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5 ways to get what you need out of a performance review

Savvy employees think about performance reviews all year long.

Many employees dread performance reviews — fearing the potential for criticism — but savvy ones know that it's an opportunity to take a proactive approach, even in challenging economic times. When review time rolls around at your workplace, use these five strategies to maximize your potential and advance your career:

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Set goals.

"Employees need to establish goals and objectives for themselves that are challenging, achievable and measureable," says Angel L. Torres López, DBA, a management professional with more than 35 years' experience who teaches in the MBA program at the University of Phoenix Puerto Rico Campus.

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Keep track of your accomplishments.

"The best method to ensure positive performance reviews is to view the process as a continuum rather than a once-a-year event," says Aaron Kenneston, a retired Army colonel with more than 30 years' experience in personnel management. Kenneston teaches MBA courses at the University of Phoenix Northern Nevada Campus.

By monitoring their achievements, both large and small, employees can demonstrate their value all year long, and not just at review time. Kenneston recommends using the "Task" function of a calendar program, such as Microsoft® Outlook, to track and later share accomplishments with supervisors, especially at review time.

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Write a self-assessment.

Employees should assess their own work strengths and weaknesses, and share that information with supervisors. “Every employee possesses the basic tools to conduct an informal 360-degree self-review,” says Kenneston.

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Stay motivated.

Receiving negative feedback doesn't have to be a downer — instead, use it as a motivator, suggests Torres López. "The role of a performance review is to tell a worker how he is executing the job for which he was hired," he says. Employees can also use their performance review results to help them determine when to ask for a promotion, or whether it's time to move on, according to Torres López. "Performance reviews are the main tool used by many employers to give promotions [as a reward] for good job execution," he says, adding that an employee with consistently poor reviews might take them as a sign the job or company is not a good fit.

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Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Employees should assess their own work strengths and weaknesses, and share that information with supervisors. "Every employee possesses the basic tools to conduct an informal 360-degree self-review," says Kenneston.

Microsoft® Outlook is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.

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