When you are searching for a new job it helps to know people. It is even better to know yourself.
Not long after I put in my notice, I began to think about what I wanted to do. Stay my in current field? Change careers? Move to a new city? There were lots of questions that needed answers.
Before I could decide what I wanted to do, I needed to figure out what I was capable of doing. I needed to know what I was working with so I decided to do a personal SWOT analysis.
SWOT analysis is a great tool for personal and professional strategic planning. People way smarter than I am have written about them but in a nutshell it lets figure out your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats so you can develop a better awareness of your situation.
After some soul searching, here is what I came up with.
- 16 years total web experience
- Higher Ed
- Quick learner
- Diverse skillset (jack-of-many trades)
- Able to see the big picture (strategic planning)
- Not “tied” to my current city
- Few examples of recent work
- No real management experience
- Not good at artwork
- Little recent experience managing or being part of major projects
- No technical certifications (MCSE, A+, etc.)
- No single specific skillset (row of sevens)
- Not good at “selling” myself
- Cyber command launching (new jobs)
- Overall growth in tech fields
- Increased competition
- Cuts to higher ed budgets
Since I am not vain enough to write about how great I am, I’m going to focus on a few of the weaknesses.
No single specific skillset:
I could be described as a “row of sevens.” I am good at many things but nothing will really wow you. Some would call me a hybrid but to me that has always been more for designers with development skills or developers with design skills. I think I fall more into the jack-of-many trades/generalist category (I think “full-stack” is the latest fancy term to describe us). In the past that was a good thing but lately there has been a shift toward specialists.
Solution: Use my newfound free time to improve in one or two key areas. I’m thinking web development and web management. I am looking for inexpensive online courses and/or certificate nows.
No management experience:
I have been a “foot soldier” for most of my career. I coordinated a few interns at a newspaper but beyond that nothing on my resume is going to say “leader.”
Solution: See above.
Not good at selling myself:
This one weakness negates virtually all of my strengths. And it is not just self-promotion, if I had to work in sales for a living I wouldn’t last a month. Talking myself up has never been my thing so maybe I need to hire ECW/WWE great Paul Heyman to be my advocate/hypeman.
Solution: To be determined.
I should also point out that I did solicit some outside opinions for my analysis. Yeah the truth hurt sometimes but for something like this you need an honest, outside opinion of yourself.
Obviously this is only part of the issue. Once you have you list of weaknesses and identified the ones you want to tackle, you’ll still need to put a plan in place. And most importantly, execute it.
As for my personal weaknesses,I’ve started working on them. But that is a different story for a different day.