Your Annual Review: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Anthony Fasano | Comments | December 7, 2012

In addition to the end of the year being the holiday season, for many engineers it is the time of a very important event in their career; their annual review.  I am referring to that meeting many of you have with your supervisor(s) every year to discuss your performance, goals, and of course the salary increase and/or promotion you are getting for the upcoming year.

In coaching countless engineers over the past few years, I have found that too many engineers and engineering managers don’t take their annual review seriously enough, however, I am struggling to figure out why.

Your annual review is your opportunity to show your supervisor(s) what you have accomplished in the past year, discuss your goals for the upcoming year, and ask for more (or less) responsibilities going forward.

You should never assume that your supervisor is aware of everything that you accomplished over the past year, especially if you work in a larger company.

Here are some recommendations for shining in your annual review.  I have successfully used these strategies in my engineering career to once get 4 pay raises in one year, so please take them seriously.

1.     Prepare a list of your accomplishments over the last year and submit it to your supervisor well in advance of your review; don’t just fill out the review preparation sheet that they give you.

2.     Prepare a list of goals for the upcoming year to be submitted with the list mentioned in #1 above.

3.     Prepare a list of questions to ask during your review.  For example, “Where would you like to see me in a year from now?”  Go over these questions and memorize them prior to the review.

4.     Do some salary research prior to your review and have an idea of what raise/salary you would like to have.  If you are offered less, ask if they can re-evaluate the raise based on your accomplishments and the current industry salary scale (based on your research.)

5.     If you didn’t get the promotion you were aiming for, ask your supervisor if he or she could explain why and ask what advice he or she has for you in order to get the promotion next year or before that.

Utilizing some of the strategies listed above can help you to capitalize on all of the hard work and long hours you have out in over the last year.  It’s sad to say it, but sometimes the only thing stopping us from getting a raise in our current position is to ask for it.

This is a guest post by Anthony Fasano, PE, author of Engineer Your Own Success. Anthony found success as an engineer at a very early age and now writes and podcasts to help other engineers do the same. Visit Anthony’s website and subscribe to the top 3 resources Anthony has used to become a partner in a firm at the age of 27.