Tip for the top: The annual review

Most employees have only one thing on their minds when it comes to their annual review: how big their pay rise is going to be. So all the stuff about performance and career ambitions gets lost in a blur of pecuniary happiness or disappointment. Yet this is your main chance to have formal feedback on your performance and make sure that your foundations for progress are solid.

Preparing for the year ahead

- Make sure you go into your appraisal with a clear set of questions to gauge your performance and a proper list of objectives that you can discuss.

- This is your chance to find out what you've got to do to step up to the new level at work. Make sure you leave the room with a strategy for the next year.

- Ask for a written summary of the points discussed, so you can refer to it often and also to encourage your boss to be specific and unequivocal.