Personal SWOT Analysis Template

Are you confident in the direction of your career?  Have you taken deliberate steps to define a professional objective and develop a strategy to achieve your objective?  If you need a place to start, a SWOT analysis is a good first step.  And, if you already have an objective and have been taking steps toward accomplishing the objective, a SWOT analysis is a good complement for the refinement of the path forward.

Tip: when completing a SWOT Analysis, be honest with yourself, be objective and don’t be afraid to write down something. More ideas will ultimately produce a better, more complete picture.

Personal SWOT Analysis Template

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Personal SWOT Analysis Guidance

A SWOT analysis is generally a tool used in businesses to evaluate Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It’s useful for strategic planning and brainstorming. We think it’s a great tool to use personally. This Personal SWOT Analysis Template is geared toward evaluating your personal professional career. However, the focus can be whatever you choose. Just be sure that the objective you’re analyzing is clear.

First things First

To complete a Personal SWOT Analysis the first step is to download the template above.

You also need a focal point.  A professional objective, for example.  This can be within your current career field/path or something totally different that you want to pursue in the future.  The objective will be the driving force behind the effort on each of the categories.

Completing a SWOT Analysis

Overall, the key thing to remember here is that this is a brainstorming exercise that will be refined as you go.  Give yourself room to write down ideas that may not stick.  As you begin to write, more thoughts and ideas will grow.  Start from a place of complete honesty with yourself.  Don’t worry about being modest or coming across selfish.  At the same time, don’t gloss over touchy areas.

If you’re looking to be better off at the end of this process, self transparency is key.  Keep yourself in check by thinking about what others might say about your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  Just don’t let what others would say drive the direction you ultimately want to go.

Strengths – Positive & Internal

Start by thinking about your personal characteristics that benefit the stated objective.  These are things that are innate to who you are as an individual.  What are you naturally good at?  Then move on to accomplishments, credentials and past successes.

Below are some example questions and characteristics that you can use to get started.

  • What do you do better than others?
  • What is your personal competitive advantage?
  • What do you have access to that others don’t?
  • What accomplishments are you proud of?
  • What do others see as your strengths?
  • Ambitious
  • Strategic
  • Level-Headed
  • Focused
  • Resourceful
  • Technical
  • Connected Network
  • Leadership
  • Proactive
  • Persuasive
  • Speaking Skills
  • Creative
  • Efficient
  • Honest
  • Fair

Weaknesses – Negative & Internal

Once you’ve gone through your strengths, it’s a natural progression to identify your weaknesses.  The thinking here is still internal, however, these are generally the reverse of what you’re good at.  Focus on what your weaknesses are that make accomplishing the stated objective difficult.  Don’t forget to be honest with yourself, but be fair.

Below are some example questions and characteristics you can use to get started.

  • Where do you fall behind compared to others?
  • Are you confident in all skills/training?
  • What are you not comfortable doing?
  • Do you have deficiencies that need to be improved to succeed?
  • What do others see as your weaknesses?
  • Complacent
  • Impulsive
  • Negative
  • Sloppy
  • Wasteful
  • Arrogant
  • Close-minded
  • A Follower
  • Reactive
  • Fearful
  • Loose-tongued
  • Vague
  • Slow
  • Dishonest
  • Selfish

Opportunities – Positive & External

Strengths and Weaknesses are primarily internal focused.  Opportunities and Threats move the focus to the external.  Opportunities are going to be things on which you can capitalize in order to achieve your objective.

Below are some example questions and ideas you can use to get started.

Questions:

  • Is there a need that no one is filling?
  • Do clients / prospects complain about something?
  • Is there a new technology that can help?
  • Are there industry / economic trends that will create an opportunity?
  • Who can you connect with that can help?

Ideas:

  • Look back over your strengths and weaknesses to evaluate if any of these can be converted into an opportunity.
  • Think through relevant certifications you could obtain.
  • Is there a trade association, group, board, or a club you could join that’s relevant?  Joining such an organization will make it easier to connect with people, develop ideas and surround yourself with the right people.
  • Has there been a development of a new idea, maybe in a different industry, that could be beneficial?
  • Based on your skills and the ideas you have, think through a way to solve a problem in a new way.

Threats – Negative & External

The last category is Threats.  It’s not absolutely necessary to do the categories in order, as you think about one category, you might come up with an idea that falls in another category.  Write it down.  When thinking about Threats be sure to consider things that you know are Threats today as well as things that could turn into a Threat in the future.

Below are some example questions and ideas you can use to get started.

Questions:

  • What obstacles do you currently face?
  • What problems do you see developing?
  • Is anything (life events, professional requirements, organizational structure, etc) changing that could be negative?
  • Could a weakness you currently have lead to a threat in the future?
  • What are the events or circumstances that are totally out of your control?

Ideas:

  • When thinking about life changing events, consider things such as having a baby or a spouse that’s retiring (losing an income, going part-time, etc).  This is not to say any of these are bad – having a baby is wonderful.  However, it could significantly impact your priorities and is something that has to be accounted for when thinking about your future.
  • Look back at your Weaknesses.  It’s possible that some of these are fine to have as weaknesses in your current role.  Will that be the case as you move forward?  Let’s say you want to be self-employed in the future, but you have a problem self starting.  This might not be easily seen when you’re accountable to others on a day to day basis, but what happens when this goes away.
  • Think about how critical processes are currently working.  Will this be sufficient for the future?

Summary

A Personal SWOT Analysis is a good place to start.  Think over your objective and work through each category.  Write down as many ideas as you can, and then refine those ideas down to the items that will be most impactful.  Use the Personal SWOT Analysis Template to develop specific goals and an overall strategic plan.  The more clear your plan the greater chance of success.

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