Career Development

How to Write a Self-Appraisal

June 9, 2021

This article has been approved by an Indeed Career Coach


An effective self-appraisal will help align your goals with those of your organization and clearly focus your career objectives. When you write an honest and accurate self-assessment, you can help ensure that you advance more smoothly in your career. In this article, we will discuss the importance of a self-appraisal and how to write one.

What is a self-appraisal?

A self-appraisal is an assessment you write to characterize your performance during a specific period at work. You will usually write a self-appraisal as part of your annual performance evaluation. You will most likely include achievements, accomplished goals and any metrics on how you helped the company. It should be an honest appraisal, so include any challenges you had to overcome.

Why you should write a self-appraisal

Self-appraisals are beneficial for both you and your manager in the following ways:

It helps you reflect

Reviewing your year of work will help you understand what you are doing well and what could use some improvement. You can work on honing your best skills and on learning more about your weak points. Self-assessments also help you determine your career goals. If you find that you are shifting toward a specific part of your work, you can think about taking steps toward that path.

It allows for conversation

You and your manager will probably review your self-appraisal together, so you can talk about why you chose to highlight specific parts of that period of time. Your manager will be able to understand your contributions and aims and can offer constructive feedback. 

You can advance your career

After reflection and conversation, your manager may believe that you are capable of a higher position or that you deserve more compensation for exceeded goals or additional responsibilities. 

How to write a self-appraisal

Make sure you write a thorough evaluation of yourself that encompasses all aspects of your work. If you are unsure of where to start or what to include, here are some tips to help you:

  1. Highlight your accomplishments.
  2. Gather data to showcase your achievements.
  3. Align yourself with the company.
  4. Reflect objectively on any mistakes.
  5. Set goals.
  6. Ask for anything you need to improve.
  7. Get a second opinion.

1. Highlight your accomplishments

You can start by evaluating your positive contributions. Your annual self-evaluation is the perfect place to highlight your professional accomplishments and the objectives you achieved throughout the year.

If you have kept track of your achievements during the year, use that list as an outline for showcasing what you have accomplished. If you do not have a list of your accomplishments, take the time to review the past year’s work calendar. Make a note of your significant assignments, projects and successes. Include everything you can think of for now, and then edit down the full list to a manageable length.

Remember that when writing a good self-assessment, it is important to pinpoint clear and specific examples of your merit. As you narrow down your list of top accomplishments, make sure each one demonstrates your work ethic, showcases your professional skills and establishes the unique value that you bring to the company.

Related: Tips to Demonstrate Work Ethic

2. Gather data to showcase your achievements

To add substance to your achievements, take the time to include relevant data, facts and figures. If you are writing a self-performance review for the first time, you might not have data from the prior period to compare. In that case, focus exclusively on your first-year numbers, such as how many clients you acquired, how many dollars’ worth of products or services you sold or how many support tickets you closed successfully.

If you have written a self-evaluation for your company before, compare the numbers from this period to those from the prior period to reflect on your growth. In this case, you can calculate percentages to show how much your sales increased or how much your performance improved. If you set goals at the beginning of the year or when you submitted your last assessment, try using them as benchmarks to showcase your accomplishments.

3. Align yourself with the company

Writing your self-evaluation is the perfect opportunity to showcase how you specifically contribute to the department. Take the time to explain your role’s significance so that your supervisor better understands your dedication and contributions.

To position yourself within your department, try to give your accomplishments added context by discussing how your achievement helped the team do something greater. To align yourself with your boss, frame your successes within the objectives that matter most to management. Taking this step gives you the chance to describe why your work matters.

4. Reflect objectively on challenges

While your personal assessment should start by highlighting your accomplishments, this report should include any setbacks you may have encountered.

Instead of including details and data as you did with your accomplishments, focus on what your mistakes taught you. For example, rather than calculating the total losses that you may have caused, highlight what you learned from the situation and how this knowledge will improve your future work. Explaining what you learned will demonstrate your ability to learn and grow. 

5. Set goals

Setting goals and outlining how you plan to improve can be one of the most satisfying parts of writing your evaluation.

Start by discussing how you plan to aim higher in your current role, and try to include as many details as possible. Set Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-sensitive (SMART) goals that show how you will improve in key areas. You can share your plan to raise your sales goals by a certain percentage or bring in a set number of new patients within a predetermined period.

Next, focus on bigger professional goals that help you build a successful career. Discuss objectives such as gaining experience with certain tasks or acquiring select skills that will make you a competitive candidate for an advanced position. 

Read more: Setting Goals to Improve Your Career

6. Ask for anything you need to improve

After detailing your goals for the upcoming year, take the chance to ask for what you need to accomplish these new objectives. 

Consider asking to join a committee that will help you develop your leadership skills. Request to participate in meetings that will give you greater insight into sales, marketing or other areas where you plan to improve. Ask to attend a conference that will help you make important connections in your industry. Remember to focus your requests on improving yourself as something that will benefit the company.

7. Get a second opinion

If you cannot decide what to write on your self-performance evaluation, ask for a second opinion. Try asking coworkers for advice about major projects they would highlight. Consider asking leaders about key accomplishments your team met where you had an integral part. If you have a mentor, ask them to review your self-evaluation. Use the input you receive to make sure your self-appraisal comes across as professional, positive and productive.

Self-appraisal example

Here is an example of a self-appraisal for a customer service representative:

“During my third year as a customer service representative with Larger Logistics, Inc., I exceeded my previous year’s goals. I was able to reduce call times by 17% and increased customer satisfaction by 9%. I believe my critical thinking skills and ability to empathize with customers helped me excel.

Additionally, the company gave my team the task to keep our unresolved ticket queue under 100. I managed to successfully resolve three more tickets per day than each of my coworkers. My dedication to Larger Logistics helps me stay motivated and focused on my tasks.

During the third quarter, I encountered a particularly challenging customer issue. Her account had been charged triple the amount it should have been without explanation, causing her unexpected cash flow issues. As her customer service representative, I listened to her explanation and immediately apologized for the inconvenience. I put her on a brief hold while I investigated her account. I found that the cause of the overcharge was an oversight I could have fixed before it happened.

When I resumed the call, I apologized again and explained what happened. I authorized an immediate credit to her account so she could resume her business normally. I also implemented a weekly account check so I could ensure the issue would not happen again.

For this coming year with Larger Logistics, I want to improve my leadership skills by enrolling in the company’s leadership training program. I believe I possess the requisite experience to pursue a leadership role in my department. As a leader, I would strive to reduce call times and recurring calls. I would also implement more team-building activities that would help the customer service department work together as a team to better assist customers.

I look forward to the coming years with Larger Logistics and continuing to help the company succeed.”

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