Using a SWOT Analysis in Your Job Plan

A SWOT analysis helps you organize and examine the internal and external environments, strengths and weaknesses in the internal environment and opportunities, and threats in the external environment. Here is a diagram of how a SWOT Analysis is structured and a completed table with suggestions:




Internal positive aspects that are under control and upon which you may capitalize in planning

  • Work Experience
  • Education, including value-added features
  • Strong technical knowledge within your field (e.g. hardware, software, programming languages)
  • Specific transferable skills (e.g., communication, teamwork, leadership skills)
  • Personal characteristics (e.g., strong work ethic, self-discipline, ability to work under pressure, creativity, optimism, or a high level of energy)
  • Good contacts/successful networking
  • Interaction with professional organizations


Internal negative aspects that are under your control and that you may plan to improve

  • Lack of Work Experience
  • Limited related education
  • Lack of goals, lack of self-knowledge, lack of specific job knowledge
  • Weak technical knowledge
  • Weak skills (leadership, interpersonal, communication, teamwork)
  • Weak job-hunting skills
  • Negative personal characteristics (e.g., poor work ethic, lack of discipline, lack of motivation, indecisiveness, shyness, too emotional)


Positive external conditions that you do not control but of which you can plan to take advantage

  • Positive trends in your field that will create more jobs (e.g., growth, globalization, technological advances)
  • Opportunities you could have in the field by enhancing your education
  • Field is particularly in need of your set of skills
  • Opportunities you could have through greater self-knowledge, more specific job goals
  • Opportunities for advancement in your field
  • Opportunities for professional development in your field
  • Career path you’ve chosen provides unique opportunities
  • Geography
  • Strong network 


Negative external conditions that you do not control but the effect of which you may be able to lessen

  • Negative trends in your field that diminish jobs (downsizing, not in demand)
  • Competition
  • Competitors with superior skills, experience, knowledge
  • Competitors with better job-hunting skills than you
  • Obstacles in your way (e.g., lack of the advanced education/training you need to take advantage of opportunities)
  • Limited advancement in your field



Perform your own job planning SWOT analysis by using the SWOT Analysis of My Job Planning (pdf) worksheet.

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D. and Katharine Hansen


Now that you have a better idea of what skills your are missing for your ideal occupation, you can move on to Step 4: Expand Skills.

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