Personal SWOT Analysis
Chance favors the prepared mind. – Louis Pasteur
Many professionals recognize the value of a SWOT analysis for their companies. Understanding a business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats gives business leaders a new perspective on what the organization does well, where its challenges lie and which avenues to pursue. However, few people realize that a personal SWOT analysis can do the same for an individual in pursuit of his or her career goals.
After you have discovered your Identity and purpose; the next step is to step is to understand more about yourself and your external environment. This is where the SWOT analysis is helpful. It stands for:
- S = Strengths (internal)
- W = Weaknesses (internal)
- = Opportunities (external)
- T = Threats (external)
The purpose of the personal SWOT analysis is to identify actions you can take to best meet the requirements of the career, job or promotion you are seeking. Comparing your strengths and weaknesses to the career/job requirements will identify gaps and help you prepare to be the best candidate for the role to which you aspire.
Using the personal SWOT analysis exercise to sharpen your strengths, improve your weaknesses, identify opportunities for development and neutralize or overcome your threats. Before, conducting personal SWOT analysis, you need to evaluate your level of intelligence and identify which one is your strength or weakness – check section 2
Begin the analysis by identifying your strengths. These are the traits or skills that set you apart from others. Questions to ask include:
- What advantages do you have that others don’t have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)?
- What do you do better than anyone else?
- What personal resources can you access?
- What do you enjoy or find exciting?
- What do other people (and your boss, in particular) see as your strengths?
- Which of your achievements are you most proud of?
- What values do you believe in that others fail to exhibit?
- What influential contacts do you have?
The next step is weaknesses. This part examines the areas in which you need to improve and the things that will set you back in your career. Questions to consider include:
- What tasks do you usually avoid because you don’t feel confident doing them?
- What will the people around you see as your weaknesses?
- Are you knowledgeable as you should be?
- Is your level of intelligences high or low?
- Are you completely confident in your education and skills training? If not, where are you weakest?
- What are your negative work habits (for example, are you often late, are you disorganized, do you have a short temper, or are you poor at handling stress)?
- Do you have personality traits that hold you back in your field? For instance, if you have to conduct meetings on a regular basis, a fear of public speaking would be a major weakness.
- What vulnerabilities do you have (health, finance, relationships)?
For the opportunities section, look at the external factors you can take advantage of to pursue a promotion, find a new job or determine a career direction. Questions to examine include:
- What strength could I build on? Do any of your current strength open any doors / make you more useful?
- What could I do to overcome my weaknesses?
- What trends (management or otherwise) do you see in your company, and how can you take advantage of them?
- Is there a need in your company or industry or market that no one is filling? What is changing around me? Can I take advantage of any trend in my industry?
- Do your customers or vendors complain about something in your company? If so, could you create an opportunity by offering a solution?
- Are any of your competitors failing to do something important? If so, can you take advantage of their mistakes?
- What trainings would I like to do? Are there any courses you can attend? Are there any self-development programmes?
- Are there any new projects coming up I can be involved In?
- Is your industry growing? If so, how can you take advantage of the current market? Future trends in your organization, industries or market?
- Do you have a network of strategic contacts to help you, or offer good advice? Do you know someone who can be a mentor?
Finally, look at any threats to your career growth. This part takes into account the external factors that could hurt your chances to attain your goals. The factors to take into account include:
- What could stop me from developing (Qualifications, Experiences, Finance, People)?
- What obstacles do you currently face at work? Is my position under threat from new entrants? Are any of your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles?
- Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing?
- Is your marketplace changing? Does changing technology, government, policies threaten your position? Are there issues in my industry?
- What weaknesses will really get in my way? What problems could your weakness cause, if not addressed?
- Are my skills still in demand? Am I falling behind in knowledge, skills, or technological requirements for my industry?
- Are professional standards changing which I no longer meet?
- What self-limiting belief holds you back?