You may have come across SWOT analysis before. It is often used when planning a project, setting up a business, or any strategic planning process, to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favourable and unfavourable to achieving that objective.
As well as using it in the corporate world, it is a powerful technique that can be used by you if you are seeking a change in your career. When linked to a strong and powerful goal, it can enable you to take advantage of your skills, talents and abilities to take your career to the next level.
Before you start the process, ask yourself what is your goal. What is your aim in your career and what do you want to achieve? Perhaps you want to change your career, take a promotion, or revamp your CV. Just thinking about your goal is the first step in the process.
Once you have set yourself a compelling and exciting goal for your future, take a large piece of paper to complete your SWOT analysis. Divide the paper into four quadrants and label each area – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Look at each area and consider the questions that follow and write down the answers that come into your head in the relevant quadrant.
Personal strengths form an innate part of who you are and your characteristics. Consider your strengths as you see them and talk to your colleagues and friends for a further source of support.
What skills and capabilities do you have?
In what areas do you excel?
What qualifications, accreditations or experience make you unique?
What would other people consider to be your strengths?
What qualities, values or beliefs make you stand out from others?
Consider your personal weaknesses and how you may be seen by others. It is important to list any areas you feel may be holding you back.
What are the gaps in your capabilities and what skills do you need to develop?
In what areas could you improve?
What would other people consider to be your weaknesses?
What personal difficulties do you need to overcome to reach your goal?
Opportunities are normally external and may relate to changes in technology, people that may influence decisions, or training, development or support that may support your aspirations.
What opportunities are available to you?
What external influences can help you to achieve success?
Who could do you know who can support you to help you achieve your goal?
Threats are also normally external and are the things that get in the way of your success.
What obstacles are you facing?
What external influences may hinder your success?
Who or what could get in the way of you achieving your goal?
Carrying out a personal SWOT analysis can help you to understand yourself and support the decisions you make. It will highlight areas you may not have considered before and may help you to realise a different perspective in each area.
It gives you a foundation from where you can move forward with your goal to support your career change and for you to take action. There are various ways in which you can do this.
You can review your strengths, and ensure these are reflected on your curriculum vitae, or letter to a prospective employer. You can consider ways to address any weaknesses which you want to overcome or develop your skills and capabilities.
You can review your opportunities as these can be used to your advantage. Also consider how your threats could be minimised or eliminated.
These actions will enable you to take clear steps towards achieving your goal.
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