Personal SWOT Analysis for Bellevue Job Seekers

Many professionals recognize the value of a SWOT analysis for their companies. Understanding a business’ Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats gives leaders a new perspective on what the organization does well, where its challenges lie and which avenues to pursue. However, few people realize that a personal SWOT analysis can do the same for an individual in pursuit of his or her career goals.

The SWOT analysis was first devised as a business tool in the 1960s by business icons Edmund P. Learned, C. Roland Christensen, Kenneth Andrews and William D. Guth. In 1982, Heinz Weihrich took it one step further, constructing a 2-by-2 matrix to plot out the answers to the four key questions for easy comparison. Strengths and Weaknesses were across the top, and Opportunities and Threats in the bottom row. This remains the most common and effective way to conduct the analysis.

Most professionals look at their strengths and weaknesses, a SWOT analysis takes things a step further by forcing people to think about the external factors that bear heavily on the health and direction of their careers. Looking at the quadrants together can be a creative way to think about where you are in your career and the directions you could take,

SWOT can also help people become the best versions of themselves. Self-assessment is a key activity in striving to achieve a sense of one’s personal best. The SWOT analysis exercise ignites an enhanced awareness of what one brings to the table in a balanced light of both advantages and challenges. Organizations roll out elaborate schemes to remain competitive as well as innovative. Why wouldn’t individuals want to achieve the same level of excellence for themselves?”

To conduct a personal SWOT analysis, ask yourself questions about each of the four areas being examined. Answer honestly. Honesty is crucial, or the analysis will not generate meaningful results. With that in mind, try to see yourself from the standpoint of a colleague or a bystander, and view criticism with objectivity.

It’s also important to imagine the potential of what you can become,

“Don’t limit yourself to the strengths that you’re currently exhibiting in your job.  List all of your strengths, even the ones that have been dormant for a while. And pay particular attention to the things that you have that your peers don’t — how are you different, unique and special?”

Begin by identifying your strengths. These are the traits or skills that set you apart from others. Questions to ask include:

  • What are you good at naturally?
  • What skills have you worked to develop?
  • What are your talents, or natural-born gifts?
  • How strong is your network of connections?
  • What do other people see as your strengths?
  • What values and ethics set you apart from your peers?

The next step is weaknesses.This part examines the areas in which you need to improve and the things that will set you back in your career. Questions to consider include:

  • What are your negative work habits and traits?
  • Does any part of your education or training need improving?
  • What would other people see as your weaknesses?
  • Where can you improve?
  • What are you afraid to do or most likely to avoid?
  • What negative feedback about your personality or work habits have you received?

For the opportunities section, look at the external factors you can take advantage of to pursue a promotion, find a new job or determine a career direction. Questions to examine include:

  • What is the state of the economy?
  • Is your industry growing?
  • Is there new technology in your industry?
  • Is there new demand for a skill or trait you possess?
  • What are the biggest changes occurring in the current business environment?
  • Have customers or co-workers given you feedback about new services you could provide, or ways to improve your manner?

Finally, look at any threats to your career growth. This part takes into account the external factors that could hurt your chances to attain your goals. The factors to take into account include:

  • Is your industry contracting or changing directions?
  • Is there strong competition for the types of jobs for which you are best suited?
  • Do your weaknesses inhibit your ability to rise in your company or change jobs?
  • What is the biggest external danger to your goals?
  • Are there any new professional standards you cannot meet?
  • Are there any new technology, education or certification requirements that will impede your progress?

Finding the necessary objectivity to conduct a personal SWOT analysis can be a challenge. For this reason you are advised to invite others who know you well to review your ideas for accuracy. We often cannot see how we come across in our interactions with others, so their feedback is valuable.

In some cases, you may be well-served by getting the help of a professional. We encourage job seekers to work with professionals certified in various assessment instruments, or to research assessment tools online that can provided measured feedback for consideration.

Once you have filled out the matrix, there are two ways to analyze the information and build a strategy: matching or converting.

Matching means connecting two of the categories to determine a course of action. For example, matching strengths to opportunities shows you where to be aggressive and take action. On the other hand, matching weaknesses to threats exposes those areas you should work on or situations to avoid, and lets you know where to be more defensive of your position.

