Each year, or multiple times per year, say quarterly, the boss brings in each employee to his or her cushy corner office for that often dreaded, sometimes highly anticipated, but always expected, performance review. If you haven't had one yet, you're bound to eventually. But it's nothing to get frazzled about, in fact, it can bring you to the next phase of your career.
Whether or not you feel like you've done a stellar, or at least satisfactory job leading up to the review, the prospect of actually sitting there to have your work hashed out, picked apart, and evaluated is daunting. You want to appear confident and put forth the best version of yourself as you discuss your performance, from the A+ moments to those not-so-remarkable ones. Hey, we all have 'em.
You may be nervous, hopeful, or even self-assured, but no matter your emotions, you really never know what's going to go down. However, you can prep yourself in order to shine like the star you know you are or aspire to become. Follow these three tips so your performance review deserves a standing ovation!
Prepare Ahead of Time
Even the most confident employee should get ready before the big meeting. Collect your facts and figures, make notes, and rehearse key talking points. Of course you know what you've been up to since your last review, but your boss is busy, and may only have a broad overview of what you have done specifically. Listing out your main accomplishments and what you've done to move the needle will be imperative discussion points when your boss needs to know what makes you a value to the company.
As per USA Today, prepare a self-evaluation. "Plan ahead by keeping a file of your accomplishments. Then, prior to your review, draft a document reviewing your accomplishments. Use bullet points, making it easy to read with measurable outcomes. Provide your self-evaluation to your boss prior to your review."
This planning will allow your boss to save time during your meeting and already have a feel for what to further delve into. It will also show that you're organized and prepared. Plus, it will help you stick to a positive discussion trajectory and give your boss a better understanding of your progression and work ethic. It may also ease any jitters you have regarding forgetting prime topics you want to cover during the performance review.
State Plans for the Future – Personally and Professionally
So you've made it this far, but what's to come? A plan of action is just what your boss wants to learn about once you've followed up on the past. Knowing that your boss wants to hear about goals and moving forward is a positive sign that your performance review made the grade up to that point.
Talk about how you want to help make the company stronger and grow professionally – both for your own goals and for the good of the company. Forbes interviewed some members of the Young Entrepreneur Council. One member, Brittany Hodak or ZinePak said, "Entrepreneurs value employees who are constantly striving to make themselves better—having a more skilled team leads to a better company. Another member, Phil Laboon of Clear Sky added, "I am always looking for my employees to tell me things they would like to pursue within the company. By suggesting a project they would like to manage, it shows me their continued interest in the company. I feel confident that if it's a project they are suggesting, then they will excel at it."
Showing that you have a vested interest in the company's success is just as important as what you've done so far. There is always room for new strategies, projects, and improvement. Prove you're in it for the long haul and have visions for the months and years to come.
Discuss What's Not Benefiting You or the Company
Not every breath of your conversation during your review needs to be rainbows and butterflies. It's beneficial to discuss items that need improvement too. Honesty is valued and an ambition to do things better is always appreciated by an intelligent boss. It's also a good idea to discuss ways to change things up or introduce new practices and performance-enhancing programs or technology.
As per Forbes' interview with entrepreneurs, Manpreet Singh of Seva Call said, "I love it when team members keep me informed of new performance-enhancing options. And performance reviews are the perfect way to contextualize a conversation about the benefits of adopting new tools and methods."
When you can be open about room for improvement, everyone wins. As USA Today puts it, "Get consensus with your boss in terms of how you'll address your opportunity areas or weaknesses. Remember, we're all works-in-progress so have a positive attitude about improving your performance."
Keep your ideas well-formulated – don't go on a tirade about co-workers in the office or nitpick about inconsequential issues. Most importantly, at your next review, be prepared to exhibit how you've made progress in the areas discussed.
After a successful review and the timing is right, a raise in salary may be just what the doctor ordered. Need help in how to approach your boss to discuss a salary increase? Check out these tips to make it work in your favor.
Are you ready to shine at your performance review? Keep cool and show your boss you're an asset.
As anyone who has ever sold a house will tell you, you must prioritize curb appeal. Before a potential buyer even considers looking inside your house, they notice the outside first. Does it attract the right kind of attention? Does it take away from the feel you're going for? If you plan to sell sometime soon, you must think about these things. Here are some landscaping options to increase your home's curb appeal, so you can get the best price on your home.
Extensive Plants and Greenery
A barren front yard won't get you the price you want on your home. So, invest in at least a little bit of greenery to keep the surrounding area from looking too dead. Shrubs and bushes tie the house to the lawn that precedes it, and flower beds bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab structure. You can also strategically plant some trees to improve the overall feel of your home's exterior.
As we mentioned, your lawn is one of the most prominent features of your home's exterior. A patchy, dried-up lawn will quickly drive your home's price way down. Some of the best landscaping options for your home's curb appeal involve improving your lawn for the next inhabitant. Overall fertilization, ground aeration, underbrush removal, proper mowing—all of these lawn care tasks contribute to a greener and more lively area that invites people to see your house, rather than stay away from it.
