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How to Write Employee Comments to Fill Appraisal Documents

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Writing about yourself can be difficult, especially if it's the annual performance appraisal that you never looked forward to, anyway. Each year, it seems that many employees and supervisors would rather do anything else than the chore of rating themselves and their subordinates. Performance appraisals can affect your employment status -- a salary increase, promotion, job assignment or even continued employment may depend on your well-thought-out comments.

Use a Balanced Approach

It takes a delicate hand to strike a balance between being modest and tooting your own horn when you rate your job performance. Don't sell yourself short by failing to showcase your skills, yet avoid being too cocky about your abilities because it could rub your boss the wrong way -- especially if your boss' appraisal doesn't reflect such a high opinion of the quality of your work, your work ethic or your ability to meet the company's expectations.

Examine Job Skills

Comparing your job skills to the required skills and preferred skills for your job is a solid foundation for writing your appraisal comments. Review your job description and list the skills that are required; do the same thing for preferred skills. Take inventory of your job skills, meaning the skills you possessed when you accepted the job and the skills you've acquired during the course of your employment. If you acquired skills that you haven't yet put to use, explain how the skills training will improve your future performance.

Showcase Noteworthy Accomplishments

Describe the accomplishments of which you're especially proud, particularly if they're tangible, measurable ones. For example, if you increased your sales by 25 percent when the company's expectation is for sales personnel to make the 10 percent mark, include that in a section titled "Noteworthy Accomplishments." Alternatively, list any commendations or praise you've received from peers, clients and supervisors during the past year or the length of the appraisal period.

Show Team Spirit

Whether you're part of a loosely structured work group or assigned to a specific team, describe your interactions with colleagues, subordinates and supervisors in a positive tone. Your appraisal document isn't the place for griping about co-workers or complaining about being the workhorse for your team. Focus on what you contribute -- not what others don't contribute. Your appraisal should contain very few, if any, mention of co-workers, unless you're describing a successful team effort.

Envision The Future

Your appraisal comments may affect the immediate future, meaning a raise or a promotion based on excellent work. But include comments that address your future with the company and your part in helping attain its goals. For example, Forbes contributor Lisa Quast recommends a "career development plan" in her January 2014 article, "Self-Evaluations: The Key to Career Development." Your career development plan is fundamental for achieving future success with the company and is an effective way broach the topic of professional growth and advancement opportunity with your employer.


Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

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