review would be:
- Obtain my Oracle Database Administrator Certified Associate certification
- Study for and book in my exam for the ISTQB Foundation exam
- Meet the minimum requirements for the Project Management Professional certification
Be More Active In The Company
Companies like to have employees that are involved and contribute back to the company. It helps to improve the culture and employee engagement, and makes employees happier overall.
This can be hard for employers to improve though, as you can’t really force employees to be more involved. For this reason, employers like it when you are more active in the company.
Setting a goal to be more active in the company, either specifically or generally, is a good goal to put on your performance review. Some examples of some areas you could be more active in your company include:
- Company sporting team
- Organising social events (drinks, movie sessions, lunches)
- Charities and fund raising
- Birthdays, Christmas events, or other themed events
What ways could you contribute more to your company? They don’t have to be from the list above, but it’s a start. Adding a goal relating to contribution to the company is helpful for your review – as long as you plan to follow it up.
Hopefully these tips will help you think of some goals to put on your performance review. What questions do you have about goals for performance reviews? Share them in the comments section below!
Also, from now on, each of my posts will have a section called “Career Action”. This will be a short paragraph or sentence that contains an action that you can take right away to improve your career, that’s related to the topic of this post. It’s a way I can help you to take some action and help your career, for the posts that I put up. Even the posts that are high-level and are not immediately actionable will have this step. So stay tuned for these tips!
Career Action: Make a list of skills you’re not strong in and would like to improve. Research certifications that interest you and can improve your current role. Finally, think of some ways you can contribute back to your company. Keep these in a location you can use for your next performance review.
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