There's nothing like a broken and disheveled pathway to make someone think twice about buying a property. Just as you want the entryway in your house to be welcoming, so too should the pathway leading up to the house be inviting. The pathway from the street to your front door provides plenty of real estate to get creative with. You don't have to settle for a boring concrete pathway. Consider something more eye catching, like a cobblestone path or intermittent brick patterns, as a way to better welcome potential buyers.
Usable Outdoor Furniture
Landscaping doesn't just involve the ground you walk on; also included are the items you use as extras to the overall look. Outdoor furniture is one such extra that you don't necessarily need but can look quite attractive if done correctly. Staging is important with outdoor furniture. Old, broken-down pieces will only look like more work to the potential buyer. A few comfortable chairs, a bench, or a table with an umbrella really go a long way to improving your outdoor aesthetics.
A good tip for deciding on curb appeal items is to decide what you personally would want to see as a part of a welcoming home's exterior. You don't need to go overboard, but a little bit of forethought could net you quite a lot of extra cash in the sale.
Many people strive to support their community by donating their time or their money. When you find a meaningful cause, you might be quick to cut a donation check. Though it's admirable to be quick to act charitably, you should be wary of several common mistakes made when giving to charity. Being mindful of these mistakes and learning tips for making informed charitable choices can help you make the most out of your generous check.
Acting Quickly Out of Emotion
Mission statements are meant to be compelling. If you're an emotionally driven individual, it's natural to pull out your wallet at the sight of a sad puppy on TV or when informed about food insecurity over the phone. Unfortunately, not all charities are as effective or official as they may seem.
Take your passion for helping others one step further by making sure your chosen charity is legit. Speaking with a representative, reviewing their website and social media accounts, and looking at testaments online can give you a better idea of whether the organization is worth your donation.
Forgetting to Keep Record of the Donation
Don't forget that you can reap some financial perks from giving back! With the proper documentation of your donation, you can acquire a better tax deductible.
If you donate more than $12,400 as a single filer or $24,800 as one of two joint filers, you're eligible to deduct that amount from your taxes. So, when a charity asks if you'd like a receipt of donation, always answer yes.
Donating Unusable Materials
Most charities can utilize a monetary donation—it's the physical donations that usually cause some issues. Providing a local nonprofit with irrelevant materials or gifting them with unusable products are surprisingly common mistakes made when giving to charity.
Always check your intended charity's website for a list of things they do and do not accept. The majority of places will provide a guideline to donating or offer contact information to clarify any questions.
Strictly Giving at Year's End
As more and more people get into the holiday spirit at the end of the year, nonprofit organizations see an influx of donations. While it's great to spread holiday cheer via a monetary donation, it's important to keep that spirit going year-round.
With regular donations, charities can more effectively allocate their annual budget. Setting up an automatic monthly donation with the charity of your choosing can maximize your impact. You can account for a monthly donation by foregoing a costly coffee every once in a while.
Knowing how much you should spend on home maintenance each year is hard to figure out and may be preventing you from buying your first home. The types of costs you'll incur depend on the house you buy and its location. The one certainty is that you should start saving now. Read on to figure out how much to start setting aside based on the home you own.
The Age of Your House
Consider several factors when budgeting for home repairs. If you've purchased a new home, your house likely won't require as much maintenance for a few years. Homes built 20 or more years ago are likely to require more maintenance, including replacing and keeping your windows clean. Further, depending on your home's location, weather can cause additional strain over time, so you may need to budget for more repairs.
The One-Percent Rule
An easy way to budget for home repairs is to follow the one-percent rule. Set aside one percent of your home's purchase price each year to cover maintenance costs. For instance, if you paid $200,000 for your home, you would set aside $2,000 each year. This plan is not foolproof. If you bought your home for a good deal during a buyer's market, your home could require more repairs than you've budgeted for.
The Square-Foot Rule
Easy to calculate, you can also budget for home maintenance by saving one dollar for every square foot of your home. This pricing method is more consistent than pricing it by how much you paid because the rate relies on the objective size of your home. Unfortunately, it does not consider inflation for the area where you live, so make sure you also budget for increased taxes and labor costs if you live in or near a city.
The Mix and Match Method
Since there is no infallible rule for how much you should spend on home maintenance, you can combine both methods to get an idea for a budget. Average your results from the square-foot rule and the one-percent rule to arrive at a budget that works for you. You should also increase your savings by 10 percent for each risk factor that affects your home, such as weather and age.
Holding on to savings is easier in theory than practice. Once you know how much you should spend on home maintenance, you'll know what to aim for and be more prepared for an emergency. If you are having trouble securing funds for home repairs, consider taking out a home equity loan, borrowing money from friends or family, or applying for funds through a home repair program through your local government for low-income individuals.