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  • Writer's pictureSarah Butler

Personal SWOT Analysis - Identifying Your Strengths & Weaknesses

Updated: Nov 13, 2022



You will have a better chance of succeeding in life if you maximize your abilities. Likewise, you may avoid issues if you recognise your shortcomings and actively manage or eliminate them. How do you identify these strengths and weaknesses and evaluate the opportunities and dangers they present? SWOT Analysis is a good method for doing this.


SWOT analysis strengths are particularly significant if you use them to identify chances that might have otherwise been missed. You may avert threats that could damage your ability to move forward by recognising your weak points.


If you evaluate yourself using the SWOT framework, you can begin to differentiate yourself from your peers and hone the unique talents and abilities that you need to advance your career and achieve your personal objectives.



What is a SWOT?

SWOT stands for

  • Strengths

  • Weaknesses

  • Opportunities

  • Threats

This is a model traditionally used in business to conduct an internal and external audit of the environment and its position in it. More recently the model has been adapted to be used for self-discovery.


Strengths and weaknesses are internal to you and opportunities and threats are external. As such, you are in general more in control of your strengths and weaknesses and opportunities and threats outside your control but even though you can't control them you can leverage opportunities if you are aware of them and avoid or mitigate threats again if you are conscious of them.


How to conduct a personal SWOT analysis?



Strengths

These are your internal abilities and attributes.


What are the advantages you have over others (for example, certifications, education, or connections)? What do you do better than anyone else? What personal resources are accessible to you? What do others and your boss consider your strengths? What are your proudest accomplishments? Do you belong to a network that no one else is part of? If so, what connections do you have with important individuals?


Take a look at this from your own point of view as well as from the viewpoint of those around you. Don't be timid or modest - provide as much objectivity as you can. Having and using your strengths can help you be more fulfilled at work. If you still have trouble identifying your strengths, create a list of your personal characteristics. Some of these, hopefully, will be strengths!


Your strengths are internal factors that you can largely control. Remember that education, experience, competencies, skills, interests, personality traits, and resources are all examples of your strengths.


Weaknesses

Weaknesses relate to your personal, internal shortcomings. Everyone has shortcomings. They may be issues you are aware of but don't have the ability to address, or problems you are regularly reminded about. They may be detrimental habits or underdeveloped abilities. You may not be able to achieve your objectives unless you work on your weaknesses, but you may be able to get a lot more out of them than you think.


If you downplay your weaknesses, you risk setting yourself unachievable goals, so be honest about them, even if you find it difficult. Your weaknesses are as important as your strengths: only when you acknowledge and understand them can you work

to eliminate or manage them.


What tasks do you habitually avoid because you're not sure how to do them? What weaknesses will those around you notice? Do you have a university degree and proper training or are you weak in some areas? If not, what are your limitations? What are your detrimental working behaviours (for example, are you frequently late, disorganized, short-tempered, or unable to handle stress)? Are there personality characteristics that hinder you in your profession? For example, a public speaking phobia would be a significant hindrance if you needed to hold lots of meetings.


Consider this from both a personal/internal and external perspective. Are there other people who see weaknesses that you don't? Do your co-workers consistently outperform you in key areas? Be truthful—the sooner the better.


Opportunities

These relate to your external environment. An opportunity is a chance for you to take advantage of in the future, whether it be an event, a trend, or a change.


It's crucial to determine what type of career you want to build and grow in. You want to learn and practice new skills and take on new tasks, but you might not always see opportunities to do so. You should make the most of any chance that arises. It may appear at any moment, and it might disappear at any moment, so you must be prepared to act. Make sure you ask your manager if you can try out a new role or volunteer for a project you're interested in. Many people don't develop their careers due to a number of self-sabotaging beliefs. They believe that they don't deserve opportunities, or that they aren't qualified. Ask yourself why you have negative thoughts about yourself and fight these beliefs in order to build a 'can do' attitude.


What new technological advances can help you? Or can you seek assistance from others or from the internet? Is your industry growing? Can you exploit the current economy? Do you have a network of well-connected individuals who can provide good counsel or assistance? What trends do you see in your firm and how can you take advantage of them? Do you see any poor management practices in your competitors? If so, can you take advantage of them? Is there anything important that your competitors are not doing? Is there anything that nobody is providing to your customers or clients that you might be able to provide?


