Job seekers: Give yourself a SWOT
Feature Article- Thu., Jun. 30, 2011
Have you ever given yourself a SWOT? No. It’s not a typo. With a SWOT analysis, you examine your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, along with internal and external factors that might affect your employment search. Many organizations utilize a SWOT analysis to examine their business. A SWOT analysis can also help reduce the anxiety sometimes associated with finding employment.
“It’s a matter of confidence over competence, because most people know how to interview, but may not be confident in themselves,” said Chasity Trzop, director of career services at Brown Mackie College.
When you conduct a SWOT on yourself, it’s important that you ask, “What can you do well?” said Trzop. “For example, you may be great at multi-tasking and have great communication skills. Soft skills are usually where you will find strengths. Your strengths could be whatever comes naturally.”
Always go into an interview with a positive attitude. What is keeping you from calling potential employers? Some of the answers you may give include nerves or not knowing what to say.
“Some people just get nervous about the job search. It’s important to identify the issues and work on those issues with career coaches, or if you are a recent college graduate, visit your school’s career services department for assistance,” Trzop said. “Consider reviewing comments that were made about your strengths by past employers.”
You should always know your weaknesses, because interviewers will attempt to extract them from you. Never highlight your weak points on your résumé or during an interview. When an interviewer asked Trzop about her weaknesses, Trzop used the weakness she once had that is now a strength. She told the interviewer she took extra training to become very proficient in the area.
“Don’t let interviewers extract your weaknesses. Focus on what you do well,” she said. Don’t have a canned answer to a question regarding your weak points, because interviewers may have a follow-up question. Never let them see you sweat.
“Half of your job leads should be face-to-face or from picking up the phone, not just online,” said Trzop. “People complain about not getting jobs, but they’re not selling themselves nor creating opportunities. You cannot create an opportunity if you don’t know what your strengths are. Go out and volunteer. Create an opportunity.”
Trzop also suggests networking. Let family, friends and others know you are seeking employment. They may know someone who can help.
To identify threats that could prevent you from finding employment, ask yourself, “What is it that will keep me from having an effective and productive career search?” That’s the most critical time to make contacts in your field. What if you are waiting for a certification document that confirms training you took? Are there other barriers out there? There may be other barriers that could affect a successful job search. Know what those are,” Trzop said. Job seekers who get upset about not finding employment are sometimes too passive. Seek support from a career counselor, placement search teams, or if you are a recent college graduate, seek support and assistance from the career services department.
While the SWOT analysis creates anxiety during the process, it helps tremendously. Like preventative medicine, you can fix those threats and hopefully come out with promising results.
Courtesy of ARA Content