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  • Writer's pictureFernanda Latorre

Prepare your interview starting with a Personal SWOT

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

What Does SWOT Stand For?

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

A Personal SWOT analysis is a self-introspection exercise to help you understand yourself and prepare for growth.

A Personal SWOT analysis helps you throughout your life, especially when facing -or looking for – a change. For example, after college, when looking for a new job, deciding on a new career path, starting your own business, or even for which hobbies you want to engage.

A SWOT brings you self-awareness, helping you figure out what needs to change and how to start changing it; What better than knowing yourself well?

Strengths Analysis

Strengths are in the sweet spot between what you are good at and what makes you unique.

If you are preparing for a job interview, I strongly suggest following this structure:

  1. Mention the strength.

  2. Give an example of when you applied that strength. Do not go into details; the interviewer will ask if he wants to know more.

Brainstorm with the following:

· What have been your biggest successes? (School, sports, work, group project) What characteristics made those accomplishments possible?

· What tangible qualifications do you have? (Certifications, degrees, education, training, internships, etc.)

· What projects have you worked on and completed? (Work, personal life, etc.)

· What do you value? Which actions reflect those values?

· What knowledge-based skills do you have? (Languages, digital skills, software knowledge, and other technical skills)

· What soft skills do you have?

· What positive personality traits do you have? (Friendly, funny, empathetic, enthusiastic, honest, patient)

· What do other people in your life say are your strengths? (Ask those who know you well, as others that might not)

Weaknesses Analysis

Weaknesses are blind spots, areas that need improvement, or problematic personal behaviours.

If you are preparing for a job interview, I suggest following this structure:

  1. Mention the weakness.

  2. Tell the interviewer how you are working on it.

Questions to help you brainstorm:

· What times have you “messed up”? (School, work, relationships, with your family, etc.) What did you do to cause that issue? What character trait can you identify?

· Are you missing any technical qualifications from your education or professional experience?

· What situations and tasks do you usually avoid? Why? What character trait can you identify?

· What bad habits do you have?

· What have been the valid complaints about you?

· What things could you improve?

· What would others say you could improve?

Opportunity Analysis

Opportunity is where you can do something about it; this is the call to action.

Questions to help you brainstorm:

· What Job Postings match your Strengths description?

· What projects or tasks at your job -or potential job- could you join or take in?

· What potential could you have if you improved one or two of your weaknesses?

· What connections do you have that you can leverage to find work opportunities?

Threat Analysis

A threat is what blocks you or prevents you from moving forwards.

Questions to help you brainstorm:

· Is there someone/something in your life holding you back?

· Think about your weaknesses: Does anyone in your life exacerbate these weaknesses or encourage them?

· Are there any new trends, technologies, or processes you can’t or haven’t gotten involved in keeping you from advancing?

· Are specific tasks, errands, or projects that bog you down and keep you from advancing?

· Is your job, education, or personal life getting in the way of advancing in one of the other areas?

· Do any of your traits or weaknesses directly lead to a threat to your success?

· Think about things that, if they were different, would help you move closer to achieving your goals. What are they?

Remember, be brutally honest. The SWOT exercise is for you and your eyes only. You decide later what to share with your interviewer or friends. But to make it worthwhile for you, you must be honest and diligent with every section. You can make it extremely thorough or create an executive version. Whatever works best for you and the situation you are in.

Start NOW!

Article inspired in Slidemodel: Personal SWOT Analysis: Quick Guide.

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