As part of an employee’s performance review, they might be asked to complete a self-evaluation to give employers more insight to their performance and growth.
While this can be a challenging and intimidating task, there’s no need to fear the self-evaluation. Instead, use these tips and templates to write a self-evaluation that highlights your skills and improvement.
An employee self-evaluation (also known as a “self-appraisal”) is a review system in which an employee is asked to evaluate their own job performance over a given period.
Usually, the self-evaluation is assigned to an employee shortly before their annual performance review. The responses will then be taken into consideration as part of the employer’s overall evaluation of the employee’s performance.
Therefore, it’s important that the employee is honest about their strengths and weaknesses, but they should also take advantage of this opportunity to showcase their achievements (especially since the evaluation might be used to determine raises or promotions).
If you’ve been asked to write a self-evaluation, there are some important tips you’ll want to consider to make the most of your review experience.
How to Write a Self-Evaluation
Below are several elements you’ll want to include when writing your self-evaluation.
1. List Your Accomplishments
Before writing your self-evaluation, take some time to brainstorm a list of your accomplishments since the last review period.
Start by listing any and all achievements that come to mind, along with your best strengths. Later, you can narrow them down to the most relevant and significant ones, but for now it’s good to get all of your ideas on paper.
Whenever you can, use quantifiable data (achievements that can be measured with numbers, hours, or percentages).
Expressing your accomplishments in numbers makes it easier for employers to understand just how much you’ve contributed (and they’ll appreciate that you took the time to do the math for them).
If you’ve trained other employees, taken on new responsibilities, or taken initiative in any other way since your last review, be sure to include that as well. Employers will look at these kinds of achievements when considering promotions or raises.
2. List Your Areas in Need of Improvement
This part may feel like a bit of a trick question, like when an interviewer asks “What’s your biggest weakness?”
But there’s really no need to overthink it. Be honest with yourself about the areas you think need improvement without being too hard on yourself.
If you tend to be too self-critical, try asking your colleagues for their feedback on your strengths and weaknesses. You may be surprised by how well they think you’re doing!
When you do acknowledge areas of improvement, try to pair them with actionable plans that you can discuss with your boss. This will show that you’re able to take initiative and come up with solutions on your own.
Always acknowledge what you learned from your mistakes or shortcomings and explain how you’ll use those lessons to grow.
For example: After missing several deadlines, I realized my need for better time management skills. Since then, I’ve created daily, prioritized to-do lists to help me stay on track with my goals.
3. Don’t Play the Blame Game
When discussing your shortcomings, always own them. Don’t drag others into the discussion by talking about what they could or should have done; it’s not attractive, and if you want to give a real answer, your boss will be more impressed by your ability to take responsibility.
Of course, if you feel someone really is weighing the team down, you should discuss that with them and your boss—but not during your performance review.
4. Discuss Your Goals
The self-evaluation isn’t just about your past. You should also take this opportunity to (briefly) mention your professional goals for the next review period.
A good manager or supervisor will genuinely care about your goals and helping you devise a plan for reaching them.
If you think you could benefit from any additional training, shadowing, or other resources, you can mention that here.
When you finally do sit down to write the evaluation, try to be as concise as possible. No need to write a novel here—just focus on the strengths and accomplishments that are most relevant and in line with your company’s mission.
It’s also a good idea to list your accomplishments in order of significance, starting with the biggest ones first.
Keep in mind that your self-appraisal will be read by your boss, but it’s also likely to follow you around for quite a while. Once it’s tucked into your personnel file, it might be seen by HR team members, executives, and leaders of other departments, should you ever switch over.
Thus, it’s important that you make a good impression, even if writing isn’t usually a big part of your job. Ask a friend, colleague, or family member to read over your self-evaluation after you’ve proofread it a few times.
You may also wish to run it through a proofreading software like Grammarly, just to give it another comb-through for errors.
Self-Appraisal Answers Examples PDF
When writing your self-evaluation, you might be asked a series of questions, or asked to summarize your answer in a few paragraphs.
Below are some of the most common questions you might encounter or want to address in your written response, along with examples of strong answers.
What have been your biggest challenges?
When I started as [Position Title] [X time ago], the department was undergoing a variety of transformative changes. I also came on board having very little experience in my new position, which meant I had to do a lot of learning on the job. However, I was able to adapt quickly and learned a lot of information in a very short period.
What have you done to overcome those challenges?
As I was relatively new to this field, I took the opportunity to learn from my colleagues, and worked extra hours on multiple occasions to make sure [Project X] was completed as smoothly as possible. I tried to learn as much as I could from those who have been here longer, and I checked in regularly with my team members and those under my supervision to ask for their feedback. As a result, I was able to effectively target areas that needed improvement and identify what was working well.
What were some of your biggest achievements?
In the last year, our sales have experienced a 49% growth under my supervision and thanks to the efforts of my hardworking team. I have also helped to streamline our outreach process by creating more efficient SOPs, which also made it easier for our new hires to transition and become productive members of the team.
Which challenges were you unable to overcome?
There were several occasions in which I feel I could have done a better job communicating with my team. Since I was very new to the field, I sometimes lacked the confidence to give instructions and act as a leader. Although I was able to learn a lot from colleagues, I feel I could have been more confident in my ability to lead and share suggestions.
How could you handle them differently?
Going forward, I will make decisions with greater confidence and speak up when I feel it is appropriate to do so. I have enrolled in our online training sessions on leadership to learn how I can become a stronger leader for the team.
What are some of your goals for the next review period?
For the next review period, I would love to work more closely with our Communications team to better understand their relationship with our department.
Download these self-evaluation answers examples in PDF format.
Need help structuring your self-evaluation? We’ve created this handy template to guide you through it.
Download and fill out our self-evaluation template to make your next review period easier.
Have you ever written a self-evaluation? Share your tips and experience in the comments below!