Hey Homies! How’s your summer going? These
are the days when the pace at work moves slower and you can breathe a little
easier before the hustle and bustle picks up again come fall. Hopefully, you’re
having a blast with friends and loved ones, getting in some traveling, or indulging
in your favorite outdoor hobbies.

While you should enjoy the down time,
there’s one work-related item that you should be entertaining: your upcoming
annual performance review.

You’re likely thinking: “Ugh. Can’t I
just enjoy these last days of summer?!?! Do I have to think about my review now?

Yeah, Homie, you do. Here’s why:

While chucking the annual review is becoming a trend in big
, it isn’t commonplace. This
means it’s likely that you’ll still have to contend with this Corporate America
tradition and the time to prepare for it isn’t a few weeks before the sit down
with the boss. In fact, every quarter you should be taking steps that will get
you that much closer to achieving your performance goals. And because you’re a
stellar Corporate Homie, you’re not looking to just do well – you’re wanting to
knock it out the park!

Achieving those goals will require you
to implement a strategy that will help you be a standout in the office. Don’t
leave it to chance that you’ll get the raise and praise you’re expecting come
review time. Implement the advice below to increase the odds going in your

1.   Know Thyself.
Do a thorough assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.  What areas have you mastered? What areas need
more work? What new skills have you learned? Evaluating where you are
professionally now makes it possible to see how far you’ve come since last
year’s review and if there’s time to correct areas where you may have fallen

2.   Seek Out Worthy Opportunities. Sure, you’re good at your job and execute your
responsibilities without fail. But if all you’re doing is what’s required, that
may come to haunt you at review time. Boost your profile by requesting to
attend an industry conference and offering to share what you learned with your
colleagues. Or take a short course that will allow you to quickly use your
newly gained skill on the job. Volunteering on committee and requesting to be
added to big-stakes projects also can raise your work profile.

3.   Up Your Communication Game. Think you’re communicating enough with your boss?
Chances are, you’re not. While it’s not necessary that you make contact every
hour on the hour, it’s important that you reach out to your supervisor daily.
And quick pop-ins into his or her office for oddball chatter won’t cut it.
Remember, effective communication is the goal here. So make sure your email
updates about that big project are insightful, error-free, and meaty with
relevant information. Keep visits to the boss’s office more business-focused
and less random stops for chit-chat.

remember, non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal. A smile, eye
contact, and good posture can say a lot about you without your saying a word.

4.   Check Your Bad Habits. This time of year, it’s tempting to start slacking on
some things: coming in late, leaving early, dressing casually on a Tuesday. The
good news is there’s time to turn things around. Pump the brakes on anything
that could potentially put you in a bad light. Manage your time well, curb
unnecessary socializing, cut back on surfing the web. Research shows that it’s
best to adopt the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Rewardable, Trackable) system to
develop good habits, which takes about 90 days.

5.   Keep Track of Your Accomplishments. Don’t wait until the day before your review to make
a list of your greatest hits. If you don’t have a work journal, consider
starting one. Along with writing down the events of the day, make a note of any
major moves you’ve made that will aid you come review time. Also, be sure to
recognize any high-fives from the boss, especially verbal accolades made in
passing (i.e. “Hey, Keisha, great job on the Adams account” while in the break

Remember, you are ultimately responsible for the
trajectory of your career, Homie. So take the initiative to prepare for the
annual review months in advance. Bump up your work performance and you’re more
likely to get the bump in pay you expect.