reviewAs the holidays approach, of course this means we’re heading into the latter part of 2013 at full speed!

For many employees, year-end signifies that annual performance review. As per this piece on U.S. News & World Report, there are a few pointers to make the most out of it.

1. Review. Sounds simple enough, right? Compare your original job description to your current responsibilities. In the piece Robin Reshwan writes,

“Find your original job description and evaluate each line to determine how you performed. Using a scale from one to five, rank your performance in each of the areas. If you give yourself a one, it means you had little or no skill in this area, while a five ranking means you excelled beyond other peers or similarly qualified professionals. This is not a time to be overly critical, but to note at least two examples that reflect your strengths and substantiate your rankings. Average all of your scores to get an overall picture of your contributions relative to the position requirements.”

2. Reduce. Not yourself, silly. Instead of perhaps going into your year-end meeting with your boss concerned about cutbacks and staff reductions, go in there confidently. In fact, go in there prepared. Figure out how you’ve perhaps managed to reduce time or costs on the job. Maybe your attention to detail minimized errors or your incredible efficiency reduced delays. She adds, “Any measureable reduction in time or costs is a benefit to your employer and a plus for your career options.”

3. Reward. Once you’ve outlined your value and made your case, figure out what you want as a reward. Of course, we know your employer may only have so much money to go around but go into that meeting thinking about additional ways to be rewarded. Maybe it’s more responsibilities or a change in your work. Maybe there’s training you can attend to bolster your skills on the company’s dime or industry events you can attend. Ask to be included in various meetings and business trips that interest you and ask for more exposure by expressing your interest in working with different departments.

4. Request. Although it’s easy to put off the meeting and not make it a priority, get it on your boss’ calendar! Make a meeting request sooner rather than later as frenetic holiday calendars start filling up. If your boss has a dozen or more reviews to give, wouldn’t you want him or her to meet with you while they’re fresh and alert?

She writes, “If your review isn’t until January, you may request a preliminary meeting to get insight into your manager’s perspective. This pre-meeting will allow you to rectify any performance issues before the actual review.”

5. Rewrite. After your meeting, recap the discussion along with anticipated action items. This will not only ensure you’re on the same page, it will give you the opportunity to address any miscommunication before the document’s officially signed, sealed and delivered to your HR department.