Assessment refers to the act of determining or estimating the value of something and making appropriate judgments on issues. It is used interchangeably with words like evaluation, examination etc.

Similarly, self-assessment is the ability to examine yourself to find out how much progress you have made. It is a skill that helps individuals monitor their own work or abilities, find out what their weaknesses and strengths are, and self-diagnose relevant solutions.

The purpose of self-assessment is to help the individual know the extent of his abilities and to improve upon them without the need of a performance appraiser. It involves the use of questions such as; what are my strengths; what are the obstacles, etc.

Self-assessment is part of the formal employee appraisal in some organizations, where the employee is permitted to provide his own version of his development over the past year. Although some organizations don’t regard it so much, others value it in high esteem.

Importance of self-assessment

Self-assessment is as important to students as they are to professionals. Since this is practiced in most organizations, it’s necessary you learn to do it properly. Aside it being a part of formal employee appraisal, it is essential for every professional’s personal development. Some general benefits of self-assessment are:

  • Self-assessment makes you sure and confident about your capabilities. It eliminates or reduces work related fear and uncertainty.
  • It enables the employee to assess himself, make corrections quickly and improve on his abilities. In other words, it enhances capacity building.
  • It helps people in selecting occupations or educational programs that are best suited for them. For instance; if you find out that you are an unfriendly or antisocial person, you can tell that a career in marketing wouldn’t be the best option for you.
  • Self-assessment provides direction for training. Once you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you can choose the right tutor or training that best fits your career needs.
  • It helps the individual to write resumes and cover letters that are specific about his abilities and highlight his special qualities. This makes your cover letter a stand out among the others.

How to improve upon self-assessment skills

Self-assessment is a simple skill that can be acquired by anyone. A systematic approach can be adopted for developing and improving this skill. Otherwise, ordinary simple approaches and practices can be helpful.

Here are few tips that will help improve this skill:

  • Ask questions. An important aspect of self-assessment is the ability to ask questions. Develop the ability to ask specific and relevant questions. You cannot ask and answer every question in the world and not every question is relevant. Ask yourself questions about what, how, and why you have a problem at doing something or how and why you succeeded in something.
  • Script down clear-cut objectives. Being able to give an honest and objective assessment of yourself is the toughest aspect of the entire process. Write down the targets for the most important aspects or goals of your work and assess your performance in comparison to each of them. Compare the actual performance or results to the target you set in the beginning of the year.
  • Develop a personal grading system. Create a grading system for yourself – formal assessments use grading systems for evaluations. For instance; if you are a sales person, the most important skill required is communication and the most important task is to generate sales. You may have an evaluation sheet for skills alone that shows something like this: Communication 30%, Self confidence20%, friendliness 30%, enthusiasm 10%, and self-confidence 10%. In the end, use an objective means to determine your achievement.
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