One of the most common competitive analysis frameworks is the SWOT analysis. SWOT, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, helps highlight and uncover opportunities that aren’t immediately apparent. This information is useful when preparing for interview questions about strengths and weaknesses and identifying areas that might otherwise reduce the chances of getting a job.
To conduct a personal SWOT analysis, get a pen and paper and answer the questions below. After you finish, highlight some of your greatest strengths and prominent weaknesses and make a plan of action based on the information.
Step One: Strengths
The first step of the SWOT analysis is to highlight every relevant strength you have. These can include experience, education, skills or circumstances that make you a valuable candidate. Try to focus on assets that set you apart from your competitors. For example, if you are a graphic designer, proficiency in design software will not set you apart from others. Choose a unique skill or ability that will help you stand out.
- What are you an expert at?
- What is your favorite skill?
- What skill do you get the most compliments about?
- What abilities come easy to you?
- Which skill are you most proud of?
- What areas do you notice others lacking in?
- Do you have any unique background?
Step Two: Weaknesses
Once you identify your strengths, begin highlighting your weaknesses. Though this exercise can be a challenge, do your best to be honest about areas that could use improvement. Acknowledging your shortcomings will help you prepare to answer questions about them and make a plan to develop these areas.
- What area has held you back in the past?
- What is your least favorite work-related task?
- Do you have any education gaps?
- Which areas do you get negative feedback?
- Do you have any bad habits that you have at work?
- What scares you most about your job?
Step Three: Opportunities
Like your strengths, opportunities set you apart from competitors. These assets can be network access, available technology or any other advantage that you can use. If you are having a hard time coming up with opportunities, look at your strengths list and identify areas that you could further develop.
- Do any of your skills lead to opportunities?
- Can you get trained in any missing skills?
- Do you have a strong network of contacts?
- Is there any upcoming tech that you could be trained in?
- Are there any areas where you see others failing?
Step Four: Threats
Threats are aspects of your career, experience or qualifications that might hurt your chances of landing a job. These can include technology that you don’t have experience with, bad references or questionable work history. Identifying these threats is crucial in the interview preparation process. For each threat, you should brainstorm solutions.
- Is your industry shrinking or growing?
- Does emerging technology threaten your job?
- Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?
- Could new applicants be more qualified?
This is a great exercise your students can use to help map out their future career paths.
Here is a link to a SWOT analysis graphic your students can download and use: https://www.dropbox.com/s/cw6ptyisob12j80/competitor-frameworks-swot-analysis.1a.pdf?dl=0