“Chance favors the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur

VENTURES AFRICA – Career is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a person’s “course or progress through life (or a distinct portion of life)”. It can also pertain to an occupation or a profession. In a nutshell, your career is your life, choose wisely!

How can you be sure of the right path to follow in your career? Remember my earlier post – play to your strength, set your passion free and find the right people to work with. If you missed the post read it here. Today’s post is a continuation of our career work in progress journey and I would be unfolding another useful concept – how to conduct a career SWOT analysis!

SWOT Analysis is a very renowned business strategic planning tool useful to evaluate a project or business venture. The word SWOT is an acronym which means Strengths Weakness Opportunities and Threats. To a large extent, the SWOT analysis is responsible for quite a number of successful business ventures today.

Let’s do a simple analogy of the concept in real life – what is the strength of SKY News as an organization? Did I hear you say, breaking the news? Yes, you are right.  What about E! Channel? – Entertainment. Would SKY News be able to compete with E!? Not really, because their core strength differs. Same holds for an iPhone and a Blackberry Phone, they differ on the basis of strengths. However, in the African market Blackberry phone seems to be the ravel of the moment now while the iPhone dominates the US and Europe. Why you would ask? – Market opportunities for both products differ. I can go on and on. This key strategic planning tool can be made adaptable to the career planning process and it would yield useful results.

What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward. If you look at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to separate yourself from your peers, and further develop the specialized talents and abilities you need to advance your career.

Find outlined below, is a quick guide to how to conduct a Career SWOT analysis:

Strengths: By strengths we refer to the internal positive aspects of your career that are under your control and upon which you can base your career planning process. These areas include but not limited to educational qualification, professional certification/affiliation, work experience, technical knowledge of your field, personal characteristics, specific transferable skills etc. Why choose a career or apply to a job you are not qualified for?  The idea here is to play to your strengths!

Weaknesses: By weaknesses we refer to the internal negative aspects of your career that are under your control and upon which you plan to improve. These areas include but not limited to lack of work experience, low grade, weak technical knowledge, weak job-hunting skills etc. The idea is not to focus on your weaknesses but acknowledge them and find ways to reduce their effect on your career.

Opportunities: By opportunities we refer to the external positive career conditions that are not under your control but you can plan to use them to your advantage. These include but not limited to economic growth in a field that leads to creation of more jobs, technological advancement/globalization, opportunity for professional development in your field etc. The idea here is for you to maximize these opportunities to your advantage.

Threats: By threats we refer to the external negative career conditions that are not under your control but you can plan to lessen its effect on your career aspirations. These include but not limited to negative economic trends that may lead to downsizing, talent war with job seekers that has superior skills/experience than you do, companies are not people with your class of degree etc. The idea is for you to plan to lessen these threats as much as you can.

The above list of Career SWOT analysis is not exhaustive, go ahead and make your own personal career SWOT analysis. Once, you have your SWOT result, you can use it as a guide as you plan to chose a career as well as apply for a job.

I believe this post has been a paradigm shift experience for you.  The essence is for you to be better quipped in the career planning process and come to terms with the fact that you can actually take charge of your career!

Feel free to drop your views in the comment section of this post.

Till next time, we are all work in progress!

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