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Succeed in the workplace
Succeed in the workplace

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4.1 SWOT analysis

Illustration of four interconnecting jigsaw pieces saying 'SWOT'
Figure 6 SWOT analysis

The purpose of a SWOT analysis is to help you to move from your wish list to a specific and achievable goal.

When you complete it, you will be again pulling together some of the questions you have already asked yourself over the last seven weeks.

Let’s look at Jon’s SWOT analysis to get a feel for this and as an example of how it can help you to take a balanced view.

Table 4 Jon's SWOT analysis
Strengths Weaknesses
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Motivated
  • Good team worker
  • Organised – meet targets
  • Leadership skills
  • Try to do too much at once
  • Find uncertainty quite difficult to manage
  • Can be too single-minded
Opportunities Threats
  • Good position at work
  • Commitment to further study
  • Support from work for further training
  • Supportive family
  • Balancing work and home
  • Uncertain commercial market, especially in IT
  • What are the priorities?

Now you need to do your own analysis to help you move forward with confidence.

Activity 5 My personal SWOT analysis

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes

This activity helps you to shape your thoughts from the last seven weeks, and to highlight where to focus your energy.

Carry out your own SWOT analysis by copying this example grid into your notebook or you can complete this in your Resource pack [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

The following table of questions is to help you get started, but remember to use the thinking you have already developed in your notebook.

Table 5 Example SWOT analysis
Strengths Weaknesses

What do I do well in life?

What do other people see as the things I am good at?

What skills do I tend to rely on most?

Which skills are the ones I’ve developed furthest so far?

What personal qualities are strengths for me?

What do I do less well in life?

What do other people suggest I need to get better at doing?

What skills do I tend to avoid using?

What personal qualities might I wish I had – but don’t?

Opportunities Threats

What possibilities are open to me?

What works in my favour at the moment?

What resources do I have?

What/who can help me?

What is changing in my life and may open new options for me?

What might cause me difficulties?

What restrictions are there on me?

What is changing in my life and may close options for me?

Where are there gaps in my resources or sources of help?

Be honest about your weaknesses – there is no point deceiving yourself and, as you know, you can take steps to develop those areas. Keep the responses simple. Once you have identified what is feasible, you can start to prioritise and decide what you want to achieve first.


Your wish list is an expression of your aspirations, of what you want for yourself at some point in the future. If they are ‘wishes’, they are likely to be things you do not have now, or feel you do not have enough of currently. The SWOT analysis describes where you are right now. Obviously, there will be a gap between the two, so you are likely to want to make some change. That’s a good result, as it means you are on the way to planning for the future and taking action.

You need to work actively towards any changes you have identified in your wish list. The SWOT analysis will help you identify what actions you need to take and issues you need to watch out for.