If you want to find and develop a satisfying career, you need to create a solid career change strategy and an important part of that is your personal SWOT analysis.
What is exactly is a SWOT analysis? It’s simply an evaluation of your strengths, your weaknesses, the opportunities which present themselves and the threats which could block your path to success.
Once you have established your career goals, you can start your personal SWOT analysis by getting hold of several application packs for relevant jobs. Take out the job descriptions and the person specifications and use these as a guide to help you establish your strengths and weaknesses in relationship to this specific career. You can do this with the details of just one job, but using several will give you a broader view of the industry or the career.
List all of the strengths which you have and which relate directly or indirectly to the requirements for each job. This will cover skills, talents, experience and qualifications and don’t forget to include soft skills such as communication skills and teamwork, as will as personal qualities like patience, tenacity, and attention to detail.
You should also write down at least one example of a situation in which you used each of your strengths. This will be invaluable when it comes to writing applications.
Now go through your job packs and list your weaknesses, that is, the areas where you lack experience or your skills are poorly developed. You don’t need to write down examples this time – you are probably all too painfully aware of them anyway. And you certainly don’t want to draw attention to them. You will come back to this list later when you start to move from analysis to action.
You can look at this in two ways: opportunities for yourself to develop and progress in your career and also opportunities for you to add value to the employer.
For yourself, does this job offer what you want from a career? Will it provide training, opportunities for progression, the chance to travel or whatever else is on your wish list?
Employers are much more interested in what’s in it for them and so being aware of the opportunities you will give them for development and improvement of their products and services is important and will be very closely linked to your strengths.
These are difficulties and obstacles which could prevent you from getting the job in the first place or hamper your progress when you do get it. For example, problems in the economy as a whole or this specific sector could lead to cutbacks or a reduction in training budgets.
You can also look at your competitors – other people who are likely to be applying for the same jobs. Are they better qualified than you or do they have more relevant work experience?
As part of your career change strategy, your personal SWOT analysis will help you take action to improve your prospects of getting the job you want.