Getting a new job is a process that the majority of us go through at some point in our lives and, often, more than once. According to the World Health Organisation, we spend 1/3 of our adult life at work, so it’s important to find a job that keeps you content. But how do you go about getting the job you really want?
What is SWOT Testing?
SWOT stands for:
These four elements are core to helping you understand yourself better. Ultimately, applying for a new job is about making yourself as attractive as possible to the employer and, in order to do this effectively, you need to be able to “sell” yourself in the best possible way.
By going through a SWOT test, you will establish insight into your own abilities and then these can be rolled out across the whole job-seeking process – from CV writing through to the face-to-face interview.
SWOT Test Breakdown
Strengths: This may sound obvious, but understanding your own strengths and, most importantly, communicating them is a complicated area. Strengths need to focus on all of your positives, but they also need to be as relevant and as concise as possible. Having good, tailored strengths helps you to stand out and quickly demonstrates that you are the best for fit the job.
Weaknesses: Identifying weaknesses is a useful process to go through yourself. It will also help you to find a job that you will be good at and plays to your strengths as opposed to testing your weaknesses. Weaknesses should not be seen as a long list of negative qualities about yourself, but should instead be things that you can improve on.
Opportunities: It is best to tailor these to the job you are applying for. By having an idea of what opportunities this job gives you, if you were to be a successful candidate, you are showing the employer your positive attitude. You can then move on to thinking about future opportunities that you are looking forward to, highlighting your long-term commitment to the role.
Threats: These should focus on what potentially negative things could happen should you get the job you want. It is more for you to understand the wider changes that could have a knock-on effect on your lifestyle. An example of this could be that the job you are applying for is closer to where you live, and a potential threat could be that this results in you working longer hours as it is a shorter commute.
The information that a SWOT test gives you about yourself is useful for your own personal awareness and can be harnessed as part of a job-application process too. This makes a SWOT test extremely beneficial. However, sometimes completing a SWOT test can be a challenge in itself.
Struggling with a SWOT Test?
Thinking about yourself introspectively is harder for some people than others. But there are a lot of ways that you can go about completing a SWOT test to help you understand your skills and strengths.
- Creative Thinking
Sometimes making a big list of your strengths and weaknesses can be dull, so try creating a mind map that sparks off into different areas. Mind mapping helps you break outside of the box and allows you to see everything as a whole, rather than different siloed areas.
- Ask a Friend or Colleague
If you are really struggling to identify different aspects about yourself, such as what your strengths and weaknesses are, then ask someone else who knows you. Getting an outsider’s opinion will give you ideas that you may not have thought about previously. Plus, it gives you the chance to find out how other people perceive you.
- Speak to a Recruiter
Depending on how far down the job-seeking process you are, you may be working with a recruiter. Ask them to help bounce some ideas with you and this may just give you the clarity you need. Asking a recruiter has added benefits, especially if they are a specialist recruiter, because they understand the ins and outs of the job sector you are targeting and how your skills and strengths can translate.
Here at Montash, we have a team of recruiters working within specialist areas that are able to help throughout the recruitment process. If you would like to speak with someone further then please get in touch.
How to use your SWOT Test Knowledge
Once you have all the information you need from carrying out your SWOT test, you can start to apply this directly to the job-seeking process. After all, the point of doing this exercise it to help you improve your chances of a successful job application.
The CV Stage
Your CV is often the first thing that employers will see of “you”. Making a good impression at this point is important as it means you are more likely to proceed further down the line.
Make sure that you are taking the time to tailor your CV to every job that you apply for. Although it may be tempting to create a blanket CV that you feel covers all bases, this is not what an employer is looking for. You want to show the employer that you are genuine in your application to them, so tweak your CV each time.
As you go through this process, make sure you are considering what your strengths and skills are from your SWOT test. Then, weave the most relevant ones into your CV. For example, try to avoid general strengths such as “I am always punctual” because this should be a given. Instead, focus on strengths such as “I am a keen problem-solver and work best in a team, approaching issues from a variety of angles”. By doing this, you are not only tailoring your CV so it directly answers the job advert, but you are also threading in your strengths from your SWOT test.
The Interview Stage
Going through a SWOT test helps you to prepare for an interview. When attending an interview, no matter what industry you are working in, it is crucial to understand core aspects of yourself. Knowing how best to answer questions about yourself, and your skills and strengths, can make the difference when it comes to getting a new job.
Many people find answering questions about their strengths difficult. Often it can be hard to not come across as too confident, but equally it is important not to be too modest. An interview is your moment to shine, so make sure you make the most of this opportunity, but this should be achieved in the right way. Once you have identified your strengths through the SWOT test, take some time to think of examples of where you have demonstrated this. They way you can back up your strength, rather than making a general statement about your positive quality.
Another great tip for an interview is to practice it. There is a lot to remember in an interview situation so, once you have chosen the elements from your SWOT test that are most relevant to the job and you have your examples of this, just keep practicing! The more you run through it, the easier it will be when it comes to the interview.
SWOT testing yourself is important when it comes to the foundations of a good job application process. It has benefits that carry you through all of the stages, and can be re-used for as many applications as you need.