To convert is to turn negatives into positives — in other words, converting your weaknesses into strengths, or threats into opportunities. This can mean growing a skill set through education, or finding a creative way to feature a weakness as a strength. For instance, if you are very outgoing, working in an introspective and isolated environment may not suit you very well. But if you can work toward a position, such as sales, in which you interact with many people, that weakness turns into a strength and could allow you to excel.

Once your personal SWOT analysis is complete, it is crucial to follow through on the insights you uncovered.

SWOT analysis can fail to be effective if it is simply treated as a ‘laundry list,’ without any tie-in to how the elements identified in the analysis can be put into play for the individual carrying out the assessment. For example, how can the identified strengths move the needle in the endeavor to achieve a key goal? Or how can one navigate a potential threat once it is identified, so as to ensure no ground is lost?”

“The best outcome is to take action and succeed in the opportunities you have identified.  This can benefit you on a personal and professional level, and set you apart from your peers and colleagues.

Those who want to conduct their own SWOT analyses can visit numerous career sites providing online templates and further information:

Image Courtesy: http://www.chunkofchange.com/wp-content/uploads/swot-analysis_54534e77d19ce_w1500.jpg

Evolution is an necessary to upgrade your career.

Continue Learning and Training  

Once you know what you want to do, find out which credentials are either necessary or beneficial for your career evolution. While some positions might require credentials, others may consider certain certifications as a ‘Nice to Have’—which means you’ll get a leg up if you have it.

Continuing your training and education is paramount, especially in the tech industry. In fact, more than 55 percent of developers seek out training to meet current or upcoming needs or to advance their careers, according to the 2017 Developer Learning Survey. In this case, for example with a software engineer, it may be required that you have certain credentials thanks to the fast-evolving world of technology.

In other cases, like the example of moving from sales to marketing, a credential you likely don’t need is a Google Analytics Certification. However, it will look great on your resume and is free to take. Not to mention, knowing how to navigate Google Analytics is a skill most marketers need to have to be successful, whether you learn on the job or come into a new position with the knowledge already.

Just starting your career?

Set clear goals

The very first step is goal determination: What exactly does “career” mean for you? Is this associated with a certain amount of money? Do you want to reach a particular position?

Only when you have a clear idea of what it means for you to “make a career” can you also work towards this purpose. Many people do not take the time to become aware of their own career goals consciously and systematically. Do it! Write down for yourself what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. Imagine what it will be like when you reach your destination. Work out a very concrete and detailed plan of action to get you where you want to go. Take your career goal actively in hand.

Become aware of what your career may cost

If you know what you want to achieve, you should also consider what you are willing to pay for it. Many people’s careers are at the cost of their relationship with their life partner, or they neglect their health, free time, and other things that make up their quality of life. But if you want to stay fit, you need to make sure you’re fine – physically, mentally and mentally. So you should be clear in advance about what you may and may not cost your career. Only then can you make appropriate decisions in your professional life. Sometimes a career leap is not worth it if you have to give too much of what is important to you.

Take your time to self-reflection

Time and time again to pause and think

  • what you do exactly
  • how useful that is,
  • whether it brings you to where you want to go and
  • maybe that will be easier too.

Especially when you are very eager to achieve a goal, in many cases takes over a kind of inner “autopilot” and controls our behavior. Such automatic ways of thinking and behaving should be discovered and questioned as soon as possible. Otherwise, you can easily find a way that does not take you where you want to go.

Want to climb the career ladder?

Take initiative.

Today’s career requirements are highly developed and require much more than someone who won’t take risks. In today’s competitive career landscape, employers are looking for individuals who can bring fresh ideas to the table and take initiative, start new projects, pitch new solutions and create new opportunities for the business.

Be your own evaluator.

One of the best ways to achieve career success is to keep assessing your performance. Don’t wait for your annual appraisal – do it yourself. An ideal way to do this would be to identify quantifiable goals and set a timeline for achieving them. Start with setting short-term goals when you’re new to a job. Create a detailed plan to achieve these goals. Break the tasks down into weekly or even daily tasks and fill out a small form at the end of the week to assess where you’re headed and whether you need to change your strategy. You can even show your own performance report to your managers at some point to show how you’ve progressed. This will show that you understand the importance of constant self-evaluation and improvement.

