Even exemplary employees can find it difficult to rate themselves in a performance review self evaluation. But, it is important to take the time to complete the self evaluation carefully to make sure you identify all your achievements for your manager to consider when completing your performance review.
Read all guidelines for your self evaluation and/or performance review. It is important that you follow all instructions and meet all deadlines for completion.
Schedule time to complete your self evaluation, and plan to submit it at least a day or two prior to the deadline. This will allow you sufficient time to properly prepare your evaluation so you are not rushed at the deadline.
Review the definitions of the performance review rating criteria. While you may think a 3 out of 5 is a poor rating, it might mean "average." It will be easier for you to rate yourself if you understand what each rating means.
Review your goals for the performance review rating period, and identify specific work/projects that support that goal. Write statements with proof that you have achieved the goal, listing project names and dates if possible.
Support negative statements with reasons or a work plan. For example, if you did not complete a goal to wrap up a certain project, give legitimate reasons why (not excuses) and an overview of the timeline for the project going forward.
Add any details that will remind your manager of the good work you have completed throughout the rating period. This is your chance to create a record of your achievements for your manager. Your manager might forget about that award you received several months ago -- make sure you remind her. Consider listing achievements/awards or even copying outstanding kudos messages from project manager emails.
Keep a dated list of achievements, training events attended, awards received, projects completed, etc. that you update periodically throughout the year. This will help you quickly complete your self evaluation for your next performance review.