Have Your Done A Personal SWOT Analysis?

As someone who calls themselves a Learning and Development Professional you will understand, I am sure, that I am a great believer in the importance of continuous personal and professional development.

The word ‘continuous’ means that it is a process which never ends. Personal Development and indeed professional development are things which continue throughout our working lives and beyond.

Over the years as I have worked with people both in groups and individually one of the things that I have seen with many is that the cause of dissatisfaction they experience with their careers and with the way their lives are going is the disconnect between what they are doing and what is important to them.

I have talked about this before in terms of personal values in my article about Aligning our Career and our Values. However I want to take a different perspective on it here and look at ways in which each of us can start to tackle the issues by looking at how we can use a Personal SWOT Analysis to give shape to our learning and development activity as individuals.

What is a Personal SWOT Analysis?

I am sure that you are already aware that many business organisations commonly use Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis as a tool to analyse themselves, frequently as part of their Business Planning processes. It forms the basis for their future activity and also can provide valuable insights into why things are as they are at the time they do the SWOT Analysis.

A SWOT analysis, though predominantly used in organisations can be used just as effectively at a personal level. By taking a look at yourself in this way you can determine where you need to focus your efforts in terms of your self-improvement and personal development.

Here are a few thoughts in each of the four areas that you might want to consider during your SWOT analysis, both from your own point of view as well as from that of an independent observer. In fact once you have completed your first draft you might want to share it with others to get their feedback.


Your strengths include all the things you are good at doing. These are the personality traits that make me unique and differentiate me from others. Your strengths are what help to make you effective at a professional as well as a personal level.

In assessing your strengths you may want to consider the following:

  • The things that you are capable of doing better than others.
  • Three skills and abilities that possess which others admire and respect.
  • Your achievements using my skills and efforts as a professional.
  • Your educational or professional qualifications.
  • Your personal qualities that stand out through my work and in my behaviour.


Although some will argue that you should focus on developing your strengthst rather than worrying about your weaknesses if you have identified areas that you want or need to develop then include them here.

So, your weaknesses are those things which are, in your opinion, not suitably developed. They are the things which are acting as a barrier to your personal growth and to the achievement of your objectives.

In considering your weaknesses or areas for development you might want to think about the following:

  • The single thing that generates the greatest amount of fear in you in your professional and/or personal life.
  • Three things that people youu trust say you need to change or correct.
  • The things that you are required to do that you would rather steer clear of, for the reason that you are apprehensive or afraid to do them.
  • Personality traits that keep you from taking a stand against something that you believe is wrong.
  • Characteristics in you that prevent people from seeking your help in areas where you would like to offer your help.


These are the chances that you have to develop yourself positively, to become more self-confident and perhaps even to enhance your trust in your own capabilities.

An in-depth study of your opportunities will cover:

  • The steps you need to take to ensure that your strengths are accentuated.
  • Identification of the people who can help you with your personal and professional development.
  • Identification of opportunities that are available to you to demonstrate your capabilities to your superiors and co-workers.
  • The ways in which you can contribute your services to help others with their workload, that will also display your useful and proactive nature.
  • The opportunities to project yourself and the things that you do in a positive light.


Threats are impediments and obstacles in the way of my attaining excellence in the things that I undertake to do.

Your assessment of threats could involve:

  • Identification of the things that hinder your efforts at excelling in everything you do as well as the steps that will help in overcoming these hindrances.
  • Identification of people who may hinder the advancement of your professional career and what you need to do to address them.
  • Pinpointing impediments in the workplace that may stop you securing promotions and how to remove them or overcome them.
  • Identification of peers who could compete against you for a job and what skills you need to develop to be in a better position to apply.

A thorough Personal SWOT analysis will reveal areas which you need to focus on in terms of your learning and development or personal development. Dealing with your weaknesses appropriately and with a clear focus on your strengths will make you feel renewed, leaving you energised and ready to confidently take on all new opportunities that present themselves. The Personal SWOT analysis is a great way to get a clearer picture of where you are right now and what you need to do to move forward and focus on your continuous personal and professional development.

In a future article I will look at how, with these insights, you can create your own Personal Development Plan but for now take the time to complete your Personal SWOT Analysis.

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