The SWOT analysis is an incredibly powerful tool and has a variety of purposes.


The SWOT analysis tool has been a particularly useful tool for my own career transitions in the past. And, it can be incredibly powerful for you too but only if you use it in the right way. It’s not a list you laminate and put in a folder. It is continually evolving and developing. So, what’s the purpose of conducting a SWOT analysis?

Before we share the purpose of the SWOT analysis tool.  Let’s describe what is a SWOT analysis.  It’s a tool to collect a broad range of personal qualities, characteristics and values, and experience, qualifications, knowledge, and skills to analyse.  And, it is very powerful if you use the information gathered and analysed to create an action plan.  

Firstly, what is a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a tool to identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. And, most importantly to use the information gathered to make effective decisions on your job search or career direction.

Strengths: Experience, skills, knowledge, qualifications, training, characteristics, values, beliefs, motivators and demotivators, etc.

Weaknesses: This section gives you an opportunity to conduct a skills gap analysis in order to identify potential training and development needs. So, if you have identified a couple of potential job opportunities from the above information in the strengths section you can start to analysis where you are now and what you need to get to where you want to be.

Opportunities: This section relies on your researching the jobs market, sector, the current economy, companies, and businesses of interest. You can research and tap into a wealth of opportunities at networking events, seminars, business conferences or breakfast meetings, etc.

Threats: There are lots of different factors impacting the jobs market.  Use the PESTLE analysis tool to gather information and research your sector:

  • Political landscape
  • Environmental policy
  • Social and Demographic changes
  • Technological advances
  • Legal (Regulation and Legislation)
  • Economic (Growth, downturns, redundancies, downsizing, outsourcing, offshoring, business process re-engineering) conditions (PESTLE analysis).

Note: A lot of organisations don’t like the word ‘weakness’ anymore as it has such negative connotations. It’s now been replaced with the word “development”. The word development has a positive association with challenge and growth. A development is an opportunity in disguise!

What’s the purpose of a SWOT analysis?

  1. Help you identify career options and career change
  2. Create a career development plan
  3. Self-Analysis and Self-Reflection
  4. CV preparations
  5. Interview preparation

> Download the SWOT Analysis tool and Resources Checklist here: SWOT Analysis & Resources

So, whether you know what you want to do or are looking at your options for changing your career, this tool can help you.

Help you identify career options and career change

When you have completed all the sections you can then start to use the information to research your options.  Spend time researching job boards and reviewing the criteria.  This is a great exercise to gather some information and fact-find. 

Consider your behavioural competencies not just technical.  Usually, behavioural skills are the most transferable and will help you in identifying other career options. 

Create a career development plan

If you are truly committed to continuous development then this is an ideal tool for you.  It helps you identify where you need to focus your time and effort.  Review the developments (weaknesses) and check you are taking steps towards improving. 

Self-Analysis and Self-Reflection

It’s highly beneficial to make time to conduct some self-analysis and reflection.  Giving yourself some space and time to reflect allows for self-awareness.  This will enable you to gain a better understanding of your values, characteristics, driving factors (motivators and de-motivators), as well as all the other elements of the SWOT analysis.

CV Preparation

If you don’t have a CV and don’t know where to start this is a great tool.  It’s also great to update a tired or out-of-date CV.  Of course, you won’t be sharing your weaknesses!! Review the strengths section of this tool.  When you are compiling the information under the strengths section, add some key achievements. 

Interview Preparation

The most commonly asked question is still the strengths and weaknesses question.  And, most candidates dread this question.  So, you must prepare before the interview.  Prepare when you have an invite booked.  It’s important that you tailor your response and it’s more effective when you have a job in mind. 

What are the benefits?

Help you consider career options and review opportunities you hadn’t even realised.  It’s a tool that will help you start your action plan – research and address barriers.