When speaking about a SWOT Analysis, this is a way of doing some serious self-reflecting and figuring out what your internal as well as external strengths and weaknesses are. Think of it as a pro and con list about you!
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. While we are hesitant to use the word “weakness” as it is very negative, using the word “shortcomings” doesn’t make as catchy an acronym (SWOS) as SWOT!
Here are a few ideas when it comes to constructing your SWOT. Internal Factors
7 Strengths - Internal positive aspects that are under control and upon which you may capitalize in planning for a new career. These would include: • Work Experience
• Education, including value-added features
• Strong technical knowledge within your field (e.g. hardware, software, programming languages) • Specific transferable skills (e.g., communication, teamwork, leadership skills) • Personal characteristics (e.g., strong work ethic, self-discipline, ability to work under pressure, creativity, optimism, or a high level of energy) • Good contacts/successful networking
• Interaction with professional organizations
7 Weaknesses - Internal negative aspects that are under your control and that you may plan to improve. These will include:
• Lack of Work Experience
• Low GPA, wrong major
• Lack of goals, lack of self-knowledge, lack of specific job knowledge • Weak technical knowledge
• Weak skills (leadership, interpersonal, communication, teamwork) • Weak job-hunting skills
• Negative personal characteristics (e.g., poor work ethic, lack of discipline, lack of motivation, indecisiveness, shyness, too emotional) External Factors
Opportunities - Positive external conditions that you do not control but of which you can plan to take advantage. Here are some opportunities to list: • Positive trends in your field that will create more jobs (e.g., growth, globalization, technological advances) • Opportunities you could have in the field by enhancing your education • Field is particularly in need of your set of skills
• Opportunities you could have through greater self-knowledge, more specific job goals • Opportunities for advancement in your field
• Opportunities for professional development in your field • Career path you’ve chosen provides unique opportunities • Geography
• Strong network
Threats - Negative external conditions that you do not control but the effect of which you may be able to lessen. These include: • Negative trends in your field that diminish jobs (downsizing, obsolescence) • Competition from your cohort of college graduates
• Competitors with superior skills, experience, knowledge
• Competitors with better job-hunting skills than you
• Competitors who went to schools with better reputations. • Obstacles in your way (e.g., lack of the advanced education/training you need to take advantage of opportunities) • Limited advancement in your field, advancement is cut-throat and competitive • Limited professional development in your field, so it’s hard to stay marketable • Companies are not hiring people with your major/degree
To further refine the SWOT, here are some other questions to ask about yourself: Strengths:
• What are your advantages?
• What do you do well?
• Why did you decide to enter the field you will enter upon graduation? • What were the motivating factors and influences?
• Do these factors still represent some of your inherent strengths? • What need do you expect to fill within your organization? • What have been your most notable achievements?
• To what do you attribute your success?
• How do you measure your success?
• What knowledge or expertise will you bring to the company you join that may not have been available to the organization before? • What is your greatest asset?
• What could be improved?
• What do you do badly?
• What should you avoid?
• What are your professional...