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Analyse your career with SWOT

Christy Traore is Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management at GSM London.

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – four metrics that, when joined together, can truly put a spring in the step of your future career plans.

By using these four touchstones to evaluate your skills, abilities and the positive and negative aspects of your workplace environment, you can manoeuvre your way through tricky office situations and personal obstacles that would otherwise put a dent in your future career plans. If you aspire for a coveted role or want to ascend up your company’s ranks, the SWOT method can help you do it.

Quick and easy

Giving yourself a SWOT analysis doesn’t take much time, and indeed the benefits you’ll garner from doing so will far outweigh the hour or two of investigation required.

If you’re in need of a career plan that clearly spells out the steps you must take to get where you need, you’re unsure of which way your efforts should be directed, or you want to guard against unwelcome shocks to your career plans, SWOT can help.

How it works

The power of your strengths

Unlike lesser means of self-evaluation, a SWOT analysis can expose the nuances that exist in the relationship between your skills and your working environment. Your particular strengths, for instance, can show you where the opportunities that are open to you are located and how you can take advantage of them in the smartest way possible.

Take, for instance, the situation of a web developer who also has a knack for project management. While everyone on the web development team will be able to code and create websites, only that particular developer would have the skills necessary to move to a role overseeing the team, if that role were to open up.

Focus on the strengths that are relatively unique to you and that set you apart from your colleagues – these are your trump cards, and will offer you the best opportunities to succeed.

Be wary of your weaknesses

Your weaknesses, on the other hand, are the chinks in your armour, but by identifying these, you’ll be able to guard against future pitfalls. We all have weaknesses, but by honestly evaluating what these are, we can work on these aspects, turning them into strengths.

Take the time to highlight your weaknesses as well as strengths as these are the areas that need the most work and improvement. Look at yourself objectively and ask what would other people see as your weaknesses and work on that.

Threats and opportunities

If you skirt around the identification of your weaknesses, you open yourself up to threats. These can obviously arise from the presence of ambitious colleagues, but threats can also come from within yourself – if your workplace falls on hard times and you’re unable to offer a set of skills that another employee can, you could be left by the wayside.

Look for any threats to your career growth and prepare to turn them into opportunities if they arise. For example redundancy could release you from a workplace and lead to a more fulfilling environment – so take time to properly analyse.

By using the SWOT method, you can put in place a plan that will shape your future actions in the workplace, allowing you to tackle threats and climb to the position you strive to occupy.

Benefits of a SWOT analysis

Carrying out a SWOT analysis helps you develop strategies to attain your goals and shows where you are in relation to those goals. It will give you a clear path and help you to focus on maximising your strengths and improve your weaknesses.

Knowledge is power

Knowing what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are puts you in a powerful position for action. The SWOT analysis is not action in itself, but it’s a useful tool that helps you set goals, create a detailed career plan and act on it.

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