Tip From Former Google Career Coach: Use Mind Mapping to Help Set Career Goals

For many millennials [including myself], the unknown can be scary. It’s probably even a specific unknown, like:

  • “What career path is right for me?”
  • “What do I want out of a job?”
  • “What job lines up with my interests?”

Former Google career coach Jenny Blake is an advocate of a technique called mind mapping as a creative way to start brainstorming. In a CNBC article, Blake says, “The goal is to break out of linear thinking,” Blake says. “Go broad. Go big. Go sideways, and then experiment to see which of your ideas is most likely to lead to a resonant next step.” What does all that mean?

What is mind-mapping?

It’s a visual way of taking something abstract and complex and breaking it down into smaller, more consumable pieces. It’s a great for capturing your thoughts and laying them out in a visual way.

This technique can be used for endless planning purposes, here are some examples:

  • Setting career goals
  • Figuring out your personal goals for the year

Here’s How I Mind Map:

  1. Start with a blank sheet of paper
  2. In the center of the page, write down the central theme, subject or question you’re looking to answer.  Example: “Career Plan” I draw a circle around this, but it’s optional.
  3. Draw lines extending outward and add short themes or topics that relate to your central topic. For example, this could “Things I’m Good At” “Areas Of Improvement” I draw circles around each of these, but it’s optional.
  4. Draw lines from each of the topics and add relevant sub-topics. Example: if I was adding a subtopic to “Things I’m Good At” I might add “Presentations” or “Public speaking”

Here’s a video of mind-mapping in action [using the example of setting goals for the new year] from CNBC:

It’s an easy exercise you can do in less than ten minutes, and it’s really great at helping you grapple with abstract concepts.

Here is an awesome example of a career mind-map from Prolific Living:


What methods do you use for brainstorming? Comment below, I’d love to hear what methods other people use.




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    1. Wutt, you had a high school career class? I agree, I think it’s kind of hard to figure out what you want to do in high school- this exercise is waay more productive when you’ve had some life experience to add to the equation

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