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Get Through Your Performance Review — And Feel Awesome About It

This post originally appeared on the blog,

By Emilie Moy

Your first performance review will sneak up on you quicker than you think, and as industry veterans will tell you, they can be tricky terrain. Sure, you already got the job, but reviews act much like a second interview to evaluate how well you’re doing that job. Instead of talking about how you could benefit the company, it’s a candid discussion about how you are (or aren’t) benefiting the company and assessing your growth potential. Before you panic, here are some insider tips to make the review process a bit less nerve-wracking.

Say, “Thank you.” If you remember one thing, use this time to thank your boss for well, being your boss. You may not be after work happy hour besties, but she’s the one who corrects your silly mistakes and will ultimately give you the tools you need to grow as an employee. Plus, she’ll really appreciate you pointing out how she’s helped you grow.

Learn how to humble brag. Have an article that went viral last month? Save the link. Got a thousand shares on a post you curated? Take note. These are quantitative ways to show how your hard work has benefitted the company. Just make sure to highlight your achievements as something benefitting the company, not your ego. Consider using the same tone you would to answer, “Tell me about yourself,” in an interview.

Be prepared. A full blown PowerPoint presentation may be going a bit overboard, but if you want to impress your boss make a list of items you want to discuss. It’s a good way to make sure you can address all your concerns and it shows you’re taking the meeting seriously. Make sure you’re prepared to answer any questions your boss might have, too, like how you’re finding your workload, where you think you’re still struggling and how you see your career evolving at the company.

Bring up money. This can be the trickiest part of a review. You’ll want to bring up compensation after you’ve discussed your contributions to the company and taken note of where you need to improve. Talking about money can be tough, so it’s a good idea to go into your review with a number in mind. A few things can (and likely, will) happen: Your boss might take your ask into consideration (and have to get back to you), give you a counteroffer or explain she’s unable to give you a raise due to budget constraints or underperformance. In all of these cases, thank your boss for her consideration, take some time to think about it and decide what to do next to avoid any rash action.

Caroline Vazzana is a fashion writer, editor, and stylist living and working in her hometown of New York. She’s worked for Anna Sui, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and InStyle. She has collaborated with designers including Betsey Johnson and Diane Von Furstenberg, and has styled celebrities for various red carpets like the MTV Video Music Awards and Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. Caroline is currently the Founder & Creative Director of where she hopes to shed light on the industry to the future fashion generation. Make sure to follow her everywhere @cvazzana for an inside look into her day to day in NYC. 

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