SWOT Analysis For Your Career

A basic tool used in strategic planning is SWOT analysis. This is where you take a hard look at your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and plan accordingly. I am a firm believer you should perform this analysis on your career at least once a year.


Make a list of all your strengths. In particular, consider what skills, knowledge and experience you have that makes you indispensable to your employer. Also consider what the demand for these skills is in the marketplace. I knew a fellow who was what I would call a professional Sniffer – he was able to smell fragrances and detail their makeup, components, and quality. Although he was pretty secure in his job, there are not a lot of jobs out there for this kind of skill. So, he had to decide whether he wanted to take the risk of counting strictly on those skills to secure his future (he took courses in project management and moved on, by the way). Think about your technical as well as your soft skills. Do you know how to program in .Net? Understand SEC reporting requirements? Additionally, are you great at motivating teams to peak performance? Are you the one that the executives call upon to use your diplomacy skills to facilitate tricky work sessions and drive consensus among various stakeholders? These are the strengths that make up your value proposition. You also need to consider company politics in your assessment, so now review the strength of your relationships with people who can influence your career. How is your relationship with your boss? How about the people who influence your boss? Do the same analysis for your peers and staff. This is extremely important since we all know a competent person who didn’t succeed because he or she was not aligned with the right people.


Now, take a hard look at yourself and list the areas where you can improve. Look at the positions you would like to have and identify the skills, experience, or knowledge that you are lacking. Consider too the relationships that influence your career and detail where important relationships either don’t exist or need bolstering. It is generally a good idea to brainstorm with your buddies to get an outsider’s view.


Let your mind wander to the possibilities that surround you. Is your boss or another manager going to retire? Are there new projects or initiatives coming up? In particular, look to see if there are other areas of the business that you can contribute to and gain a better position. Look both within and outside your company. Did you gain strong SEO skills that make you a valuable catch to other employers? Many people discover there are real opportunities available they had never considered before.


What can go wrong? Consider such things as a shift in management, budget cuts, downsizing, outsourcing, mergers, acquisitions, your health, and even someone getting promoted to a position you wanted. This is where you can let your internal Gremlin run wild (the little voice in your head that tells you the sky is falling) and list everything that comes to mind. Now that you have this list, make a plan. I like to start with the opportunities because many times people have uncovered positions that they would really like and hadn’t considered before. So, identify where you would like to be, then review the strengths and relationships you can leverage to get there. Also, consider the weaknesses you need to overcome. Prioritize your biggest threats and make a plan to neutralize them. If you have never done this, try it as it is a proven method to build actionable plans that will lead you to success. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In our new YouTube series, "Well This Happened" it's your turn to be the career coach! What would you do if you asked a coworker when the baby was due and she responded with, "I'm not pregnant." Watch the video and cast your vote b posting a comment on Youtube. We'll select one person from the correct answers at random to win free membership to the Work It Daily program. Good luck!

SHOW MORE Show less

If you've ever wondered what a Work It Daily (WID) membership could do for you, a letter we got this week provides a powerful example...

SHOW MORE Show less

There are 3 things hiring managers are trying to initially assess about you in the job interview. This video walks you through what they are looking for and offers insights into the right information to give them. Be sure to check out our free resources mentioned in the video too. They are:

SHOW MORE Show less

Last week during my Office Hours on Youtube, a client asked about how to deal with a workplace bully. After spending many years in corporate HR, I flipped to the other side and became a career therapist. So, I've seen both sides of this situation in the workplace. In this video, I discuss why people struggle to deal with bullies and what you can do to change the situation instantly.

This week, I did something that truly scared me. I sent an email to over 120,000 Work It Daily newsletter subscribers and asked them to answer the question, "What do we do?"

SHOW MORE Show less

A market correction is going to happen. When it does, layoffs will follow. I've been in the HR and recruiting industry for over two decades and have seen three recessions of varying sizes. In the video above, I explain how to tell when a recession is coming and what that means to you and your career. While many people will skip watching this. Or, will watch it and do nothing. I hope YOU are the smart, savvy professional who sees how important it is to prepare for unexpected, unwelcomed career circumstances.

SHOW MORE Show less

In this video, you'll learn how to tell if your career is plateauing due to the Executive Blues. You'll also learn what you can do to fix the problem and get your "executive energy" back so you can keep your career on track and set goals to reach new heights of success!

Want to watch the full video tutorial by J.T.?

CLICK HERE to get access!