SWOT Analysis in Career Planning
October 29, 2008 - 10:58 AM
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We need to refer to some basic issues in order for you, as a job seeker, to perfectly understand what SWOT stands for in a more general framework. First of all SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

SWOT is the solution to understand the efficiency of a strategy. One of its significant characteristics is that it shows your position compared to the possibility of victory or defeat. By doing a SWOT analysis, you are able to acknowledge the elements which are necessary for you to gain a competitive advantage. Having more weaknesses than strengths is not a sign of you gaining the competitive advantage that you need. Because SWOT analysis is a good strategy in your career planning.

In order to start discussing the aspect in which you are interested in, you need to acknowledge that SWOT can be very efficient also in career planning. When we are referring at SWOT analysis we need to take into account the internal and also the external environment. Strengths and weaknesses are a part of the internal background whereas opportunities and threats of the external one.

In order to be able to emphasize your strengths and overcome your weaknesses, in order to be able to see your career opportunities and detect the career threats take into account the following:

Strengths: they are positive aspects that can be very efficiently used to bring you the competitive advantage that you need: your education, personal traits, networking success, your work experience, your technical knowledge in the field, specific skills such as communication, leadership and team work.
When you try to put down your strengths, try as much as you can to be realistic and objective. Try firstly to make a list of things which describe you; you will most surely manage to find among them some of your strengths. One of the most important strength that you may posses can be the fact that you love what you do.

Weaknesses: these are the negative aspects of the internal environment. You definitely need to take a look and improve them: not so developed job hunting skills, negative personal traits, no work experience and technical knowledge in the field, lack of goals.
As in the case of strengths, you need to be as objective as possible. Try to put yourself in the place of an employer and think what he would consider to be a weakness. In all situations it is very difficult to asses our weak points; but in order to be successful we need to take them into account. It's a perfect start in a job career.

Opportunities: these are the positive external aspects which you cannot control, but which you can take as an advantage: the field of your expertise might need your set of skills and might offer you unique occasions: this field might offer you more possibilities of advancement and professional development; the opportunities that you may have through self-knowledge. Other positive opportunities might also be a strong network and geography.

Threats: this is the bad side of the external environment, but even though you cannot control them, you are able to smoothen their effect: in job search mode you may find yourself in the position in which you have to deal with competitors with better job hunting skills, with much more knowledge and experience, who come from schools with better reputations; your field may not be interested in your type of degree; you may have no possibilities of advancement or professional development in the field of your expertise.
Opportunities and threats can be discovered by simply searching for them and what better way to do that than the internet? It's always useful for a job seeker to find some websites which offer information about specific trends in different fields. At the same time, take a look at some of the online jobs in the field. It may give you a hint as to what is the market.

Making your own SWOT analysis is a requisite aspect if you always want to be one of the best. After doing this type of examination please take into account the following marketing process.
First and foremost you need to set your career objectives:

start with answering questions such as:

  • What is your 5 year plan?
  • What is your perfect job?
  • What other jobs are you willing to take into consideration?

Then you have to enrich your marketing strategies:

  • What are the companies that you would like to work for?
  • How do you plan to contact them?
  • What strategy do you wish to use when contacting them?

Last but not least make sure you develop an action plan:

make sure that you set up some timetables and deadlines for getting the company information that you need. This is the final but very important step in a marketing strategy.

After all of these are done you can start job hunting. Your SWOT analysis will help you determine the map that you need in order to emphasize your strengths, diminish your weaknesses, see your opportunities and of course overpass your threats.