Personal SWOT Analysis: What, Why and How

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A fairly familiar term in marketing, SWOT is an older, simpler analysis done by businesses to understand where they stand. While newer forms of data analysis seem to have taken over, the sheer simplicity of the SWOT gives its brilliance.

So, why not apply it to ourselves in the path to self-improvement? Let’s take a look on how to go about it.

What is Personal SWOT Analysis?

It is an exercise in self-introspection to help you understand yourself better. You get to know your

  • Strengths: the things you are good it, that separate you from others.
  • Weaknesses: the things that need improvement, that stop you from exploring your full potential
  • Opportunities: Areas/ Chances that can make you potentially thrive
  • Threats: Elements that are potentially harmful to you or distracting you.

In your introspection, you also take into account, in addition to your professional skills, your soft skills, emotional components and inter-personal skills.

When to do a personal SWOT?

You can do it at any point in your like to keep tabs on how you are doing. Ideally, you need to do a personal SWOT analysis before making a big life change. Before changing careers, before an interview or choosing courses or colleges, a personal SWOT analysis will give you a better sense of who you are.


How to go about it?

These are the points you introspect and write about yourself.

  • The Strengths:This is usually the easiest place to begin. It fills you with positivity and makes you feel good about the whole exercise. You look for the things that you are good at and something that makes you special. Do not underestimate any of your strengths. If you are finding it difficult to list them out, here’s a set of hints that can guide you to the answers:
    • The things you consider your biggest successes
    • Your degrees and qualifications
    • Other knowledge-based skills (tech skills, for instance)
    • Values, Soft-skills, personality traits (leadership, honesty, empathy, etc.) that define you
    • Independent projects that you have taken up and completed
    • What your trusted friends and family feel about you
  • The Weaknesses:This is slightly harder to put down, but is integral to the process. Not knowing your weaknesses can blindside you in an interview or in the middle of a job. This is for your eyes only, so be as honest as you can.
    • The times you have made mistakes
    • Qualifications you are missing
    • The things/ tasks you usually avoid
    • Your vices
    • The instances where people have complained about you (validly, of course)
  • The Opportunities Your list of opportunities will depend on why you are doing the analysis. If you are looking for new work opportunities, then those specific opportunities is what you will look for.
    • Your list of opportunities must ultimately build towards the reaching of your goal, whether it is jobs, education or personal life choices.
    • You look for opportunities that will develop your potential, the kind of courses that you will be good at, the networking who can help you with it and so on…
  • The Threats In a business analysis, threats usually refer to competitors. However, when you are doing a personal analysis, you look for those who exacerbate your weaknesses or act as a hindrance in achieving your goals.
    • Is there someone/ something in your life holding you back?
    • Are there any particular things that drain you out?
    • Are there any personality traits you consider your weakness?
    • Is there any advancement in your field that you are not keeping up with?

Personal SWOT analysis examples

personal swot analysis examples for students

Source: A comprehensive guide to creating your personal SWOT Analysis

What Next?

While the personal SWOT analysis is an extremely valuable tool in self-knowledge, we do have to warn you about one thing – biases. Whether it stems from another source or from yourself, biases can skew the analysis. So, it is best if you can substantiate each of your points with examples so you don’t over or undersell yourself.

Now that you have put it down, what is the next step? You continue to build your strengths, work on your weaknesses, follow up on the opportunities and make the threats not so threatening.

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