Identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) for your job can help you to uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward.
If you look at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to separate yourself from your peers and further develop the specialised talents and abilities you need to advance your career. To begin your SWOT analysis, fill out the answers to these questions on a paper divided into four sections.
Your strengths are the intrinsic characteristics that set you apart from others. These will be present regardless of external conditions. Consider your strengths from both your personal point of view and that of others around you. Think as objectively as possible.
- What are the advantages that set you apart from others (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)?
- What tasks are you better at than anyone else?
- What resources can you access that nobody else can?
- What do your managers and colleagues see as your strengths?
- What achievements do you take the most pride in?
- What are your core personal values that are special and unique?
- What kind of personal network or influential connections do you have that can help you at work?
TIP: If you hit a roadblock in identifying your strengths, think of your personal characteristics which may be strengths at the workplace.
Consider your weaknesses from both personal and external perspectives. What weaknesses do others see that you don’t? Are you lagging behind your co-workers in key areas? Try to be realistic and face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.
- What tasks at work don’t you feel confident doing? Do you avoid any tasks because you don’t feel confident enough to do them?
- What do your managers and colleagues see as your weaknesses?
- Where are you weakest in your education and skills training with regards to your current job?
- What are the work habits that affect your job negatively? For example, punctuality issues or poor handling of stress are negative work habits.
- Are there any innate personality traits that hold you back in your work? For instance, fear of public speaking in a job where you have to conduct meetings on a regular basis would be a major weakness.
While you consider the external opportunities in your industry and company, consider your strengths and ask if these can open up any opportunities for you. Conversely, examine your weaknesses ask if you could create new opportunities for yourself by eliminating these weaknesses.
- Are there new technologies that can help you at work? Can you get help with your work from others via the Internet?
- Does your industry show a positive trend in the market? How can you take advantage of this?
- Can you ask for help and advice from a network of influential contacts? What are the current trends in your company? How can you take advantage of them?
- Are there any gaps in your competitors’ products or services? How can you take advantage of their mistakes?
- What are the needs in your company or industry that are not being fulfilled?
- What are the complaints of your customers or vendors in your company or industry? Can you offer a solution?
TIPS: The following events may provide useful opportunities
- Making new contacts and knowledge gathering at networking events, classes or conferences.
- Taking on a colleague’s responsibilities for the experience you gain while he or she is on leave.
- Learning new skills to fulfill the responsibilities of a new role or project, such as public speaking.
- Helping the company’s expansion or acquisition with your unique skills.
- When you are at work, what are the major obstacles you face?
- Do your colleagues compete strongly with you for projects or roles?
- Do the demands of your job or the skills you need ever change?
- Do you feel that changing technology threatens your position?
- Can any of your weaknesses end up leading to threats?
Performing this SWOT analysis will often provide key information. Now you can point out what needs to be done to improve your performance at work and to put problems into perspective. Good luck!