Guide: How To Write a Personal SWOT Analysis

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 21 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Businesses often use an analysis called “SWOT” to determine their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. You can use the same technique on yourself when you want to make an informed decision after assessing all aspects of a situation. Learning how to use a SWOT analysis may help you form logical conclusions as you handle different decisions in your career. In this article, we will discuss what a personal SWOT analysis is, why it is important and how to write your own analysis.

What is a personal SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis considers all factors, whether positive or negative, external or internal. You can use this analysis in many situations, such as determining a career path, creating an effective performance evaluation or deciding how to design a product. In a self SWOT analysis, you assess yourself in detail, in the context of a given situation.

The internal factors are those that you contribute to the situation, such as your strengths and weaknesses. These may relate to things like soft and hard skills, personal habits, expertise or experience. On the other hand, the external factors are those that the situation contributes, such as opportunities and threats. These may relate to things like the industry, work culture, prospects or the influence of other professionals like co-workers, superiors and competitors. SWOT stands for:

  • Strengths

  • Weaknesses

  • Opportunities

  • Threats

Related: SWOT Analysis Guide (With Examples)

How to write a personal SWOT analysis

To create a standard SWOT analysis, draw a box and separate it into four squares. Each square contains one of the SWOT topics: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a situation. Use the squares to make your lists under the different categories. You can include as many items in the squares as you need to form a thorough conclusion. Follow these five steps to create a thorough self SWOT analysis for a variety of professional situations:

1. List your relevant strengths

You may start by assessing what internal factors benefit you in the context of your situation. These include any relevant qualifications, skills and abilities that you may have. Additionally, you can also add formal education, relevant work experiences, certifications, official recognitions and any useful training you have received. If you are performing a SWOT analysis while searching for a job, your strengths can also include testimonials and recommendations, professional connections and willingness to relocate or work remotely.

Listing your strengths can also help you identify the most relevant qualifications while preparing a cover letter or resume for a job application. If you are preparing the analysis for an interview, you may consider listing some examples of situations where you employed these strengths and how they benefitted you in that specific situation.

Related: Core strengths needed to succeed in the new world of work

2. Review your weaknesses

While listing weaknesses, be honest and objective. This helps make your analysis effective and generate useful inferences. Assessing your weaknesses thoroughly allows you to identify crucial areas for improvement. In a recruitment situation, employers and interviewers prefer candidates who are well aware of their shortcomings and have logical plans for improvement. Weaknesses could also be factors that have the potential to impede your productivity, like underlying medical conditions or unavailability during certain periods.

Related: Addressing Your Weaknesses in an Interview

3. Define your opportunities

Any external factors that can benefit your situation may be listed as opportunities. These include the resources you have at your disposal and market trends or phenomena that can support your professional journey.

For example, if you are a data scientist who has experience working in the field of machine learning and AI (Artificial Intelligence), your opportunities section may look like this:


  • Data science is a relatively new field with steadily improving job prospects and an increasing number of job opportunities.

  • Work experience in machine learning and AI corresponds to niche skills and technical knowledge that is highly in demand in the market.

  • There is the additional possibility of working as a part-time consultant for multiple clients, instead of full-time, for a single employer.

4. Understand any potential threats

Any factor that arises from the situation and puts you at a disadvantage is a potential threat that you should address and prepare for. Threats include things like a small job market, low earning potential, competition or specific limitations within an industry. Once you have listed threats, you may also consider preparing detailed plans to minimise the risk or mitigate their impact. Proper assessment and thoughtful planning can help you turn many threats into opportunities.

For example, assume that you are a retail store owner who deals in stationery items. A new e-commerce site has started up in your market and is undercutting your prices consistently through large bulk order purchases and effective marketing strategies. You may choose to pursue a listing on that e-commerce website, to improve sales and still turn a profit with attractive prices. Alternatively, you may also secure a bank loan for bulk procurement of stationery items, which in turn allows you to provide competitive pricing.

Related: How To Write an Action Plan (With Template and Example)

5. Make an informed decision

When reviewing your analysis, compare sections side-by-side to develop a comprehensive understanding of your situation. Evaluate whether your opportunities and strengths can help you overcome threats and weaknesses. If you feel that your threats and weaknesses dominate, prepare systematic plans to address them. Determine methodologies to execute your plans, and identify specific tasks you can start working on in the near future.

What is the importance of personal SWOT analysis?

Performing a SWOT analysis will help accelerate your personal development and ensure that you understand your professional situation in detail. It allows you to make effective strategies to attain your career goals. A personal or individual SWOT analysis can also help you evaluate the feasibility of your goals, in relation to your current stage of career development. It also gives you a good idea of how you can present your strengths and weaknesses in a hiring situation. Once you have mastered self SWOT analysis, you can apply the methodology to different situations like planning a career change, managing a work project, designing a service or starting your own independent business.

Personal SWOT analysis examples

Here are some examples of personal or self SWOT analyses:

Example 1

Srishti just graduated from college and wants to create a SWOT analysis before searching for software developer positions. Here are the sections of her self SWOT analysis:


  • Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science Engineering

  • Bootstrap Bootcamp Certification

  • College internship with a local UI/UX design firm

  • Strong work ethic


  • Limited knowledge of Ruby frameworks

  • Limited work experience

  • Limited project management experience


  • Freelance software development

  • Campus placements to get into leading developer companies

  • Attend specialised training courses

  • Scope for career shifts


  • A large number of hireable candidates in the field

  • The high turnover rate for entry-level software developer positions

Example 2

Jacob has a few years of work experience in software engineering and wants to pursue a career shift to the field of marketing. This is what his SWOT analysis looks like:


  • Strong knowledge of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

  • Good content writing skills

  • Good knowledge of software development tools

  • Expertise in Python coding

  • Extensive knowledge of social media and its commercial applications

  • Good at working with teams of professionals


  • Lack of formal qualifications in the domain of marketing

  • Lack of familiarity with project-specific tools

  • Aversion to learning new software


  • Increasing demand for SEO experts

  • Improving potential for online marketing

  • An increasing number of new businesses looking for marketing personnel

  • Feasibility of working from home


  • High levels of competition due to an increasing number of software engineering graduates

  • Lack of career growth as a software developer

What are some examples of threats in a SWOT analysis for personal use?

Threats in a self SWOT analysis may include factors relating to the industry, market, job profile or competition. Here is a list of general threats that apply to several industries and job roles:

  • The job market may be highly competitive due to the limited availability of job opportunities.

  • The job market may be saturated due to a high number of employable candidates with similar qualifications.

  • The industry may be going through severe changes by virtue of technological shifts that you may not have adapted to.

  • The particular job roles you are interested in show high turnover rates.

  • The particular job roles you are interested in have low earning potential.

  • The particular job roles you are interested in show limited potential for career growth.

  • Employers may require certain certifications/qualifications.

  • One or more of your weaknesses has the potential to become a threat if not resolved immediately.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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