Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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SWOT your personal skills


A SWOT analysis helps you to examine your skills in a context of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and this will increase your ability to plan your career preparation.

Brief description:

A personal SWOT analysis is a structure for analysing your own strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats you face. It is one step in a process which helps you to:

  1. appreciate the strengths of a situation, and you may then decide to build on these;
  2. define the weaknesses, which you might choose to  minimise; 
  3. make the most of the opportunities that present themselves, and
  4. recognise the possible threats and treat them in a planned and organised way.

Here is an example SWOT analysis from the University of Leeds School of Geography. In a SWOT analysis you note issues under the four headings. If you are new to the process the following questions may be helpful prompts to your thinking.

  • What are your personal strengths?
  • What do you do well?
  • What do other people see as your strengths?
  • What can be developed?
  • What could you improve?
  • What is working less optimally than you wish?
  • What is being done badly?
  • What should you avoid doing?
  • If there were no constraints what would you like to do?
  • What might be possible?
  • What will happen in the next few years?
  • Where do you want to be in five years time?
  • Who might you want to work with?
  • What could be a win – win situation?
  • How may new technologies change your practices?
  • What are the barriers to your development?
  • What sort of obstacles do you face?
  • Who else might move in a take over your tasks / job / business?
  • Can you fund the short and long term?
  • Will new technologies / developments change your roles?
  • What change is coming?

SWOT sheet Here is an example SWOT sheet for you to use.