Give your career a SWOT analysis

It’s no secret that businesses have been using SWOT analysis as a tool to measure their effectiveness for some time. But not many of us realise how important it can be to us as individuals. Whether you have an end-of-year review or want to get noticed in your current workplace, by viewing yourself as a business commodity, SWOT can help focus your career progression.

What is SWOT analysis?

SWOT is centred around four key themes: Strengths (internal); Weaknesses (internal); Opportunities (external) and Threats (external). Or SWOT for short. Most of us only look at our strengths and weaknesses when evaluating our careers. What we often miss are the external factors that can affect their direction. SWOT can help us to think about our careers from a number of different angles.

Where do I start?

To carry out a SWOT analysis on yourself, you need to answer questions around the four key areas. You can do this by downloading our SWAT matrix worksheet, then writing down your answers to the SWOT analysis questions.

When answering, it’s important to be as honest and objective as you can. You need to see yourself from the point of view of a colleague or bystander and imagine the potential of what you can become.

Analysing your SWOT answers

Once you’ve finished your SWOT matrix, it’s a good idea to invite someone who knows you well, to review your answers for accuracy. Once you are happy with your answers, there are two ways you can analyse your matrix and build a strategy: matching or converting.

Matching means connecting your answers from different categories to give you a course of action. By matching strengths to opportunities to you can see where you need to be aggressive or take action. For example, if you’re an extrovert working by yourself, you might see that a better choice would be to work in an office environment, such as sales. Alternatively, matching weaknesses to threats, shows you situations to avoid or where you need to be more defensive of your position.

Converting involves turning negatives into positives. In other words, weaknesses can be turned into strengths and threats turned into opportunities. For example, if you get nervous about voicing your opinions at work, you might choose to go on a presentation skills course to build your confidence and find other ways to communicate your views.

Following through from SWOT

Whatever your answers reveal, the ultimate goal of your personal SWOT analysis is to put your insights into practise. Sitting back after SWOT is no good. You need to take action and succeed in the areas you’ve identified. Whether you’re doing it before an internal review or want to make a big impression in your current role, it’s a great way to get your career back on track. And get yourself one step higher up on that ladder.

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