Module 01: Understanding Yourself In the World of Work

1.6 Career Mind Mapping

Jane as a student standing in front of a full-length mirror looking at her reflection, except her reflection is of Jane dressed in a suit.

A mind map is a visual representation or drawing that connects information related to a central topic. In this case, we are focusing on areas of career interest. Creating a mind map allows you to compile all your activities, interests, and ideas on a given topic in one place, allowing you to generate more ideas and notice themes in a visual way.

The word ‘Mindmap’ with one central thought bubble with five smaller thought bubbles surrounding the central one, all with arrows leading from the central thought bubble to the surrounding ones.

Adapted from Brooks, Katherine 2009.
You Majored in What? Mapping your path from Chaos to Careers. Plume.

Create your own Career Mind Map by following the instructions below:

  • Clear your mind of any preconceived ideas or judgment. Remember that this activity is open-ended, so you can’t make any mistakes- as long as you’re being honest with yourself!
  • Take a large sheet of blank paper and pencils or pens (using different colours may help you be more creative with this activity).
  • Think back over your life up to the present for favourite activities and courses, significant people, meaningful events, jobs, hobbies, etc. Write these items down on the paper in a random manner as they come to you. It may look chaotic but just let the ideas flow and write down a few key words.
  • Don’t try to organize your map at this point, just write down everything that comes to mind.
  • When you’ve run out of things to write, start thinking about things you’d like to try! Write these ideas down, too.
  • Now, look over your mind map and consider what it is more specifically that you liked (or think you might like) about the items you’ve written down. For example, if you liked your experience playing on a soccer team you might make a note that you enjoyed the teamwork aspect of the experience or skill building or, the competitive atmosphere. List as many things as you can about what you liked about each of these experiences.
  • The next step is to start noticing themes. Do any of the things you have written connect to any others? Can you identify a few themes or threads in your map? If yes, connect different entries on your map and write down basic themes below or on a separate piece of paper.

Career Mind Map Questions

  Look at the themes from your Career Mind Map and respond to the following questions:

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Jane’s Career Mind Map

Let’s look at Jane’s map. After drawing her map, where she used different colours that helped her identify main themes (all her favourite stuff was purple), she could clearly see 3 areas or themes: Administration, Animals/Vet related careers and an Outdoor/environmental theme.

Jane’s early experiences such as helping her dad in the family business, assisting a school receptionist (who was also a mentor), a customer service position in retail and volunteering at the library led her to choose a career in office administration. She had been considering an alternative career as a Vet Technician, but reflecting on her negative volunteer experience in this field helped her determine that this was not a viable option. Drawing this map helped Jane to see another theme that hadn’t emerged in other assessments: outdoor/environmental. Upon further reflection Jane realized that she would prefer to keep it as a hobby or maybe consider looking for an administrative position in a related industry.


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