Is It Time To SWOT Yourself?

Sections of this topic

    Do you have career ambitions but you’re not sure how to achieve them? Are you feeling stuck, unsatisfied in your present job? Or you just want to get a better sense of where your next career move should be?

    Then it’s time for a career check-up. One easy way to do this to get away from the hustle and bustle of your job and to SWOT yourself – that is do an honest personal assessment by focusing on these four areas:

    1. Strengths
    List skills, knowledge and experience you have that make you marketable. Focus on technical and soft skills. Consider your personal qualities, values, past achievements. What advantages do you have that others don’t have? What special resources can you access?

    2. Weaknesses
    Now list the areas that you can improve. What negative work habits (disorganized, often late or perfectionist) do you have? Are there personal traits (short temper, too talkative or insensitive) that can hold you back in your career?

    3. Opportunities
    Let your mind wander to the possibilities that surround you. Is your boss or another manager going to retire? Are new projects or initiatives coming up? Is your industry growing? Do you have strong networks of strategic contacts? Is there a need in your company or industry that you can fulfill?

    4. Threats
    What can go wrong – a shift in management, budget cuts, downsizing, outsourcing, mergers, acquisitions, your health and even family challenges? Are any of your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles? Is your job changing with unfamiliar responsibilities? Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?

    Here’s An Example:
    Sarah, an advertising manager, is feeling insecure because of changes in her industry which may affect her job security. Here’s her personal SWOT:

    • Strengths: “I’m very creative. I often impress clients with a new perspective on their brands. I have the ability to ask key questions to find just the right marketing angle.”
    • Weaknesses: “I tend to be somewhat of a perfectionist which causes me stress when I have too many tasks. The fear of public speaking often takes the passion out of my presentations to clients.”
    • Opportunities: “One of our major competitors has developed a reputation for treating their smaller clients poorly. Our art director will go on maternity leave soon. Covering her duties would be a great career opportunity.”
    • Threats: “Mark, one of my colleagues, is a much stronger speaker and he’s competing with me for the art director position. The current economic climate has resulted in slow growth for the marketing industry and there may be layoffs.”

    Her Action Plan:
    As a result of this analysis, Sarah takes the bold step to suggest that she and Mark share the art director’s job duties while on maternity leave. By working as a team, they can learn from each another, build the department’s reputation of high quality service to their smaller clients and possibly avoid being given the “pink slip”. It’s a win-win for them and for the company.

    Career Success Tip:

    You are most likely to succeed if you use your talents to their fullest. Similarly, you’ll suffer fewer problems if you’re aware of and manage your weaknesses. At the same time you need to know what threats may upend your career and what opportunities can take you to the next level in your career. That’s the value of doing a SWOT. Also Check out What’s Your Career IQ? and My Success Portfolio.

    Do you want to develop Career Smarts?