Be ready to learn.

To excel in your career, you have to be willing to learn. No matter what university you graduated from or what grades you had, professional life will be very different from college. Be prepared to have a million questions pop up every day regarding what you’re doing. It might take you days to get a hang of your duties at your new job, so show management that you are coachable, paying attention and always willing to learn new things.

Anticipate needs.

To succeed in your new job and achieve career success, you will have to be well aware of what your manager needs. Stay a step ahead of your boss by asking yourself, “If I were my boss, what would I want done next?” By making sure you get things efficiently done in time, and take the initiative to do them yourself, you will be showing a positive, go-getter attitude to higher management.

Bellevue Recruiter tells you how to answer a few tricky questions

What is your greatest accomplishment?”

Although the interviewer is asking you about your greatest accomplishment, you still have to choose one that is more professionally relevant. This is a good time to illustrate how you can contribute to the company if you are successfully recruited, so it will be to your advantage if you mention an achievement that applies to the position.

Let’s say you are applying for a position that requires a significant amount of problem solving and troubleshooting. You might want to talk about a time when you resolved a persistent problem that had plagued your company for years. You can explain how you initiated some research and made a useful suggestion that was eventually implemented to all departments. If possible, quantify your results in terms of savings made and increased productivity for instance.

Why did you apply for this position?”

Even if it’s true to a large extent, don’t give them the vibe that you applied for this job because you were retrenched from your previous company. Or for that matter, don’t give the impression that you are here because you need to make a living. Any company wants someone who is committed to the organization and eventually developed a sense of belonging with it. It doesn’t help claiming that you’re here for the monthly paycheck.

In fact, the best way to answer this question is to spend some time examining what you like or would like about your work and the company. It is likely you will find something, such as the culture, work environment, meaning of your work, etc. If you didn’t find anything, then you should seriously consider if this is the right job for you.

Once you know why you want this job, you can then answer them in a manner that’ll relate how well you fit with the position. For example, if you like the customer service work involved because you enjoy communicating with people, bring up that sociable personality of yours. Convince them that you’ll fit in very well here, and you’ll in turn convince the interviewer that you’ll be an asset to the company.

Why should I hire you?”

This is the part where you link your skills, experience, education and your personality to the job itself. This is why you need to be utterly familiar with the job description as well as the company culture. Remember though, it’s best to back them up with actual examples of say, how you are a good team player.

It is possible that you may not have as much skills, experience or qualifications as the other candidates. What then, will set you apart from the rest? Energy and passion might. People are attracted to someone who is charismatic, who show immense amount of energy when they talk, and who love what it is that they do. As you explain your compatibility with the job and company, be sure to portray yourself as that motivated, confident and energetic person, ever-ready to commit to the cause of the company.

I want to land a real job in sales. Where should I start?

If you want to be a salesperson and don’t want to get wrapped up in direct sales, the best option is to find something you know a lot about and try to get a job selling it at the entry level. If you understand financial products, apply at banks. If you know cars, apply at car dealerships. If you know jewelry, apply at jewelers. Anywhere that sells something you understand and offers commission is a great starting point.

Once you have a proven track record, even if it’s just selling inexpensive used cars at a local lot or basic banking products at a local branch, you can use that as a jumping-off point for scoring higher-commission sales jobs. Learning to utilize social media marketing, online research and customer relationship management systems can also boost your marketability in the legitimate sales world.

Come see us at Career Paths NW, we specialize in placing people in Sales Jobs, call today or email us your resume.

Job Search in 2019

Determine What Job You Want and Are Eligible For

Before you start looking for a job, you have to figure out what position you want. Have a specific job title in mind, and then do some research to determine the keywords you’ll use when you start looking for jobs.

When you start job searching, the job description, responsibilities, and requirements will tell you more than the title alone, as titles and roles tend to vary between companies. It can also be a helpful exercise to write a sample job description outlining your ideal position.

