How many times have you faced the dreaded question in an interview: What are your weaknesses? The reason many people find this question intimidating is that they worry it leaves the door open for inference about them and extrapolates this as a risk that no one wants in an interview.
A way to answer this question
When you think a bit deeper, any weakness never stands on its own. It usually is a side effect of a strength that you carry; and in that, represents an opportunity. For example; in a tendency to micromanage, is hidden a natural strength of an underlying rigor, a concern about getting things right as well as a desire to have your people succeed. Strengths and opportunities should always counterbalance your weaknesses to project your personality in a wholesome way while positioning you in a positive light. Doing so also reveals a lot about your self-awareness and maturity- which can be a big differentiator when you are in a competitive recruiting situation. So how do you prepare yourself for such an exchange? The answer is to create a personal SWOT! In this article, we will discuss –
What is a personal SWOT Analysis?
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A personal SWOT Analysis is a great way to organize, prioritize, and plan as well as communicate your personal development. It is really a story that you tell about yourself. Backing up statements with examples, or involving one or two external opinions, is a great way to tell this story.
How to start your Personal SWOT?
For starters, it is worth setting aside some quiet time reflecting and introspecting to create a personal SWOT. Starting early and giving yourself time is a good idea since it’s hard to create a coherent story about yourself when you are crunched for time Based on your performance reviews and appraisals, you might already have a ton of data points about yourself. If so, take the time to browse through that material and gather themes. In case you are at relatively early stages in your career, find a colleague or friend you trust, get into a quiet room, and ask them their opinion. Better still, if there are a couple of people you trust, get a second person’s opinion for a truly full picture. Let’s begin your personal SWOT Analysis. First, separate your diagram into four sections. See our SlideUpLift SWOT Analysis Templates section for great templates that can give you very good starting points. In these templates, you will also see some actual examples to get inspiration from.
First, Your Weaknesses
This is where you should start! Surprised? but here is why it might make sense. Weakness is a great good place to start since it helps clarify thinking by focusing on your vulnerabilities and makes you feel more human. This also gives fodder for thinking deeply about and framing your strengths since strengths are often the flip side of your weakness. Besides, many of us tend to be overly self-critical and may have our self-improvement ideas ready-made in our minds. Remember thinking of your weaknesses doesn’t have to be a soul-crushing exercise. Even CEOs of companies are on a self-improvement journey; knowledge of one’s weakness is a testament to one’s self-awareness. Here are some ideas to get you started:
These are just ideas and concrete examples that may help you frame yours. If any of these resonate, please feel free to borrow.
Then, Your Strengths
Believe it or not, some of us really struggle with this. The question people get trapped in is: What am I really good at? How do I know my strengths are really what others will value. Let me break it to you folks: don’t overthink this- keep it simple. Here are a few tips to get you started
Strengths as the flip side of your weaknesses? This would be important to include to ensure you are telling your story as a person. Taking examples from weaknesses above
Be sure to pepper this section with a few of these types of strengths to round off your weaknesses.
Then, Think About Your Opportunities
The opportunity space is a topic that deals with how your persona can create an impact on business, projects, people, etc. This is where you take your personal story and extend it to the external impact. Here are a few ideas to get you started-
Last but not the least, Your Threats
For this final part of the Personal SWOT Analysis, you’ll need to identify any external obstacles that are standing between you and your vision of success. And most importantly, what are you doing about them
The threats section is all about personal awareness and your forward-looking mindset. So make the most of this section. If you have examples to back these claims up, then all the better. And remember, these examples don’t necessarily need to be actions performed in the workplace. If you did something awesome like rescue a puppy on the road, don’t keep it to yourself!
A personal SWOT Analysis is a great way to tell your story and communicate your whole persona to the interviewer. Done well, this can help differentiate you in a competitive pool with robust self-awareness open-mindedness. A few templates to do an effective Personal SWOT Analysis –
Do check out this short read if you want to learn all about What is SWOT Analysis and showcase your personal or business analysis in the most effective manner.
A few key points to keep in mind when working on your Personal SWOT Analysis-
Check out this video tutorial to learn how to do a personal SWOT Analysis-