Strategic Planning for Career Success: The Personal SWOT Analysis

Now that you have done some personal assessment, exploration, and goal setting, it is time to move on to the final step of developing your career plan: the personal SWOT analysis.  While the SWOT analysis is traditionally used by organizations in their strategic planning process, it also serves as an excellent tool for career planning. To get started, create a matrix, using the image below as a guide:

Next, you will need to examine your current position. What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; and how can they help and/or hinder your ability to secure a job or internship? Consider the following:

  • Strengths & Weaknesses. What differentiates you from the competition/what personal improvements can you make? Identify your positive and negative VIPS (values, interests, personality, and skills). Inventory your education and experience. Evaluate your drive and ability to network. Understand that these are things you CAN control.
  • Opportunities & Threats. What external factors can you take advantage of/what stands in the way of your career goals? Research the industry–are there an abundance of jobs available or are layoffs the norm? Can your network help open doors, or are they your competition going after the same positions? Understand what external attributes will provide advancement versus serve as roadblocks. Know that these are things you CANNOT control.

The personal SWOT analysis inventories steps one through three of your career plan, providing you with a deeper understanding of your brand. It is now up to you to promote and position your brand with potential employers, taking everything you’ve learned into consideration when searching for your dream job or internship. Best of luck!


Heather currently serves as the Associate Director of Student Services for the Undergraduate Career Services Office in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. In her role, Heather guides students throughout their career development, lectures on career-related topics and personal branding, presents career workshops for students, supervises a team of career coaches, and develops/manages the social media efforts for her office. Before making the switch to Student Affairs, Heather worked in Marketing, Sales, and Promotion within the Music & Entertainment industry. Originally from New Jersey, Heather attended Indiana University for her undergraduate degree and The Ohio State University for her graduate studies. You can connect with Heather on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Related posts:

  1. Strategic Planning for Career Success: Assessment
  2. Strategic Planning for Career Success: Goal Setting
  3. Strategic Planning for Career Success: Exploration

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