The acronym S.W.O.T. stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It is a simple method of identification and analysis. Most people are familiar with using S.W.O.T. in the workplace in reference to business, but this same technique can be applied as career advice as a guide for a personal check-up.
Are you passionate about your work? Are you living your dream?
If not, maybe it’s time to “S.W.O.T. yourself!” Use this simple method of identification and analysis to challenge yourself to become the best you can be today, and start moving toward the future you want tomorrow. Write the letters S W O T on a piece of paper. Take a mental inventory of yourself, what you have to offer, where you might like to improve, what you’d like to do, and what is standing in your way. We have many more Career Help Articles Now Available.
Take a minute to think about your personal strengths. Oftentimes we box ourselves into a much more limited space than we deserve. For example, just because your last two jobs were in sales, doesn’t mean that you don’t have other skills or qualifications that you use on a regular basis. It’s likely that those skills could transfer into another role or job title quite nicely.
As an example, your main job may be as a sales person, but within your position, you spend a lot of time negotiating contracts, building rapport with customers and vendors, marketing and promoting your company or brand. To apply that to your S.W.O.T. analysis, in the category of “Strengths”, you may write down “Relationship Builder”, “Negotiator”, “Cross-Functional Communicator”, or “Marketing & Promotions”.
Don’t overlook or minimize the significance of non-functional qualities. Someone may have a stellar educational degree or years of experience, but be miserably lacking in people skills, creativity or the ability to think out-of-the-box. These might well be noted in your “Strengths” category and on someone else’s “Weaknesses” category!
If you think you might be ready for a change, take a serious look at your strengths. Would they be a good fit for another department, a different job title or function, or even another industry that you have an interest in? Have you updated your resume lately to reflect your strengths? Consider asking colleagues, customers or industry partners for referrals that highlight those strengths. Sometimes asking a trusted source for input helps. Oftentimes they are quick to point out strengths that are obvious to them, but not so much to you.
Sometimes what we view or label as a weakness is really an opportunity in disguise. An opportunity to learn, upgrade or advance. We may already have 75% of the puzzle and just need to focus on enhancing the other 25%. That’s why the analysis is so helpful. It serves to clarify opportunities possibly hidden as weaknesses, as well as highlight areas that may be ripe for improvement.
If you are uncomfortable with new technology or giving presentations, for example, you can always improve through learning and practice. Take classes, get a mentor, study and practice. The best career advice is to get intentional and take responsibility for your future success.
On the other hand, if you consistently have a bad attitude, are late for appointments, or lack integrity, you just need to get with the program. Those are areas well within your control. In which case, you just need a good swat! Don’t self-sabotage your own potential.
If you have a legitimate weakness that can’t be helped, just focus on the areas you can improve, along with your legitimate strengths and opportunities.
Look at this category beyond “job opportunities”, or merely functions or duties. Try to expand your brainstorming into personal areas of opportunity. Do you long for relevancy, to have a voice, to express your creativity or to make a difference? What are you passionate about?
What do you want your opportunities to be – To make more money? Take on more responsibility, increase or change your job scope? Become more knowledgeable in order to add greater value in the workplace? Release your innovative passions? Become self-employed?
Now connect the dots. How can you position yourself to turn your opportunities into reality – Get more education? Work harder or smarter? Start being more intentional about networking, volunteering or getting your name out there? If you have a dream, nurture it. If you need coaching, find a mentor. If you have a goal, do what it takes to reach it. Be your own best advocate. It’s your ticket – find a way to write on it what you want it to read.
This is an interesting category. Some threats are out of our control, but not all. Threats might be things like “the economy”, “downturn in the industry, or the need for our products or services”, or “competitor has a superior product”. In a business scenario, these are things that threaten our success and there’s not a lot we can do about them other than take a good hard look at them and address the parts we may have minimal control over.
But when it comes to stepping back and taking a good long look in the mirror, what are your personal threats? What is keeping you from becoming the best you can be? Do you lack self-motivation, self-esteem or personal vision? Do you ignore known faults and repeat the same mistakes or negative behaviors? Do you need an attitude adjustment? Do you sabotage your own success? Are you able to identify fears that may be holding you back?
It all comes down to how much you really want to succeed; and, it all comes back to you personally. No one is going to hand you a golden ticket – you have to want it, and you have to go out and earn it. The good news is, whatever your personal threats are, you can take the reigns and pave a new and better path any time you are ready and willing.
Use your personal S.W.O.T. analysis as a challenge to let go of the things that are holding you back and hampering your success, and to embrace opportunities that will take you to the places you want to be. You don’t have to go anywhere today… but think about the possibility of tomorrow. We have many more Career Help Articles Now Available.