Tuesday, Jun 18 2013

SWOT Yourself - Job Search Advice

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Self-analysis can help define your career

First developed over fifty years ago, SWOT analysis is still a useful tool to chart a career path that capitalizes on what you have to offer and where you want to be. It stands for Strengths and Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats—two dichotomies that can direct your future along a course that you’ll both enjoy and prosper at. Self-analysis isn’t easy, and requires owning up to your less than optimal traits and patterns. Still, it gives you a valuable look at your true potential at work.

From the inside

Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors, built into you by predisposition, education, interests, and other shaping forces. Your strengths, where they align with your passions, will determine your dreams, goals, and objectives, both in life and your career. Analyzing your strengths and weaknesses is a challenge, and requires uncomfortable honesty; ask yourself, what do I avoid doing? What are the areas where I’ve received less than positive feedback?

At the same time, ensure you acknowledge and celebrate your strengths: Which tasks do I enjoy doing? In what work environments do I thrive? Knowing both the positives and negatives about your internal talents will give you a clear base from which to examine the outside factors surrounding your career.

From the outside

Opportunities and threats are factors that affect your career externally. You have minimal control over them, if any, but you can use opportunities to your advantage, and minimize the risk of threats. This section of your SWOT analysis is less personal, but equally important: it’s where you integrate reality into your self-investigation.

Not all advantageous openings or unexpected concerns can be predicted, but a thorough look at where your career might go and what events or people might hinder it can help prepare you for your best future. Ask yourself what could potentially be coming your way, and whether it’s something you want to pursue or avoid. Having that direction will allow you to more effectively utilize your strengths and weaknesses.

From others

Feedback from one or more individuals outside your job, preferably who’ve known you for years, can really tighten your SWOT analysis. They can point out areas you excel or typically avoid, and bring an outside perspective on your workplace and desired career path. By connecting with someone who isn’t invested in your career, you can trust that they will ask hard questions and bring a more unbiased opinion to the table.

A person who knows you as an individual, not just an employee, will have a broader spectrum from which to draw their queries and conclusions. At the same time, it’s important for you to convey how critical honesty is—this person should be tactful, but not try to spare your feelings too much when it comes to weaknesses and concerns.

On the right path

Conducting a self-analysis will help you chart a vision for your future or at a minimum, have more information at your disposal when a new position opens up, you receive a negative review, or you find yourself contemplating a career move. SWOT is an excellent place to start to get a handle on whom you are and where you can go. If you are looking for IT jobs in California, contact the experts at The Armada Group today. We have the network and resources to help you advance your career.