How to Handle Your Year End Performance Review

Written by: Alexandra Dickson, CEO & Founder, Ask For It 

Year end performance reviews are coming up. Maybe you’re looking for a raise or are hungry for a new challenge? Whatever it is that you’re hoping for, you can prepare to ask for it in three simple but powerful steps. You can get clarity and gain confidence to negotiate before that next meeting with your boss.

Gather your evidence.

Evidence can be broken down in two ways — value you’ve created and value you’ve saved your company. Set aside some time to go back through your notes and notable emails from the year to refresh your memory and make it easier to speak to your accomplishments. Then assess: what value have you created for your team or company? Think bigger when it comes to value; it doesn’t necessarily have to mean sales or revenue. Value you’ve created could be launching a new initiative, bringing on a new partner or inventing a new campaign. Do quantify this if at all possible, whether in terms of dollars, number of people impacted, or any other relevant metric, but know that value doesn’t always mean money.

What value have you saved? Again, value you’ve saved could mean financial savings, or it could mean increased efficiencies. If someone on your team left and you’ve been taking on their projects rather than filling the position, there’s an example of value you’ve saved.

Do the right research

How will you know what to ask for if you don’t do some benchmarking? Your goal should be to get data points from both inside your own company and more broadly, in your industry.

You can start your research online using websites like Glassdoor, PayScale and, but you need to go further to get really useful information. Make it a priority to speak to half a dozen people: three men and three women. Ask people who would know how much someone in your position typically makes. This could be your own colleagues, if you feel comfortable asking them, or someone who’s doing a similar job to you at another company, or even an industry mentor who hires people at your level. I realize this may make you uncomfortable, but trust me, it’s worth it. You’ll go into your negotiation with much more confidence and it will make it easier for you advocate for yourself.

Feeling tongue tied? Try this simple script:

“I’m doing research because I’m preparing to ask for a raise, and I think you have some information that could help me. Would you be willing to share your ballpark salary with me?”


Grab a trusted friend or colleague and ask them to do a little practicing with you. If you’ve never asked for a raise before, repeating your request out loud is an easy and effective way to give yourself the best chance of success. 

Not sure how to put it all together? Try something like this, and be sure to tailor it to your personal situation: “According to my research, similar positions in our industry pay about X. But I didn’t just take the salary guides I found online as gospel. I went further and spoke with some folks in similar roles, so I know my request is in line with the current marketplace.”

Use your review as an opportunity to cash in on your hard work all year long. Build your case, shore up your confidence, get in there and ask for it.