career Librarian & Entrepreneurship Library Leadership

SWOT As A Tool

Do you need a tool to determine next steps for your career or maybe another big decision in your life?  Ever wonder how data can help you make decisions? Read on for the steps in creating your own S.W.O.T. analysis and why it is an important tool.

Strengths and Opportunities

A simple S.W.O.T. analysis uses four metrics, using available information about your project or decision. The four components are: S=Strengths, W=Weaknesses, O=Opportunities and T=Threats.  Strengths and opportunities are seen as the positives for a decision or project.

If you’re making a career move, a strength of yours would be flexibility in moving for a job. An opportunity would be your strong negotiating skills, to help you find your next job. Anything which will help the cause is your strength and an opportunity to achieve your goal.

Weaknesses and Threats

On the other hand, weaknesses and threats hinder your pursuits. Using a career move as the same example, a weakness is your inability to relocate for a job. A threat might be a poor job market in your desired location. Using a SWOT template, you list the information you’ve gathered. You would then analyze your career needs and the possible steps to move toward your goal. To sum it up, it’s a pros and cons list for situations, decisions, or projects.

Why S.W.O.T.

S.W.O.T. analysis tools are used to develop strategic plans, gain stakeholder feedback, and provide data for decisions.  In the library strategic plans I’ve developed, S.W.O.T. templates, focus groups and surveys were used to create and implement plans.  I’ve also seen interviewees use S.W.O.T. analysis to help “sell” themselves during a recruitment. Again, information that is data-driven will add value to a decision or project. Being knowledgeable in developing a S.W.O.T. analysis for your next project or committee will add value.  You will also have the data to back up decisions.

Take some time to determine if a S.W.O.T. analysis will help you and then check out the various templates to make the job easier.