6 What are my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
So far in Block 1 you have gathered together information about yourself and your capabilities. You have been encouraged to think about your strengths and weaknesses, and considered the helpful and hindering factors in your domestic and work situation that may provide you with opportunities or pose threats to your future plans. You can summarise and analyse this information using a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, as shown in Table 2.
Table 2 An example of a SWOT analysis
Good interpersonal skills
Organised – meet targets
Try to do too much at once
Find uncertainty quite difficult to manage
Can be too single-minded
Good position at work
Commitment to further study
Support from work for further training
Balancing work and home life
Uncertain commercial market, especially in IT
What are the priorities?
The basic SWOT analysis framework helps you to organise and prioritise factors that are related to the subject being analysed, in this case your personal and career development. As you will see by doing the next activity, you can plan to build on your strengths and deal with your weaknesses, which will put you in a better position to take advantage of any opportunities and counter any threats.
Look at the example in Table 2 and then fill in the template for this activity in the resource pack to organise your thoughts and explore what you do well, the areas you need to work on, the possibilities that are open to you and the things that might cause difficulties.
- Strengths: what do you do well? What do other people see as your strengths?
- Weaknesses: what areas need development? What should you avoid?
- Opportunities: what possibilities are open to you? What resources do you have? Who can help you?
- Threats: what might cause you difficulties? What responsibilities do you have? What might restrict you?
This technique can help you to focus on the main issues you need to consider and to aim for a specific goal that is achievable. Once you’ve used it to identify what is feasible, you can start to prioritise and decide what you want to achieve first.
You might discover that your strengths are grouped in some areas rather than others. It’s useful to know this, as it enables you to recognise the talents you have and also to see whether there are gaps you want to work on. It’s also useful as evidence when you’re completing a CV or attending an interview.
As you may be discovering, it’s helpful to reflect on your past as you approach a decision that will significantly affect your life. Having worked your way through Block 1 of Planning a better future, you may have begun to gain more insights about yourself. Your discoveries might be to do with your skills and abilities or your attitudes, ambitions, needs and values. You may have learned more about your personality, temperament or way of dealing with the world.
Take a few minutes to think about what have you learned and note down your thoughts. It may also be helpful to talk about your findings with someone you trust to give an honest opinion to see if they agree with your own self-image.
You've now completed Section 6 – well done! We hope that you have found your study useful and are motivated to carry on with the course. Remember, if you pass the quiz at the end of each block you will be able to download a badge as evidence of your learning. If you collect the full set of badges, you can download a statement of participation that recognises your completion of the whole course.