Shadowing a DoctorFebruary 5, 2014
If you are standing at the crossroads of your career and cannot decide which way to go, a SWOT analysis could help you re-evaluate your career choices and make a better career decision. SWOT is a self-assessment tool devised by business and management consultant Albert Humphrey almost 60 years ago. The word is actually an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
How SWOT works
A SWOT analysis is designed to help you develop a clearer picture of where you want to take your career. In other words, it works as an effective blueprint for how you can get your career from point A to point B. For example, if you are looking for a way to go from being a floor nurse in a hospital to a nursing manager or a nursing executive in a healthcare corporation a SWOT analysis could help you do that.
Experts encourage professionals in all fields to do a SWOT analysis. It helps individuals compare their present role to what they would consider to be their job. The principle behind SWOT is that identifying your strengths, weaknesses and threats helps you to better identify areas for professional development, thus paving the way for future growth.
How to use a SWOT analysis
When doing a SWOT analysis it’s very easy to fudge a little so things don’t look so bad. However, those little white lies will all add up and give you a completely wrong result. The fact is, a SWOT analysis only works if you are brutally honest with yourself. Before you get started, resolve to take a detached view of things and treat the exercise as if you are actually analysing a third person who you are not emotionally invested in.
Don’t avoid those tough questions about your weaknesses. It’s only when you dig deep and identify those things you typically avoid that you can truly take steps to turn things round for you.
Get some help from someone who really knows you
No matter how honest you are with your analysis, it can still be difficult to capture all of your strengths and weaknesses simply because you may not have thought about it or because you prefer not to think about it. To be able to do an honest, no-holds-barred self-assessment, it is a good idea to rope in someone who really knows you and who can be detached and honest enough to point out holes in your self-analysis. While this person does not necessarily have to be a human resource professional or a career expert, you do need someone who will think independently and is not afraid to ask probing questions. The person you ask to help you out must have a well-rounded, objective view of you, and what you are like on and off the job.
Finally – Go with your gut feeling
The idea behind doing a SWOT analysis is for you to be able to identify your own strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities. While a consultant or career coach might be able to give you an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, only you know them best and only you know where your passion lies.
Time to get started
If you are stuck in a professional rut and don’t know which way to go, writing down these four words and filling in the blanks as honestly as you can, will help you find a clearer career path ahead.