Self-assessment tools are trendy, handy when you want to have a quick status of something requiring an expert’s opinion to get the whole picture. Examples include medical diagnostic, mortgage simulations, tax returns, or scholar examination.
A career self-assessment follows the same logic. In other words, get a general idea about a topic that usually requires some expertise, except that the subject is your career this time. And, of course, your decisions following this assessment will have enormous consequences on your future career. In that case, the main advantage of a self-assessment, being assessed without an expert, also becomes the main drawback. Indeed, you are both judge and jury. You are the only one responsible for a lousy self-assessment, and you must suffer the possible negative consequences that could result later in your career.
Therefore, you should better take this exercise seriously, in your interest. It is even more true when you consider a career change, whether it’s to a new company, a different job, a promotion, or something else. Fortunately, a career self-assessment is not as scary as it looks. Regular self-assessments can give you a competitive advantage since very few people do this exercise often and correctly. Therefore, this article will introduce a career self-assessment tool so quickly that you can start doing it right after reading this post!
Why a self-assessment?
You are likely to spend most of your time at work, rather than with your friends or family. Therefore, it is crucial that you feel delighted with it; otherwise, your personal life may take a toll. Being satisfied at work also benefits the company, as the employee is more productive, and the turnover is lower. And the key to happiness at work? To know yourself.
Knowing oneself is a concept as old as antiquity. Know thyself was the first of three maxims inscribed in the forecourt of the temple of Apollo at Delphi. All career self-assessment tools propose different ways to know yourself better, to guide you towards the best decision. Some tools draw a general portrait of yourself, and others focus on specific aspects of your personality. Some are free, and others are not. It is up to you to choose according to your needs. But the personal SWOT analysis, which we will discuss further, is free and quite accessible to anyone.
Step 1 of your self-assessment: define your goal
The main advantage of a self-assessment, being assessed without an expert, also becomes the main drawback. Indeed, you are the only one responsible for a lousy self-assessment and the negative consequences that could result from it later in your career.
It sounds complicated when you say it like that, especially since you are probably doing this exercise because you don’t know what to do later. But it is not as scary as it seems. The first thing to do is to define one or more goals, which will be your driving force to evolve. Fortunately, you don’t need to be very accurate when you think about your future career goals. For example, there is no need to name a role since many roles evolve rapidly anyway. Instead, focus on the responsibilities you wish to have in the medium or long term (like in 3 to 5 years), and how far you currently are from this goal.
Here is an example.
I wish to help people develop their potential in their career.
I want a role with decision-making, creativity and autonomy.
Just by saying this, many roles could already fit in this description. Then, the next step would be to see how my current position doesn’t work for my goal, and most importantly, what the gap is. You can already try to answer that question, while keeping in mind that the personal SWOT analysis will provide you more details answers to this question.
Step 2: the personal SWOT analysis
The SWOT analysis is a classic technique used in the early stages of business planning and strategic management. But it can also be used on a more personal level, still at the beginning of a decision-making process, such as changing a career.
SWOT stands for:
Usually, strengths and weaknesses are considered endogenous factors, i.e., those under your control. At the same time, opportunities and threats are more exogenous factors that you do not control—for example, a technological or legislation change.
Personal SWOT deep dive
No matter your role, experience, or industry, the interviewer will always ask you in one way or another what sets you apart from your peers. Therefore, it would be best to mention everything you excel at and all the skill sets you can bring to an employer. Certificates, degrees, awards, training, and critical achievements should be given here, even if they are not work-related. Same for positive personality traits, soft skills, language skills, and reviews from your entourage if they are favorable.
Examples of some questions to answer:
- What are you good at?
- What aspects of your skills set you apart from your peers?
- What accomplishments are you most proud of?
- What soft skills, values, or ethics set you apart?
- What do you enjoy doing? What makes you happy in your work and personal life?
Example of personal strengths in a SWOT analysis
Strong in 1 to 1 communication (interviews) and small group talks
How does that fit my expectations? I need to work on presentation skills to better communicate to a larger audience
Broad industrial market knowledge (trusted adviser)
Pride: Influence decision-making by providing facts, assessing risks and impact (analytical, influencing skills, challenging status-quo)
Likes: Helping people find their best career path and development (assessment, career coaching)
Probably the least fun part to fill in. However, doing it correctly can help you a lot by listing what you need to improve first to reach your goal. Be as sincere as possible when doing this exercise. What you will write here is probably not something you would want to share with anyone, but it is for your eyes only.
Here are some examples of questions to answer:
- What skills are you lacking?
- What areas have your boss or peers told you that you need to improve?
- What do you dislike doing?
- What bad habits do you have?
Example of personal weaknesses in a SWOT analysis
I need to be more consistent and finish what I start (stop procrastinating), I hate routine admin tasks
I need a training on time management and resilience
I need help to focus on my long-term motivation (a role model or a coach can help me with that)
As I said earlier, opportunities are external factors that can benefit you. So, the opportunities won’t be the same depending on your objective. For example, you may have opportunities in your career, education, personal life, etc.
Examples of questions to answer in this part
- What are the major trends affecting your industry and your function?
- Could your skills be used in other functions? In which ones?
- How can your relationships or technological change/innovation help you be more successful?
- What additional education and training is available to you, externally or internally? How would this contribute to your purpose and skill development?
- How will you apply your skills to grow?
Example of personal opportunities in a SWOT analysis
Talent acquisition will become soon a key priority for the company, as a thousand employees will be hired next year.
Requested an intern to lead and mentor in recruitment, and dedicate time to learn about interview techniques and on-boarding.
Develop a strong relationship with HR director, who will be working next to my office.
Attend the conference on the next trends in recruitment techniques
Like the opportunities, the threats are external factors, too, harming you. Therefore, your analysis must allow you to identify them and control them.
Example of questions to answer
- What obstacles do you currently face in your career?
- Will new skills be needed to do your job in the future? How easy is it for you to acquire these skills?
- Are your skills becoming obsolete? What can you do about it?
- What additional skills do younger or newer employees have that you do not?
Example of personal threats in a SWOT analysis
Post-covid work environment relies more on remote work, including home office: need to adapt workstations, training materials, collaborative tools…
Now, your turn!
Start your SWOT analysis
Now, you know everything you need to know to do your SWOT analysis. What I suggest you is to:
- Finish reading this article
- Clear your mind by watching a film, reading a book, or going for a walk outside
- Click on this link to start your personal SWOT
- Answer as many questions as you can, in all honesty. Give yourself as much time as you need to be as complete as you can. Once you finish and submit the form, we will email you a summary of your answers so that you can get the whole picture.
Interpret the results
While the results are personal, you may want to have an external opinion or the tips of a career expert in some cases. Jinn puts you in touch with many career coaches via its Marketplace. Don’t hesitate to use it if you feel it can help you.
A thorough self-assessment helps you identify what motivates you the most to get up every morning and work hard. Of course, it may take some time to answer all the questions. Still, suppose you do this exercise seriously. In that case, you will know yourself like you did not think you could before, which will be a massive advantage over your competitors. That is why we are thrilled to propose this tool, and we hope it will be of great help to you.