Performance reviews are stressful for many employers and employees, but these annual meetings are necessary for businesses to operate smoothly and efficiently. For employees, performance reviews offer the rare opportunity to sit down with their bosses, face-to-face, and go over areas of strength and development. This feedback can be valuable in helping people become better workers and achieve their career goals; on the other hand, the feedback from performance reviews can also be demoralizing for workers who continually underperform. The performance review is often when raises and promotions are given. These reviews also give employees chances to ask their higher-ups about the directions and evolutions of their companies.

How could I have handled this situation better?

Think of all of your contributions to your company over the past year and choose the assignment, project or situation that highlights your value the most. During your review, spend some time talking about that contribution, but then ask how you could have handled it even better. By doing this, you kill two birds with one stone; you get to remind your boss how valuable you are, and you also get to show your boss that you want and value his or her feedback.

Is there anything I should work on improving?

Every employee has areas they can improve on. Asking your boss what you should focus on improving shows that you are invested in becoming a better employee and also allows you to improve your own skills. 

What areas did I do best in?

Don't be afraid to ask your boss which areas you're doing well in. Not only will this allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in your work, it also gives your boss an opportunity to give positive feedback on a job well done. 

Am I eligible for a raise?

If your performance review goes very well, you may want to ask if your job performance warrants an increase in salary. Don't be afraid to point out your value to the company and respectfully ask to be compensated for your contributions. Ultimately, your boss will decide whether you get a raise or not, but don't be afraid to bring up the subject. 

What should be my primary focus over the next year?

Ask your boss what you should focus on over the next year (or until your next review) so you can set personal goals to meet and exceed expectations. 

Are there any new responsibilities or tasks you'd like me to take on?

Asking about taking on new tasks or responsibilities shows initiative and can help propel you further into your career. Your performance review is a great opportunity to ask about any new things you should be adding to your job description!