Career-Driven HR

Career-Driven HR

SWOT analysis was originally developed to help in strategic planning. This matrix is used to evaluate a business’ strength, weakness, opportunities, and strength. There has been a marked increase in the number of personal SWOT analyses done. Personal SWOT analysis is done on an individual to determine the strength, weakness, opportunities, and threatens associated with his or her job. The significance of Personal SWOT has been brought about by the shift of HR practices to customer-driven human resource. The essay that follows will critically look at the role of personal SWOT as a tool for career strategic decision making.

SWOT analysis is an important tool for career development. This assertion is true because career development can benefit from a SWOT analysis. Applying to an individual, career development would mean that this individual is advancing from one pay grade to another. Advancements or developments in the work place come because of promotion or employees taking up better paying jobs (Gomez, Balkin, & Cardy, 2013). The importance of a personal SWOT can best be seen by splitting SWOT into its four components and discussing each one of them.

The first component of a SWOT is strength. To an employee, his strength might be taken to mean the things he is good at, i.e. the positive traits he contributes to the employer. Employees also possess skills and experience which enables them to give their very best to their employers. The strength of an employee also determines the value of an employee. A company CEO’s managerial skills counts for his strength and makes him more valuable to the firm compared to a janitor. The second component is weakness. Weaknesses relates to internal negative aspects, which an employee can work on improving. This may include lack of work experience, weak leadership, and interpersonal skills, lack of technical knowhow etc. An apprehension of one’s weaknesses is crucial, as it will help the person to identify areas that need improvement (“Using a SWOT Analysis as a Key Career-Planning Tool, n.d”).

The third and fourth components of SWOT, i.e. opportunities and threats relate to the external environment of which an employee has no control over. Opportunities are positive conditions in the external environment, which is beyond an employee’s control. However, an employee can plan strategically to take advantage of these positive conditions. The opportunities may include, positive trends, which will lead to the creation of new jobs, better rewarding jobs that an employee could have by enhancing his or her education. Threats are external conditions, which are beyond the control of an employee. However, the employee can take measures to lessen the effects of these threats on his job. Examples of threats may include negative trends such as obsolescence and downsizing, competition from employees with superior experience, skills, etc (Rothwell, & Kazanas, 2003).

The number one source for information on opportunities and threats, which an employee faces, is the labour market. In this context, an employee is a kin to a firm while the labour market is a kin to an industry. The employee is part of the labour market, which requires that its players or participants be equipped with a certain level of education, skill, and experience. The labour market refreshes its information periodically and the requirements for a particular job changes over time (Rothwell, & Kazanas, 2003). Some of the information from the external environment might present an employee with a chance to improve his skills and education. This will enable the employee to either take advantage of an opportunity in the external environment or evade some threat in the labour market. Other sources of information on opportunities and threats include the internet, employee networks, and workers’ unions.

The results from SWOT analysis are important in strategic decision-making. An action plan comes in after the completion of the SWOT analysis to help an individual implement strategies that will see him maximize his strengths and build up on the weaknesses. An argument abounds that concentrating on strengths only will leave gaps in an employee’s skill set. It is therefore important that the employee work on maximizing his strengths while at the same time dealing with the weaknesses. Employees that work on their strengths at the expense of improving on their weaknesses risk having gaps and imbalances in their lives (“Using a SWOT Analysis as a Key Career-Planning Tool, n.d”). These gaps and imbalances have the potential of affecting the strengths possessed by an employee. However, care must be taken to avoid placing too much effort on addressing an employee’s weaknesses. The employee should balance his efforts on maximizing his strengths as he works on addressing his weak points.

In conclusion, understanding ones strengths and weaknesses and getting to know the opportunities and threats presented by the external environment is crucial to ensuring that an employee remains relevant in the labour market. An employee that works on maximizing his strengths and minimizing his weaknesses stands a chance of ensuring that his internal environment is at check. Such an employee will need not to worry about weaknesses that might render his skills and education obsolete. Additionally, an appreciation of the opportunities and threats in the labour market will enable the employee attain requisite skills that will enable him compete favourably in the labour market.



Gomez-Mejia, LR., Balkin, DB., & Cardy, RL. (2013). Managing Human Resources (7ed). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.

Rothwell, W. J., & Kazanas, H. C. (2003). Planning and managing human resources strategic planning for human resources management (2nd ed.). Amherst, Mass.: HRD Press.

Using a SWOT Analysis as a Key Career-Planning Tool. (n.d.). Using a SWOT Analysis as a Key Career-Planning Tool. Retrieved November 21, 2013, from


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