March 3, 2014 | Barb Carr

Career Development: 6 Questions To Advance Your Career Right Now (and a Humorous Look Back)

Do you ever review old reports you wrote, important e-mails you sent, big projects you completed and cringe? Reviewing past work can be a little scary, but an honest self-evaluation can be a great opportunity to advance your career development.

A lot of employers send the message that, “If I don’t say anything to you, then you are doing a good job.” But this doesn’t do much for your career advancement and development. In fact, this kind culture can really make you feel stuck. And why do we give so much credit to what someone else says about our work anyway? We should avoid letting the comments of others define our potential and capabilities. And we should avoid giving someone else all of the responsibility for our own advancement.

Reviewing old work and writing out a self-evaluation for your eyes only just once a year is a proactive step for performance improvement. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming to do this.

Here are six simple questions to consider that will help you set your own professional goals and advance your career:

1. What are my strengths? (Not what other people think they are, what you think they are. Write them down!)
2. How can I use them more in my current tasks? (Brainstorm some ideas – you’ll be surprised at the results!)
3. What are my weaknesses? (Again, not what other people think they are, what you think they are. Write them down!)
4. How can I overcome my weaknesses? (The first step is developing a couple of new routines and then sticking to them.)
5. What can I do better this year? (Be honest!)
6. Where can I take initiative and become a better employee who contributes more? (Look around – opportunities are all around you, I promise!)

Self-evaluations are important to your career development. Next week, I will introduce a new way to look at self-evaluation questions (and we’ll find out if your boss thinks you are irreplaceable). Until then, here is a humorous look at the types of reactions we can have when we look at our past work. Taking charge of your own performance improvement through self-evaluation will ensure that the next time you review your work, you’ll think, “I am awesome!”

(Comic courtesy of

Root Cause Analysis
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