I didn’t like performance reviews early in my career. Perhaps it was because I was a poor student for a few years in junior high, or I take criticism hard. I used to get nervous about them.

Then, when I was working at an arts center, where I knew I was doing great, I decided to see it as an opportunity to talk about what I’d like to do more of.  I wasn’t looking for a raise or promotion. I was looking for the opportunity to learn new skills and be part of larger projects.

Once I saw the performance review as an opportunity to talk about my future with the company, I stopped losing sleep over it. Here are five ways you can prep for your performance review to show you care about your job and the company.

01. Keep track of your accomplishments.

I used the email & desktop folders. Every time you get praise or complete a project, put it in that folder. Forward them to your personal email too.

02. Review the company’s annual plan 

Research what your company and department are aiming to do. If accomplishments were celebrated, pinpoint specific examples of how you contributed to that success.

03. Review the plan, looking for growth areas you would like to be part of.

What role could you do? Are you qualified to help, or do you require training/mentorship?

4. Think about things that could make the company and your department better.

Common problems that everyone complains about or something that makes your job difficult. What might your role be in improving that? Is there an opportunity to take on or lead a project, without changing roles?

5. Select three skills you would like to strengthen and link them to the above projects.

Ideally, two skills directly benefit the company, and the third is for your personal development. Give it a timeline and how you’d like to implement it.

The biggest thing is to go in with an open mind while showing interest to help the company and manager to reach their goals.