Using a SWOT Analysis in Your Job Plan

A SWOT analysis helps you organize and examine the internal and external environments, strengths and weaknesses in the internal environment and opportunities and threats in the external environment. Here is a diagram of how a SWOT Analysis is structured and a completed table with suggestions:

SWOT Analysis

I
N
T
E
R
N
A
L

Strengths

Internal positive aspects that are under control and upon which you may capitalize in planning

  • Work experience
  • Education, including value-added features
  • Strong technical knowledge within your field (e.g. hardware, software, programming languages)
  • Specific transferable skills (e.g., communication, teamwork, leadership skills)
  • Personal characteristics (e.g., strong work ethic, self-discipline, ability to work under pressure, creativity, optimism, or a high level of energy)

Weaknesses

Internal negative aspects that are under your control and that you may plan to improve

  • Lack of work experience
  • Limited related education
  • Lack of goals, lack of self-knowledge, lack of specific job knowledge
  • Weak skills (leadership, interpersonal, communication, teamwork)
  • Weak job-hunting skills
  • Negative personal characteristics (e.g., poor work ethic, lack of discipline, lack of motivation, indecisiveness, shyness, too emotional)
E
X
T
E
R
N
A
L

Opportunities

Positive external conditions that you do not control but of which you can plan to take advantage

  • Positive trends in your field that will create more jobs (e.g., growth, globalization, technological advances)
  • Opportunities you could have in the field by enhancing your education
  • Opportunities you could have through greater self-knowledge, more specific job goals
  • Opportunities for advancement in your field
  • Opportunities for professional development in your field

Threats

Negative external conditions that you do not control but the effect of which you may be able to lessen

  • Negative trends in your field that diminish jobs competition
  • Competitors with superior skills, experience, knowledge
  • Competitors with better job-hunting skills than you
  • Obstacles in your way (e.g., lack of the advanced education/training you need to take advantage of opportunities)
  • Limited advancement in your field

Perform your own job planning SWOT Analysis (pdf).