Career Advice Professional Development

How To Self-Evaluate

Erin Davis
By: Erin Davis
Oct 6, 2020 • 7 min read

How To Self-Evaluate

Self-evaluation is a process that every applicant should strive to complete. Sometimes, it can be for a manager or performed at the company’s request, while other times, it can also be helpful to simply go through this process yourself. A self-evaluation is a useful tool to understand where strengths and weaknesses lay and can be helpful when looking to kick start motivation. The process is very introspective and can be time-consuming because of this. However, the deeper the self-evaluation is, the more beneficial it will be in a workplace or personal setting. Here is how to self-evaluate! 


Know the use of the self-evaluation

Typically, self-evaluations are part of a progress review in a business setting. For this reason, it is critical to begin by understanding what you plan to do with this self-evaluation. How this will be thought about could differ depending on if it is for personal growth, professional growth, being sent to a supervisor, or being discussed with a colleague. This identification process will allow you to consider the key aspects of your life or career you will be evaluating. This evaluation could fit into multiple categories, but the language and analysis must be appropriate for the purpose.

List accomplishments

It is good to start with the positives, and listing the recent accomplishments is a strong first step in this evaluation process. Think about the different projects, general communication progress, new opportunities, and skills that you have acquired, and describe them. This section should also include data, if possible. Especially in a professional setting, being able to back up this growth with data from a project, overall engagements, or even feedback can emphasize growth. This will look different depending on the field and position, but accomplishments paired with logical reasoning and data will help back up the points. 


Acknowledge struggles and weaknesses

With all growth will also come setbacks. It is equally important to document anything that has been difficult or skills that could be needed to work more efficiently and effectively. This could then show the employer where the employees could use some training. It also shows that you are self-aware and working on improvements. The language used in this section should also be positive and enthusiastic about the idea of growth.

Some examples could include:

“I realize I am weaker in my ___ skills, and plan to seek additional training,” or “During the project, I struggled with communication, but after various conversations and feedback from colleagues, I now understand and will be better in the future.” 

Compare and contrast with your career map

Most people have a document or mental picture of how your career should be progressing. Comparing these accomplishments and weaknesses with this career map will give an interesting perspective on progress. Maybe you thought you would still be in a starting position at this point? Or perhaps it was that you overestimated your growth and have been distracted by side projects recently? These types of comparisons will help make this self-evaluation useful and show how these life moments and developments compare to your personal goals and aspirations. Sometimes this can be challenging, so it is also important to remember that a plan is just a plan.


Lift yourself up when you self-evaluate

Self-evaluations should not be a space to put yourself down for not being where you may have thought you would be at this point. However, it still helps to use this method to grasp a feeling of progress and where you are in your career or life progression. Oftentimes, this can even inspire people to work harder and keep up the progress.

Align the review with manager and team goals

Your personal career map is not the only set of goals that this self-evaluation should be compared to. Again, it depends on who this self-evaluation is meant for, but it would be beneficial to think about the major goals you have set in a work environment. Many organizations have semi-regular meetings with managers, and this type of feedback from these meetings could be compared with the areas of weakness and accomplishments within your self-evaluation. This could be the most critical piece of the self-evaluation because it gives perspective on your company’s contributions. It can also be a great basis to use when asking for a raise or promotion or evaluating one.


Look for growth opportunities

In the end, it is most important to wrap it up by looking for opportunities. Sometimes these opportunities could be in correlation to the weaknesses and struggles. There are trainings, practices, courses, and more than can act as an actionable opportunity to improve on a weakness. However, there are still opportunities for growth that come from past growth. Projects that you really enjoyed could be an opportunity to explore more work similar to that.

Continue to learn while you self-evaluate

Success could be an opportunity to take charge of a new duty or utilize a new skill. These opportunities can also come with raises or a new position, but sometimes it is a simple opportunity. It could also be helpful to categorize these opportunities into different areas or interests you can develop. This can make the conclusion clear and concise. Growth is a key factor and motivator that companies and employers are always working towards. Learning to self-evaluate is key! 

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