Only you can decide the right career path for yourself, but there are a myriad of tools available to help you self-evaluate and guide yourself to the best decision. Whether you’re a fresh graduate, a former athlete entering the workforce, or an experienced professional seeking a new path, there are tools to help you find the right path.
One of these valuable tools is the SWOT analysis. This strategic planning technique is used to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. SWOT is used in many industries to make important decisions, and you can adapt it to your personal needs to paint the path to a truly rewarding career! We’ll analyze each letter and how you can conduct a rewarding analysis for yourself!
Strength is what it sounds like on the tin—what are you good at? This is where you can kick modesty to the curb and really hype yourself up. What sets you apart from others? If you do have trouble celebrating your own accomplishments, don’t hesitate to ask for feedback. Your inner circle might see things in a different light.
Job Hunt’s Don Goodman suggests the start with the strengths you have, especially ones you particularly enjoy, and then relating them to demand in the marketplace. Modern job descriptions commonly list the skills needed to thrive in that position, giving you an easy way to see what is in demand.
Look at the experiences you’ve had and categorize your skills into hard and soft categories. Many of these skills will be transferable in many industries, but this should overall position you towards finding industries suited to your personal strengths.
While it’s easier to hype ourselves up, it can be challenging to name our weaknesses. But knowing what your weaknesses are is crucial in learning to overcome them or to know what career paths you may not be suited to. Again, be honest with yourself!
Comparison is the thief of joy, but Forbes’ Trinity Aikens believes comparing yourself to your peers in this case can answer some tough questions. What do you struggle with compared to your peers, or what takes you much longer than your peers is a good way to gauge if something is a weakness.
“Do other people see weaknesses that you don’t see? Do co-workers consistently outperform you in key areas? Be realistic – it’s best to face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.” –Mind Tools
When you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can apply them to the grand scheme of things. What opportunities are out there for someone with your strengths and weaknesses? Indeed views opportunities as the external options available to you.
When you look at the things you excel at, what career opportunities come to mind? Is there a niche that you can fill? Because you took the time to list out your skills, new ideas you hadn’t considered previously may manifest.
Consider how technology keeps evolving and creating new opportunities. My position writing weekly blog posts catering to job seekers wouldn’t have been something fathomable in my childhood. Always be willing to reevaluate the current market to look for new and emerging trends.
“Like the people, mostly women, who were excellent typists in the 1990s saw the need for typing skills disappear as computers and word processing software became much more common and reliable, look at where the demand for your strengths may be increasing.” –Don Goodman
The inverse to opportunities, what outside circumstances could hamper your ability to seek out these new opportunities? The nagging voice in your head telling you what could go wrong is annoying, but in this case, hear it out and write what comes to mind.
Is there anything that could keep this potential career path from being viable in the near future? Look at things like the strength of the market, the amount of competition, and the necessity of the niche. Monster’s Dawn Papandrea suggests researching potential threats or trends you may need to contend with so you can start countering them.
“Moving outside your comfort zone will keep you from simply reinforcing your existing beliefs. Be unflinching in revealing faults and weaknesses, but also in celebrating your personal strengths.” –Marci Martin
With the list done, you can create a plan of action based on your data and begin the journey to career happiness. Remember to be honest with yourself during this process. The personal SWOT analysis is meant to answer questions about yourself and guide you to a promised career. You aren’t trying to impress anyone, and you won’t get the results you seek unless you’re truly introspective. Don’t be afraid to get feedback if necessary. With luck, the results of this analysis will paint a clearer picture and steer you toward the career you deserve.