If you’re committed to professional growth, a SWOT analysis can be a useful tool. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Here’s how to assess each area:
• Strengths. What motivated you to pursue this particular career path? Do you still feel the same interest and commitment? What do you contribute to your organization? What knowledge or skills have you gained in the past year that add to your contributions? What do you consider to be your most useful skills and talents?
• Weaknesses. Think about some of your most unpleasant professional experiences. What behaviors or weaknesses of your own may have contributed to them? Can you think of any pertinent job skills you lack? Are you aware of any personal weaknesses you have that might be diminishing your work or your career? The goal isn’t to dwell on the negative, but to use your self-knowledge to add to your strengths.
• Opportunities. What’s going on at the cutting edge of your profession or industry? What kinds of training would enhance your skills, credibility, and reputation in your organization? What new ideas or strategies are going on in your organization that you could be part of? Is your immediate supervisor likely to remain in place, or move on? If the latter, how might that affect your work and career path?
• Threats. What’s going on in your industry or organization that might damage you? What changes are looming? Do you have the freedom to move about the organization, or do you feel trapped with little hope of change? What about the political situation in your organization—are you in danger of being sucked into battles you don’t need to fight?