Your Guide To Creating A Career Mind Map

by Jayne Saul-Paterson

A Mind Map is a creative tool to help you start to formulate a career goal, whether for the short or long-term, and to think about the actions you might need to take in order to accomplish your career plan.

Mind mapping is a way of representing information in a visual form with a diagram which has an idea placed in the centre. This idea is then linked via a series of lines to other associated concepts.

A key feature of Mind Maps is the use of colour, images and curved lines to link ideas. This helps the brain to remember more effectively, but also enhances our ability to problem solve and create new ideas.

Mind Maps were popularised by Tony Buzan, a best-selling author and educational consultant, as a way to visually structure ideas and to help with recall and analysis. Mind Maps have lots of different uses, both in and outside of work, for example you could create a Mind Map to plan an essay or a report, or even organise a holiday or your weekend activities.

How to create your Mind Map:

Step One

  • Begin with a blank piece of paper (landscape) and write a word(s) or draw an image in the centre of the page for the main idea.
  • Be brief with the topic, ideally just use a single word (or an image).
  • Connect related subtopics to the central topic/image with a curved line, branching out in different directions.
  • Continue generating secondary and subsequent subtopics to the corresponding branches using curved lines. This creates an array of associations.
  • Evaluate the results. Discuss your Mind Map with your Career Coach.
  • As much as possible use colour, images and symbols as this helps with creativity.
  • Experiment with text size, length and thickness of lines, which also helps to engage the brain and reinforces key points.

When we are exploring career ideas, it’s easy to get stuck in our heads or find ourselves talking round in circles. Mind mapping is a practical and creative tool to help you explore ideas about career options and start to visualise and organise the elements you want in your future career.

Use your Mind Map to explore some of the following career-related topics:

  • Ideal career.
  • Current job – elements you enjoy/dislike.
  • Strengths and skills you would like to use or want to develop.
  • Qualities that you bring to your work.
  • Values that are important to you.
  • Interests and hobbies.
  • Physical environment.
  • Lifestyle that work affords you.
  • People you want to work with, such as clients or team members.
  • Sectors.
  • Companies that you might want to work for.
  • Training or qualifications you have or might want to acquire.
  • Boundaries and limits – things you don’t want in your work. 

This is not an exhaustive list. You might think of other topics to add to your Mind Map.

Once you have completed your Mind Map, look at the information that you have recorded on several different occasions. Hopefully, it will have created a clearer picture of your thoughts about the future. You may also find that it brings up fresh ideas for where you want your career to go or helps you make decisions on whether to stay/leave a current job or change direction.

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