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Next Level Career SWOT Analysis

Posted by | May 21, 2015 | Advice, Career, How to

Via LinkedIn : SWOT analysis is universally employed for a variety of business purposes, including project development, business/marketing plan development and team building. What you may not be aware of is how valuable this technique can be for taking you career to the next level. In order to effectively articulate and market yourself throughout your career, you need to increase your ability to convey your unique qualities, skills and added value.

SWOT Summary:

A SWOT analysis, often presented in a matrix form, provides a structured means to evaluate the relevant strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats connected to a business/entrepreneurial venture or business project. Relevant elements of a SWOT analysis include specifying the ideal outcome results of the relevant venture/project, as well as significant internal and external factors related to the outcome. Identification of SWOT factors are critical to the success of any venture.

SWOT & Career Development/Optimization:

What many careerists fail to recognize is that in our dynamic global economy, it’s essential to gain and maintain a strategic career edge. This type of edge becomes particularly relevant as one moves through various developmental career and life stages. Engaging in periodic career SWOT analyses has helped my career clients to optimize their career opportunities, finding the ideal fit for their life/career stage and unique added value. This simple and yet highly powerful process can serve to take you to the next level of your career in terms of advancement, connection, contribution and satisfaction.

SWOT Elements Applied to Career Optimization:

Strengths: This element is always the most challenging one to articulate and connect with as it’s not unusual to minimize or fail to recognize your true strengths; your strengths are simply who you are and how you move through the world. To optimally articulate your strengths, I highly recommend seeking input from trusted friends and mentors. Potential questions you can ask others that will serve to elicit your strengths include:

  • What do I do better than anyone else you know? What do others consider me to be the “go to” person for? What added value do I consistently bring to professional challenges? What skills do you rely on me for? What are some of the unique experiences, credentials, mindsets and talent I possess?

Weaknesses: For most, this is the easiest aspect of the SWOT elements to come up with, however, you might want to consider that many perceived weaknesses can be strengths in the right context. For example, you might consider yourself to be slow in terms of implementing strategies, while others might consider you thoughtful, strategic, patient and/or deliberate. For this SWOT element, I recommend seeking internal and external data. Several questions you can ask yourself (and others) to increase your self-awareness around potential and/or actual weaknesses include:

  • Where are the gaps in your education, skills, mindset that could negatively impact setting and reaching outcome goals? What types of skills and mindsets do you value in others? What type of feedback have you received from supervisors and/or team members regarding what you need to work on? What types of challenges do you consistently tend to avoid? If you had the benefit of a “magic wand,” what skills/mindsets would you add to your professional and personal attributes? What types of behaviors have you exhibited in the past that served to sabotage your relationships/outcomes?

Opportunities: Opportunities abound when you have clarity regarding your desired outcome goals; they unfold intentionally and organically through your personal/professional connections, exposure to unique learning encounters, purposeful expansion of your current work role, seeking out new/additional challenges and learning new skills that exponentially increase your added value. Several questions you can ask yourself and others regarding potential opportunities include:

  • What underutilized strengths do you possess that can add value to your current role/organization? Is there a unmet need in your field that you can fill? What conferences can you attend and/or present at to increase your visibility in your field? What local networking events can you attend in order to increase your network and engage new mentors and career advocates? How can you utilize social media sites to increase your visibility in your field? What area could you be considered an expert in?

Threats: Threats can be internal or external to your current organization; they can also be known or unknown. Most external threats are around change; some can be predicted and some exist in the realm of the unknown. Significant questions around threats include:

  • What is the political climate within your organization and how could that impact your current and potential future situation within this organization? What challenges are you currently facing at work that are within and out of your control to impact? What is the current demand for your skillset within your current organization and professional field? What changing or forecasted economic factors can impact the need for your expertise? What gaps in your skillset have the potential to negatively impact your professional growth and status?

SWOT Analysis & Next Level Career Fulfilment:

Today’s dynamic economic environment necessitates developing a strategic edge in your professional life throughout your entire career trajectory. Through utilizing professional career SWOT analysis, you can consistently articulate clear, energizing, and personally meaningful career goals, as well as next level results. What one action step can you take today to launch your personal career SWOT analysis?

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