How to Put Your SWOT Analysis to Work for You

A SWOT Chart created from orange and yellow post-it notes

It's Time to Reflect on your SWOT Analysis

A SWOT Analysis, often used by businesses in strategic planning, is a great way to determine your next career step.  By now, you’ve created a SWOT Analysis with your “trusted advisors,” so  it’s time to look at it and analyze your results.

Reflect on Results

Put all the Strengths | Weaknesses | Opportunities |Threats together into one chart.  How does it look?  Did more than one person identify a similar trait?  Perhaps those observations should be weighted more heavily.  Are your results contradictory? This could mean that each of your trusted advisors knows you a little differently.

Take some time to reflect on your results –usually a couple of weeks.  Pull the chart out frequently and think about what it might be telling you. Now you’re ready for the next step.

Ask More Questions

Go back to your trusted advisors and ask additional questions or get clarification, if needed.  If your results already make sense, then go to the next step.

Consider Your Plan

Where you go next is up to you….and taking a new step is never easy. Your results might indicate you need further professional development or education. Or it might indicate that a sideways move or industry change is right for you.  Perhaps your results indicate that you are right where you need to be and change is farther off on the horizon.  Either way, it’s time to start sketching out some plans.

Get Help

No matter where you are, get some help!  If books are your thing and you are ready to jump into the job market, What Color is Your Parachute? Is a perennial favorite and is updated annually.

Join a discussion group on LinkedIn to see what’s happening in your professional area or in your city.

You might consider a career coach.  They are different than a job placement service and can help you further explore your future possibilities and plug you into networking opportunities you might not otherwise hear about.  My career coach was instrumental in helping me decide when the time was right to start my own public relations practice.

Implement Change

One step at a time. If you have made it through all these steps, then it’s time to map out your next move.  And those trusted advisors who helped you with the SWOT Analysis? They can help keep you on track as you chart your course to the next step in your career.

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Related Posts: Thinking about a Career Change? Think SWOT.