To make the most of the opportunities consider the following:

Could you gain experience by taking on some of this person's projects while he or she is away? Are you interested in networking events, taking educational classes, or attending conferences? Is there a new job or project in which you will be required to learn new skills, like public speaking or international relations? Has your company expanded or been acquired? Might you be able to help through specific skills, such as a second language?


Also, consider opportunities in conjunction with your strengths. Conversely, does eliminating any of your weaknesses then present opportunities?


Threats

These are in your external environment. Threats are those events or developments that might negatively impact your achievement. You may not be able to control them directly, but you might be able to contain, mitigate, or neutralise them so that they do not harm you, provided that you are aware of them ahead of time.


Despite being beyond your control, it can be scary to face career threats caused by strategic changes in your company, economic problems, or other factors. Adapting your career plan accordingly gives you an advantage if you can anticipate and avoid such problems. To fill out the “Threats” section of your SWOT analysis, you should be able to foresee potential problems without getting overly concerned about those that are unlikely to occur. You should look at the things that can go wrong in addition to the things that you want to accomplish when identifying your threats. A threat is only harmful if you don't address it. Identifying your threats is a proactive strategy that allows you to be in control of your success.


What issues are you currently facing at work? Are there any colleagues competing with you for projects or positions? Is your job (or the demand for the services you provide) shifting? Is changing technology putting you at risk? Could you be vulnerable because of any of your shortcomings?


Such an evaluation can frequently yield vital information—it can reveal what must be accomplished and put issues into proper perspective.


Next steps

Your final step after completing your SWOT analysis is to prioritize and plan the actions you will take. This is what makes the whole process worthwhile.


Consider what methods can be used or training undergone to help you improve your weaknesses? Can you leverage your strengths to take advantage of the opportunities you listed? In addition, consider how you can continue to grow your strengths. Will your strengths help you overcome any dangers? Will your disadvantages hinder you as you move towards your opportunity list?


  1. Review the key learnings and possible actions that you’ve identified during your SWOT analysis.

  2. Categorise each by whether it is a Quick Win (something you can do right away), a Habit to change (a behavior you need to start or stop soon), something to Learn (longer-term research, study or reflection), or involves People (individuals or groups you could build – or break – connections with).

  3. Now it’s time to act. Be realistic but avoid procrastinating. Plan and schedule when you’re going to put your analysis into practice, and go for it!

Source: Mind Tools

Example personal SWOT analysis

Review this SWOT analysis for Carol, an advertising manager.


Strengths

  • I'm very creative. I often impress clients with a new perspective on their brands.

  • I communicate well with my clients and team.

  • I have the ability to ask key questions to find just the right marketing angle.

  • I'm completely committed to the success of a client's brand.

Weaknesses

  • I have a strong, compulsive need to do things quickly and remove them from my "to do" list, and sometimes the quality of my work suffers as a result.

  • This same need to get things done also causes me stress when I have too many tasks.

  • I get nervous when presenting ideas to clients, and this fear of public speaking often takes the passion out of my presentations.

Opportunities

  • One of our major competitors has developed a reputation for treating their smaller clients poorly.

  • I'm attending a major marketing conference next month. This will allow for strategic networking, and also offer some great training seminars.

  • Our art director will go on maternity leave soon. Covering her duties while she's away would be a great career development opportunity for me.

Threats

  • Simon, one of my colleagues, is a much stronger speaker than I am, and he's competing with me for the art director position.

  • Due to recent staff shortages, I'm often overworked, and this negatively impacts my creativity.

  • The current economic climate has resulted in slow growth for the marketing industry. Many firms have laid off staff members, and our company is considering further cutbacks.


As a result of performing this analysis, Carol takes the bold step of approaching her colleague Simon about the art director's maternity leave. Carol proposes that both she and Simon cover the job's duties, working together and each using his or her strengths. To her surprise, Simon likes the idea. He knows he presents very well, but he admits that he's usually impressed by Carol's creative ideas, which he feels are far better than most of his.


By working as a team, they have a chance to make their smaller clients feel even better about the service they're getting. This takes advantage of their competitor's weakness in this area.


Wrapping up

A SWOT analysis is a method for evaluating your strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats you face. A SWOT matrix helps you concentrate on your strengths, minimizes your weaknesses, and maximizes the advantages you can gain.


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