If you feel like your career has hit a snag, or you can’t decide whether to take that job offer, scrap the pros and cons list and 'SWOT' it instead.
A SWOT analysis is a business and marketing rubric used for analysing your current position and identifying business opportunities. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Strengths and Weaknesses are intrinsic variables, so they’re listed under ‘internal environments’ in the matrix, while Opportunities and Threats sit under ‘external environments’.
Complete a SWOT analysis, and you might just discover something you didn’t know about yourself, or come across a million dollar idea by considering your career situation or job prospects (we can’t guarantee a million dollars though).
Already lost in the ‘matrix’? Don’t worry, we've got you covered.
How to conduct a SWOT analysis on your career:
Think about what gives you a competitive advantage in the job market, or even in your current role if you’re angling for a promotion.
When looking at the Strength category for a new job offer, you might consider what’s good about the potential employer. Do they offer awesome incentives, and do they look to be set for growth in the future?
Personal weaknesses should be seen as an opportunity for growth. If your skills are lacking, or you’re terrible at keeping time, how can you get better? Where can you up-skill?
When SWOT-ing a job offer, think about the perceivable pitfalls of the employer and the offer. Is it a fading industry? Does the company seem like they’re on the decline? Remember, a period of change for a company can be both positive and negative.
All the other quadrants of the SWOT matrix feed into Opportunities. Leapfrog off what you’ve written in the rest of the chart and reverse-engineer these points into opportunities. Think of it like working out X if you already know Y and Z.
If you’ve noted that your skills in Adobe Suite could be brushed up, then that’s an opportunity to take on some study. Through Open Universities Australia (OUA), you can pick up a single subject to up-skill in a particular area online.
Much like weaknesses, threats pose a negative impact on your career or job offer.
Are your skills becoming fast outdated, and is your employee making cutbacks? If so, you’re probably standing in the firing line. Think of how you can future-proof yourself and secure your career.
For every negative, try to find a positive by working out the best possible opportunity in the situation.
So now it’s time for you to fill out a SWOT for yourself. You can use this handy little template from the Queensland Government. Print it out and fill it in for yourself. Then review your analysis and start thinking about how you might apply the findings.