A few things are unavoidable in the work world, a crowded Starbucks, morning traffic, paper jams and review season. Yep, review season. It is inevitable and it's usually one of the most nerve-racking experiences. There is always something depending on it: increased salary, rank, a bonus, or (in this economy) keeping your job. This article provides a few tips on how to guarantee you get a five star review!

1. Know what is expected of you – Many people start a job and read the job description, but in reality they really don’t know what is expected of them. During the first few days at your new job, ask a lot of questions. Put together what your thoughts are on what you believe is expected of you. Then sit with your boss to go over expectations. If you are not a new hire, it's never too late to get clarification on expectations.

2. Get frequent feedback  – This can be intimidating, but it must be done! Every few months ask your boss about how you are doing. Inquire about what you can improve upon. Don't take this personal because everyone needs to improve in some aspect of their work. It does not have to be formal. You can say things like “how can I make this better next time” or “did this meet your expectations"? If you are meeting expectations, great! If you are not, don't fret, just work on it.  Feedback that is not positive is hard to give, so don't blame your boss if they don't bring it to your attention right away. It's your responsibility to be proactive. If you don’t ask, you won't know.

3. Track your progress and feedback Write it ALL down, especially the good feedback! When your boss says “great job”, “amazing”, "I really like how you did X", etc. Write it down. Write it all down! Also, include the task that it relates to so you have a point of reference.  When its review time you can remind them of why you believe that you are doing well.

4. Ask for more responsibility  – People don’t like to do this, but your value is in what you know! Once you master one thing, learn how to do something else. Your boss will see you as a go-getter and will appreciate the request. Your boss might be so consumed with other things that they do not remember to help you expand your skills sets. But at the end of the day, this is up to you.

5. Help out – Other people in the company will need help on tasks and projects. Is it your job? No. But it doesn’t hurt to help someone out? No. More often then not, they will return the favor. Put this in your notes and mention it to your boss. Don’t look at it as bragging or trying to make your colleagues look bad. This shows that you are a team player. You deserve to be recognized for it.

6. Identify your own areas of improvement – After a few months you will know what you need to work on. Don’t wait until review time to tackle this. Go to your boss and let them know what you want to improve upon and ask for their help. It might be as simple as saying “I want to get better at XYZ, do you have any suggestions?" Your boss will appreciate that you are coming to them to learn how to improve.

If you follow this advice, you are well on your way to getting great reviews from your boss!