Get That Raise: How to Document Your Achievements

The end of the year is performance evaluation time for many workers, which means that now’s the time to gather up proof of your awesomeness in the hopes of impressing the boss. But before you can make your case for more money and responsibility, you need to tally up your accomplishments. Here’s how to do it.


(Photo Credit: 401(k) 2013/Flickr)

1. Choose a format you’re comfortable with.

Some people will find keeping a diary of their accomplishments in a Word document easiest; others will prefer a numbers-friendly spreadsheet. It really doesn’t matter how you log what you’ve done, as long as you’re able to pull out achievements fairly easily. (In other words, don’t keep one long, unorganized document full of undecipherable shorthand.)

2. Write things down as they happen. (And use a calendar to catch up on what you missed.)

This isn’t much help at the end of the year, but as long as you’re reflecting on the past and thinking about the future, make a New Year’s resolution to make notes as you go next year. For now, your Outlook or Google Calendar will help you recreate your accomplishments, especially if you use your calendar to track deadlines as well as meeting invitations.

3. Use numbers whenever possible.

Numbers are your friend in a meeting with your boss, especially if they have a number sign before them and show that you’ve made (or saved) the company money. Whenever possible, translate your achievements into mathematical terms.

4. Have context for your achievements and salary.

PayScale’s Research Center will tell you what other people with your job title and experience do in your job — and what they make for doing it.

5. Prepare a highlight reel.

Before the meeting, write down your biggest achievements, and include any praise you’ve received from your colleagues, as well as those numbers we talked about earlier. That way, when you do sit down with the boss, you’ll have your talking points right in front of you, and can add “persuasiveness” and “organizational skills” to his mental list of your good qualities.

Tell Us What You Think

How do you prepare for a performance evaluation? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.