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Analysis, Anyone?

You’ve probably heard of the SWOT analysis. It’s basically where businesspeople look at a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats when they’re putting together a strategic plan or figuring out how to position themselves in the market. It’s great for identifying what they do well, where they can improve, where they can cash in and where the landmines might be.

The SWOT analysis was designed for businesses in the 1960s, but it’s also a tried-and-true way to look objectively at yourself and how you stack up against your career goals. Doing a personal analysis is easy and effective, as long as you’re honest. Set aside time to really think through the questions, then use the answers to devise a personal career action plan.


  • What do you do really well?
  • What do others say you’re best at?
  • What achievements are you most proud of?
  • What skills or certifications make you stand out from others?


  • What tasks do you avoid because you don’t like them or you lack confidence in your abilities?
  • What personality traits, like impatience or procrastination, could hold you back?
  • What skills can you improve?
  • What would others say is your biggest weakness?


  • Is your career field growing in size or specialization?
  • Do you have a good network of professional contacts or mentors?
  • What formal training or credentials would increase your job prospects?
  • Would an advanced degree make you more attractive to potential employers in your field?


  • Is there strong competition for the jobs you want?
  • Are the skills required in your field changing?
  • Is technology or other forces reducing jobs in your field?
  • What are the long-term prospects for your field?

A good SWOT analysis can be a roadmap to your next career moves. It tells you, for example, what strengths to play up on your resume or in interviews, and what weaknesses to tackle through self-improvement techniques, online classes or a degree program. It can help you capitalize on opportunities by revealing which resources and educational assets you need to acquire. Finally, it can prepare you for conditions outside your control and guide you to prepare a Plan B to help secure your future.

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