Although it’s acceptable to apply to several “reach” positions, don’t waste your time searching for or applying to jobs that you are clearly unqualified for. Figure out in advance how you’re going to decide which jobs to apply to, then actively keep these parameters in mind when you’re job hunting.

What to put in your Resume in 2019

1. Don’t Put Everything on There

Your resume should not have every work experience you’ve ever had listed on it. Think of your resume not as a comprehensive list of your career history, but as a marketing document selling you as the perfect person for the job. For each resume you send out, you’ll want to highlight only the accomplishments and skills that are most relevant to the job at hand (even if that means you don’t include all of your experience).

2. But Keep a Master List of All Jobs

Since you’ll want to be swapping different information in and out depending on the job you’re applying to, keep a resume master list on your computer where you keep any information you’ve ever included on a resume: old positions, bullet points tailored for different applications, special projects that only sometimes make sense to include. Then, when you’re crafting each resume, it’s just a matter of cutting and pasting relevant information together. Think of this as your brag file.

3. Put the Best Stuff “Above the Fold”

In marketing speak, “above the fold” refers to what you see on the front half of a folded newspaper (or, in the digital age, before you scroll down on a website), but basically it’s your first impression of a document. In resume speak, it means you should make sure your best experiences and accomplishments are visible on the top third of your resume. This top section is what the hiring manager is going to see first—and what will serve as a hook for someone to keep on reading. So focus on putting your best, most relevant experiences first—and then check out these five other marketing tricks to get your resume noticed.

Networking for 2019

1. Stop Saying Networking

Reconfigure what you think when you hear the word “networking.” In fact, scratch that word altogether, and think of your next networking event as an “open exchange”—one with no pressure and plenty of opportunity. At an “open exchange,” you’re free to share ideas, contacts, information, and resources with tons of interesting people. The prospects that inspires are boundless, and it doesn’t cost much more than a conversation. Already sounds better, right?

2. Choose Non-Lame Events

Don’t just go to any old event—choose events where you know you’ll have something in common with people, like conferences that relate specifically to your industry or happy hours put on by your alumni association. It’s much easier to make conversation in these groups than it is at more general events.

3. Or, Host Your Own!

Email 10 of your friends, suggest a place and date, and ask each person to bring someone new. To keep the event more professional, you could plan a structured conversation about everyone’s career goals, status of their job satisfaction, or even current industry trends.

4. Volunteer

Instead of just attending an event, “volunteer to help with raffles or name tags. It’ll give you an excuse to talk to people, and that makes it much easier to follow through and be social. Plus you never know whom you’ll meet.” 

5. Think Outside the Networking Event

Remember, not all networking has to happen at cocktail hour types of events. In fact, some of the most interesting relationship-building can happen elsewhere. See if there’s a conference you can attend, a hackathon you can participate in, or even a project you can help with. These sorts of events will put you in a much more collaborative environment that will allow you to get to know people in a different way than by simply drilling them with questions.

Stay Connected while working remotely

So what’s the secret to staying relevant in a company when you’re not physically in the office? Here are 15 ways to stay present at work when you work from home:

1. Check in regularly. Since you can’t pop into a nearby office or chat in the elevator, constant communication is key.

2. Announce news often. Make an effort to frequently update your team so your role isn’t forgotten. Met with a new client? Made new strides in a project? Email everyone on your team when new events happen.

3. Identify your team’s busiest time of day. Some offices buzz early. Some really get rolling at 4 pm. Figure out that peak time of work at your office and then make sure you’re responding to any correspondence in real time.

4. Carve out a time when you answer calls and emails. Get more done and ditch distractions by sticking to that schedule.

5. Add your coworkers on your social media feed. “If you share your profiles on social media with your coworkers, pop on there occasionally to like, comment, and share, especially work-related items. Take part in the virtual celebrations of your colleagues, and share your own wins as appropriate.

6. Don’t forget to pick up the phone. With so many digital ways to stay connected, it can be hard to remember that the old-fashioned phone call could also be the most effective during critical times.

7. Set up video-conferencing equipment. Set up a Zoom account or other video conferencing platform and use it to connect with your team.

8. Attend company functions. If you’re local, attend big team meetings, holiday parties, or annual meetings.