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October 2009
Career SWOTT Analysis
By Bill Crigger

A SWOTT analysis is a tool used by businesses to size up internal capabilities and deficiencies, growth opportunities, the potential external threats to the future, and trends within the industry and economy. SWOTT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats and trends.

     With the changes that have been taking place in business and the economy, it is time for each of us to conduct our own career SWOTT analysis. A solid SWOTT analysis can provide the basis for creating a personal development strategy that allows you to capitalize on your capabilities, capture the best opportunities within the company, while preparing you to defend the threats that may impact your career progress.

     Start by taking five sheets of paper and label each with one of the SWOTT headings. Methodically begin to capture your thoughts and ideas. You can sort and prioritize these lists later.

     STRENGTHS: To determine your strengths, list the tasks that you do well and enjoy; your work experience, special or unique skills and qualifications; training and transferrable skills. What did you learn last year that added to your skill sets? Look at performance reviews. What skills/interests do you have that employers want?

     WEAKNESSES: Assessing your weaknesses can be more difficult because no one likes to admit that he/she has weaknesses. Try looking at yourself as others see you. What can you improve? Look at prior performance reviews; look at desired job postings—what skills are you missing or that are areas of concern? Solicit feedback from peers, mentors, close friends and former bosses.

     OPPORTUNITIES: Look again at the job posting. You can turn these opportunities into skills, credentials, and certifications. Where do you see yourself in 3 to 5 years? What are your career expectations? If all jobs paid one dollar, what job would you choose?

     THREATS: Any external factor that will keep you from achieving your career goals is a threat, such as changes in the company and the economy, competition from others, a maturing industry, emerging industries.

     TRENDS: Do some research—what is the projection for your industry and your job? What is the next new trend?

     Prioritize each of the aforementioned lists. Use these lists to draft an individual developmental set of goals and objectives.

     TIP: Appraise yourself candidly and honestly. Don’t be too modest or overly critical—strike a balance. If you struggle with making the strengths and weaknesses list, consider using an assessment or career exploration instrument to help guide you. It can also help with the personal career development plan.

     Bill Crigger is president of Compass Career Management Solutions, a career transition and human resource consulting firm. Contact him at or visit to learn more about career SWOTT analysis.

Bill Crigger is president of Compass Career Management Solutions, a career transition and human resource consulting firm.
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