SWOT Analysis in Job Searching
SWOT analysis is a well-known tool. It is extensively used in strategic planning, marketing and other relevant areas to collect information for further industry research.
This serves as basis for final decision making. Similarly, one can also use SWOT analysis to plan one’s career and identify one’s professional skills, comprehensive competences, personal preferences and career opportunities.
“SWOT” is an acronym standing for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, of which strengths and weaknesses are internal factors, while opportunities and threats are external factors. A job seeker needs to list all personal strengths and weaknesses to identify the opportunities and risks in their career life that they are willing to pursue.
First of all, understanding yourself is crucial. We must acknowledge that most persons are skilled in specific areas rather than being generalists, however, every person has his unique expertise and soft abilities. We can prioritize, analyze and compare the strengths and weaknesses in relation to professional skills, experiences, personality, communication skills and leadership that can be easily identified in routine work. We can then use a intensified focus when selecting jobs that may interest us.
Secondly, it is also important to have an understanding of the external environment in order to identify employment opportunities and threats in the relevant industry. For example, career development in certain industries such as iron & steel and solar PV may be adversely impacted because these industries are troubled by unreliable sustainability and stability due to frequent restraints imposed by national policies and trade rules. On the contrary, companies engaged in consumables and medical services that are less sensitive to external factors will be able to provide candidates with broad career prospects.
After a preliminary SWOT analysis, the candidate needs to consider his/her career development plan in detail (e.g. desired occupation, position and title for the next 3 to 5 years) in order to match his/her competences with employment opportunities. Last but not least, the career plan, once drafted, must be implemented, improved and revised appropriately.
In general, job searching will be more informed and competitive with a simple career roadmap drafted through the approach described above.