Module 01: Understanding Yourself In the World of Work

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 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 about you, so you can’t make any mistakes- as long as you’re being honest with yourself!
  • Take a large sheet of blank paper, pencils and/or pens (using different colors may help you be more creative with this activity).
  • Consider your favorite activities, educational courses, significant people, meaningful events, jobs, hobbies and so forth. Write down these favored items as they come to you. It may look chaotic -that’s okay. Just let the ideas flow and write down a few key words to represent your thoughts.
  • 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 your preferences. Think about what you liked, specifically in terms of the items you wrote 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 the competitive atmosphere. List as many specific aspects of each item that you enjoyed most.
  • The next step is to start noticing themes. Do any of your past experiences 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 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 colors that helped her identify main themes (all her favorite experiences were written in purple), she could clearly see 3 areas of interest: Administration, Animals/Vet related careers and an Outdoor/environment 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 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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