Back in the day, our parents could make their careers out of trade or white collar jobs. The path was always clear. But for our generation, with the change of millennia came a boom in opportunities and our consciousness as to “there has to be more to life than this”. Honest truth? There is more to life. It’s up to you to find out what works best for you and create value from there. Value always sells.

S = Strengths | W = Weaknesses | O = Opportunities | T = Threats
A SWOT analysis is a business tool used by CEO’s and business owners to examine past, present and future prospects of a company. It allows them to carefully examine what they have done well in the past, how they can improve and what kind of opportunities they need to look out for.
Just as businesses need this perspective, we can gain immensely from the information provided from conducting a personal SWOT analysis. Whether you are looking for a job, starting a business or thinking of the next steps for your career, a SWOT analysis can give you insights as to what your next step should be.
How to conduct a personal SWOT analysis
To perform this task properly, avoid leaving vague areas, be specific and objective about the items you write down in here. If you feel it’s important and would actually matter to your life, make sure to write it down.
  1. Take a pen and a paper and draw up a box divided in 4 places.
  2. At the top of the page, write out what you want to get at the end of this exercise e.g I want to know what role to apply for in my company, I want to know what type of job I should start my career with, I want to know what business I need to go into, etc. Make sure to be very specific about your objective and allow this to guide you in answering the next set of questions.
  3. Label from left to right – Strength, Weakness – and in the bottom half – Opportunities, Threats
  4. Strengths (Internal factor) – write out the things you are good at and you have excelled in previously, skills you have developed, talents or natural born gifts you have noticed or has been noticed by other people. This is not the time to be modest or shy, write it as it is.
  5. Weaknesses (Internal Factor) – What are those things you avoid doing because you are not confident about the skills you’d need to perform well in those tasks? What are your negative habits? What areas do you need to improve in terms of knowledge? Do you have personal traits that could hold you back? E.g a fear of public speaking would be a problem if you are aiming for a team leader position. What would other people see as your weaknesses?
  6. Opportunities (External Factor) – What resources can you access that could give you an edge in your personal life or career (e.g. influential relatives), what technology do you think can help you boost your presence or career? E.g. Instagram would be a good choice if you have a bubbly personality. Who are the people in your network that could assist you in your career? Do you have competitors who are ignoring an important aspect of your business? What trends are you noticing in your business and how can you take advantage of them? A new project at work that could give you an edge if you perform well as part of its team? Opportunities are boundless and everyone has access to them, you just need to ask the right questions and look in the right places.
  7. Threats (External Factor) – Is there any of your weaknesses that could become a threat? E.g. low knowledge on an important aspect of your career choice could be a problem if not worked on.  Do you have colleagues at work vying for the same position as you? Do they possess skills that could help them and you don’t? What are the biggest obstacles you would face if you had the right skills and knowledge and decide to go after what you want?
A careful examination of your answers tells you everything you need to know. Your strengths tell you what you can already do and areas you need to invest more in. Your weaknesses that could become threats tells you what you need to work on ASAP so it doesn’t become a problem. Other aspects of your weaknesses helps you identify what you need to either work on or avoid if it’s not crucial to the objective you identified earlier. Your opportunities tells you what areas your next “big” thing should be coming from and asks you to pay close attention to those areas. Your threats tells you what possible hurdles you might meet on your road to success and asks you to prepare ahead to overcome them.
A personal SWOT analysis done properly could save you a lot of time and effort and move you closer to living an ideal life for yourself. And because we are fluid as humans, you can do a personal SWOT analysis as often as you need to, especially before you make life changing decisions. You spend time doing something that truly matters to you and engage in activities that help you grow personally. It’s a win – win.
Did you find this article helpful? Feel free to share. Leave a feedback or review of this article in the comments. If you practiced this, leave a comment below telling us how it went.

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