Using SWOT analysis for your job search.

Using SWOT analysis for your job search.

Lets say you are a great achiever at university and just about to get started with your job applications. That is the time when self belief is really high and you are really pumped to get your first job. Often, what happens is that we take on the mammoth task of getting your first job without any real preparation or strategy. Eventually what happens is that we still believe that we are doing everything right and it’s just a matter of time when till we get our first interview call etc. Over time, the confidence and self belief tones down and we lose direction in our job search.

We have heard that it’s usually better to be proactive rather than reactive whatever it comes to. You are always a step ahead and know what to expect. I introduce to you, the SWOT analysis. Yes it’s not my theory but it’s what large organisations to individuals have been using, and still use for planning and strategy.  SWOT comprises of four things

Strength – Weakness – Opportunities – Threats

This practice is very common in marketing a product. In a job search scenario, you are essentially doing the same thing. You, yourself are the product, the prospective employer is your target audience and the search itself is the marketing campaign where you tell the consumer why is your product, you as a candidate, better than other products, other candidates.

Your Job Search Strengths:

  • What advantages (skills, education, connections) do you bring to your search?
  • What do you do better than the average seeker?
  • What positive habits do you bring to your search?
  • What connections do you have with influencers?

This goes without saying that the strengths is the most important sections of the analysis you conduct, hence it is very important to highlight your strengths. This will feature on your resume, on your social profile, your cover letter and during your interview. Make a list of your achievement, your unique skills, any specific training you have achieved which plays to your advantage and anything else that gives you an edge over your competitors.

Your Job Search Weaknesses:

  • Which job search tasks do you typically avoid?
  • How confident are you in your ability to land your next role within your target time frame?
  • What are your negative job search habits?
  • Do you have any personality traits which are holding you back?

Everything and everyone has some weakness, just a product that is marketed. No product is perfect. Consumer just prefer a product which is stronger than it’s competitors. Employers are looking for these weaknesses to weed you out, and might even ask you to address your weaknesses in an interview. A question most often asked in an interview is “Do you think you have any weakness?” or “What is your biggest weakness?” Make a list of your weaknesses and be ready to talk about them. Weaknesses can always be worked upon which will have a positive impact on your ability to do the job.

Your Job Search Opportunities:

  • What help can you access via technology in your search?
  • Do you have or are you building a network of strong career contacts?
  • Which parts of your target industries are growing?
  • Which search strategies are others leveraging well?

For this, you need to study the market and determine what sort of opportunities are out there and where they are. For example, if you are an IT Technician, you have the option of looking at different it companies or companies that provide solutions, but you also have the option of looking at a school or a hospital which has an IT department.  You can try and find out what companies are planning to increase their staff numbers and which companies are going on a hiring drive. With social media playing a lead role in job search these days, many opportunities can come up when searching the social media for job opportunities or just by networking with recruiters and hiring managers. Use this information to focus your job search on positions available and that you qualify for, and on companies in which you would fit well.

Your Job Search Threats:

  • What are your top job search obstacles?
  • How is the job search different for you this time around?
  • What is it that your competitors have that you do not?
  • Which of your weaknesses can most threaten your job search results?

Is there an over-supply of candidates for the same position? Is your industry currently cutting down on staff numbers? Is  technology changing – or eliminating – the need for your skill set? What does your competition have that you do not? Identify the threats that are out there and work towards addressing them. Perhaps you should look into other jobs requiring your skill set that are less competitive.

Once your SWOT analysis is complete, you will be in a better position to do a targeted job search with is likely to yield better results. When identified, you need to look at how you can build on your strengths, how you can address you weakness and improve on them, how you can make the most of the opportunities available to you and finally how you can counter the threats out there.

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About the Author

Mansoor Walli