ABCs Of Your Career Journey – S Is For SWOT

By E. Elizabeth Carter  

 

Even if they are well thought out, some journeys just do not go smoothly. A person can face some small bumps in the road and others could encounter huge obstacles. This could lead a person to think about these questions – “What do I want to do with my career?”; “Why do I no longer feel fulfilled with what I am doing?”; and “Why am I so stuck?”

Although you may have the stamina to survive, the long-term effects and stress could be catastrophic. Why wait until you have a major wake-up call when you can do something about it now? The answer for most of my clients is that they do not know where to start. A SWOT analysis can help. Although this is a strategic planning technique that can be used to help a person or organization identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to their business competition, it can also be an interesting exercise in determining your next career move. If you want to have a visualization, picture yourself in a box sitting on a store shelf.

The S stands for strengths. List all of them but then cross out ones that you do not like to do. Analyze performance reviews and even your resume to ensure that you have them all. The list is not complete until you have several people (ideally 5-10) review your list.

Weaknesses are the W. What areas could you improve upon? While you are compiling this list think about why they are areas of weakness. Is a limiting belief or fear holding you back from mastering this skill? Did someone give you critical feedback at some point in your career which made you doubt yourself? Or is it truly an area that you have no desire, time, etc. to even consider being better at?

The O stands for opportunities. This list could be very broad in that it could encompass skills, industries, hobbies, education, etc. It also could include moving to another location, downsizing/upsizing where you live, building your network, etc. Getting rid of “stuff” in your life can also be viewed as an opportunity. This “stuff” can hinder you from moving forward in your journey. I am not talking about just physical items and digital files but maybe even some relationships, both professional and personal. If these relationships are taking up a lot of your time maybe it is a good opportunity to say “bye-bye”.

Threats are the T. The obvious threats are time and money. There are also other threats you may have never considered before including confidence, procrastination, competition (the people you work with or have similar interests), the state of the nation including the economy and Covid, and even family and other stakeholders in your life.

By doing this analysis you can ascertain if you just need to stay on the same course you have been on or instead it is time to veer off into unknown territory. If you choose the former, mark on your calendar a date where you can revisit this SWOT analysis again and see if then is the time to make a change.