Driving Your Career with a Personal SWOT Analysis

Consulting Processes

At work we often go to great lengths to analyze, plan, do, and review. Then we get home, relax, and coast. We all need time to renew, rebuild and connect with friends and loved ones. But, what if we took some of our analytic ability and business tools and applied it to our own careers and personal life? Using a few best practices from work to analyze your personal life could make great things happen.

A personal SWOT should identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The following lists are meant to get you started thinking about topics in each of the four quadrants. After you complete a personal SWOT, then you should work on a SWOT Action Plan. <Link>

Here are some overall topic categories you might want to consider for a personal SWOT. As the step-by-step on creating a SWOT analysis and SWOT Action Plan recommends, limit each quadrant to no more than five items. Limit your SWOT Action Plan items so you work on no more than three at one time.

Internal Strengths and Weaknesses – Resources and issues you control

  • Skills and education
  • Personality and attitude
  • Flexibility and portability of skills
  • Resilience
  • Willingness to relocate
  • Teamwork
  • Financial reserves
  • Mentors and connections
  • Image or self-brand

External Opportunities and Threats – Resources and issues outside your control

  • Job and industry trends
  • Market trends
  • Demographic trends
  • Geography and location

Fill Your Quadrants with Impact

Look through the following lists and write on 3” X 3” (7.5cm X 7.5cm) Post-It Notes your personal responses to the top five topics in each of the four quadrants. The topics listed below are just seeds for thought. I’ll bet you have immediate topics that come to mind.

As you write the 3” X 3” Post-It Notes put them on a SWOT template. (My kitchen table has done many a personal project SWOT.)

Once you have completed you’re SWOT analysis, then move on to the SWOT Action Plan.

Personal Strengths

  • Unique and better skills, education, certification or experience greater than peers
  • Unique selling proposition
  • Excellent personal image or “brand”
  • Ethical or value strengths
  • Personal financial resources
  • Personal strength and resilience
  • Professional network
  • Mentor or influential referrals
  • Demonstrable ethical or value strengths
  • Strong productivity habits
  • Excellent personality attributes
  • Flexibility in timing, location, position
  • Fast learner

Personal Weaknesses

  • Skills, education, certification, or experience less than peers
  • Weak skill area required by future positions or industry
  • Poor personality attitudes or personality
  • Poor productivity habits
  • Negative personal image or “brand”
  • Slow learner
  • Tasks you are poor at or avoid
  • Areas of low confidence

Personal Opportunities

  • Personal and mentor connections for referrals
  • High economic or industry growth
  • Technology disruption that is opening new fields
  • High demand for skills or attributes you possess
  • Specialized knowledge in your field
  • Specialized areas of growth in your field
  • Lateral growth in your current company
  • Unique skills in areas match your unique skills
  • Technology that can enhance your abilities
  • Failings in your peers where you excel
  • New roles, jobs, or tasks that will push you into new skills

Personal Threats

  • New higher requirements for education, certification, or experience
  • Poor economy or industry trends
  • Many competitors with the same skills set
  • Stronger competitors
  • Rapidly changing skills set
  • Personality weaknesses
  • New technology replacing your skill sets
  • Instability or potential loss in current job
  • Family or religious commitments that limit you
  • Organization threatened by acquisition, merger, or failure