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When your first review season comes rolling around, feeling a sense of anxiousness is completely normal. You probably don’t want to respond to constructive criticism with intense sobbing or yelling, so knowing how to work with feedback given to you is a really important part of being able to grow within your career.

Remember no one’s perfect, and you’re likely to be critiqued many times and on many different elements of your job, so the more you prepare for these feedback sessions, the better equipped you’ll be to take actionable change. Here are our top tips for accepting criticism during your first job: 

1. Don’t take it personally

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that criticism about your performance isn’t criticism about you. You’re not defined by the way you work, and during your first job, it’s likely you’re still learning the ropes. Cut yourself some slack if you’ve had a particularly intense feedback session, and remind yourself there’s always room for improvement. 

2. Stay open and communicative 

When you’re receiving feedback, even if you don’t particularly agree with what’s being said, it’s important to keep an open mind and be receptive to whatever your manager is saying. Clear up any questions you may have but don’t try to justify behaviour or explain a situation you feel needs clarity – save your thoughts for later and let the other person be done with speaking before you interject.  

3. Thank your manager for their feedback

When you’re working in an office, it’s essential to maintain healthy relationships with your colleagues. Your manager may not be your favourite person in the world after they’ve handed you some feedback, but it’s taken time and energy for them to come up with ways you can improve, so ensure to remain courteous and realise they’re doing their job just as much as you’re trying to do yours.  

4. Make an actionable plan to get better

After your feedback session, think about the main issues you’re facing with performance and then list out concrete steps you can take to improve or build on these weaknesses for the future. For instance, if you have an issue with team projects, you can focus on working better with your colleagues and ensure you’re avoiding the same missteps the next time you’re assigned one.  

5. Create targets for yourself to check in on your progress

Once you’ve made a plan to improve upon certain weak areas, ensure you’re constantly checking in to see how you’re making progress. Creating smaller goals can help you get a more concrete sense of how you’re getting better. If you’ve been given feedback to be more proactive for instance, a goal could be to get involved with one big group project every two weeks.

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