Mind the Gap: Gap Analysis in Strategic Career Planning

Last month I wrote a blog about the SWOT analysis and how to use it for strategic career planning. The SWOT analysis can help you get a clear view of where you are now and where you want to go. The next step is to figure out what steps you need to take to get there. A Gap Analysis can help you with that.

A Gap Analysis helps you to identify what knowledge and skills you need to acquire or improve in order to fill the gap between you and your dream job. The analysis contains the following steps:

1. Determine key skills needed for the future.

  • An easy way to do this is to study several job descriptions for the role you are aiming at. Recent job postings can often provide detailed information about what kinds of experience and skills you will need to acquire your dream job.
  • Number each skill and knowledge area that the advertisement lists, and do this for several job postings.
  • Make a compiled list of these skills and knowledge areas, order them from most to least frequently requested.

2. Measure your current skills

  • Take the list of determined skills needed for the future and compare them to your current skill set. Rate your qualifications for each item from 1-10, with 10 being a perfect match.

3. Find out where the gaps are

  • The frequently occurring skills or knowledge areas you don’t have, are your gaps — what you need to get from your very next job to make you competitive for your dream job.

4. Find out how you want to close the gaps

  • Begin with your current situation. Is there a possibility to steer your current responsibilities? Could you take on more relevant tasks and loose some that are irrelevant or already covered just fine?
  • Is there a gap that can be solved by education?
  • Think about how you can change your behaviour (For example, you want to be more comfortable making presentations in front of groups) and search for suitable workshops, coaching, etc.
  • What should your next career step look like? Is there a career step needed between your current and ideal position? If the answer is yes, what type of job will give you more of the skills needed to close the gap?

When you have done both the SWOT analysis and Gap Analysis, you should have a clear view of where you are, where you want to go and what steps you need to take to get there. The last thing you will now need to do, is laying out your strategic career plan! I will take you through the steps in my next blog upcoming month.

If you are contemplating your next career step and would like to talk about this, don’t hesitate to contact me or my colleague Pieter for a career calibration meeting:

Kim Vercoulen, Pieter de Kiewit

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