The SWOT analysis is commonly used as a strategic planning tool in business. However, it is also well suited for personal use in addressing a specific goal or problem. A personal SWOT analysis helps individuals identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Understanding a personal SWOT analysis
Indeed, individuals can adapt the SWOT analysis to:
- Assist in personal development and career progression.
- Prepare for job interviews.
- Successfully transition from one industry to another.
Conducting a personal SWOT analysis
When conducting a personal SWOT analysis, the information must be as unbiased as possible. For example, some individuals may overstate their strengths while understating their weaknesses.
Wherever possible, consult friends or colleagues for their opinions. While their opinions can also be biased, this can be counteracted by interviewing as many people as possible and identifying common themes. Independent market research can also be incorporated to further strengthen the integrity of the analysis.
Then, create a SWOT diagram with four boxes. Each box represents:
- Strengths – what skill set do you bring to the table? Consider your qualifications, experience, achievements, personal skills, and any industry contacts or leads.
- Weaknesses – what are your professional bad habits or shortcomings? Do you struggle with public speaking or do you tend to call in sick often? What skills or qualifications are lacking or have expired? In identifying weaknesses, be honest and thorough. Each weakness represents an avenue for potential growth.
- Opportunities – who are the movers and shakers in your industry and how can you position yourself in front of them? What trends can you foresee? Will these trends create job vacancies?
- Threats – what are the obstacles you are currently facing? How is your role or broader industry changing? Could automation or increased competition affect your job security? Threats also take the form of ambitious or vocal colleagues who have the potential to outcompete you for promotions.
Determining personal SWOT analysis outcomes
In evaluating the results, there are two popular methods.
The first is matching, where two categories are matched to outline a course of action. Strengths matched with opportunities show you where to seize the moment and be aggressive. Conversely, weaknesses matched with threats identifies vulnerabilities that you should avoid or work on proactively.
The second method involves turning negatives into positives. How can weaknesses be turned into strengths, or threats into opportunities? For example, an extroverted individual who accepts an entry-level position with little human interaction may initially see extroversion as a weakness. However, they identify a sales position within the same company and work aggressively toward being hired for a role where extroversion is a strength.
- A personal SWOT analysis identifies areas of growth through the personal reflection of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
- A personal SWOT analysis relies on unbiased information to be effective. Independent market research and the opinions of friends and colleagues can help offset personal biases.
- Personal SWOT analysis results can be evaluated by matching two categories to determine where efforts should be directed. Negative attributes can also be turned into positive attributes by considering context and future planning.
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