Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT Analysis is an excellent tool to help evaluate your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats associated with a specific opportunity of interest, such as a job or internship. Completing a SWOT Analysis will help you write a targeted cover letter and prepare for an interview with an employer. Review the defined areas of a SWOT Analysis to get started.

SWOT Categories

Strengths: The responsibilities and skills you feel the most confident about using. These are internal attributes that will help you perform the tasks defined in the opportunity’s description.
What skills do you possess? • What do you perform well? • What do others say are your strengths?

Weaknesses: The responsibilities that you have no prior experience with or that concern you. These are internal attributes that may inhibit your ability to perform the required tasks.
What skills do you lack? • What areas do you need to improve? • What do others see as your weaknesses?

Opportunities: The responsibilities or company training programs and learning opportunities that can help you develop new skills or gain new experiences. These are external conditions that can assist with your professional development. For example, consider your motivation and reason for interest in the position.  
What opportunities are open to you? • What skills can you gain to become more competitive?

Threats: These are external conditions that could prevent you from acquiring the opportunity. For example, the position prefers a certain major or a candidate with fluency in a specific language.
What is your competition doing? • What disadvantages are you facing? • How are the qualifications in your field changing?

Creating a SWOT Analysis

Start your SWOT analysis by creating 4 boxes on a blank document: one for your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in relation to the opportunity of interest. Take the job posting you’re interested in and review the position’s description and essential responsibilities. Consider your ability to perform each task and to meet the employer’s requirements.

Sample SWOT Analysis

Below is an example of a student’s SWOT Analysis for a consulting internship. View the full sample here.

STRENGTHS

Internal Factors
* UT Austin: 3.7 GPA, business foundations and project coursework
* Consulting internship experience; familiar with consulting firms
* Creative, Open Minded, Analytical, Curious & Adaptable
* Strong Learnability, Technology & Organizational Skills
* Leadership – HBSA and other student groups
* Critical thinking – using evidence-based analysis to solve problems
* Interdisciplinary research and strategic analysis; Broad knowledge
* Gather and analyze data, synthesize concise reports
* Communication skills – strong written and verbal
* Interpersonal skills – interviewing subjects to understand the story
* Work well independently
* English & Spanish language fluency & Cross-cultural competence
* Emotional intelligence, ability to understand behavioral context

WEAKNESSES

* Public speaking/providing presentations
* Prefer to work independently
* Promoting my major in a business field
* Case interview skills – making assumptions and estimates to complete case, rusty math skills, need more case practice
* No network/contact at the company
* No direct experience in management consulting
* Missed on-campus information session
* Incomplete LinkedIn account profile
* Potential unprofessional social media posts & pictures

OPPORTUNITIES

External Conditions:
* Experience a variety of consulting work
* Access to employer training programs
* Acquire new experiences/skill sets
* Network and learn about variety of industries and business models
* Improve presentation & problem solving skills
* Live in New York / Good salary
* Pipeline to full-time hiring   

THREATS

* Employer preference for certain major
* Employer desires specific coursework
* Application timeline – recruiting in fall, before my materials are ready
* Competitive internship program
* No friends/network in New York
* Lose out on traveling to Europe with roommates
* Intense work schedule

Next Steps

Now that you have completed your SWOT Analysis, begin your cover letter draft or prepare for your next interview by referencing specific examples when you utilized your strengths.  Also consider how the position will assist you with opportunities for professional growth and/or weakness development. Be mindful of the threats you have identified and have a strategy for addressing these areas of challenge.   

Liberal Arts Career Services is here to help you through this process. Visit our interview page for more information, visit our resume and cover letter page for help with your materials, and schedule an appointment to visit a Career Coach for personalized help.


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  • Liberal Arts Career Services

    University of Texas at Austin
    FAC 18
    2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200
    Austin, Texas 78712-1508
    512-471-7900