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How to use MindMapping to focus your job search

Drawing a MindMap can help you organize your thoughts and encourage you to focus your job search around what you really want.

Here's how it works:

MindMap, MindMapping, maping your job search,
Symbols, imagery and colors in your MindMap can help you focus your thoughts.
(Image courtesy of Jon Simmons)
What is a MindMap?
Invented by author and memory expert, Tony Buzan, a MindMap is a tool for enhancing your learning and memory, particularly about a subject that’s important to you, such as your job search. At its essence, a MindMap is a diagram that you create that has a natural arrangement of branches that radiate from a central topic or idea. The radiating branches focus on associated ideas, words and concepts that relate and build upon your central topic or idea.
By adding symbols, imagery, and different colors on branches that radiate out from the center, your brain can better structure and recall key points that you want to remember. “Remembering and recalling information later [with a MindMap] is far easier and more reliable than when using traditional note-taking techniques,” according to Buzan. He explains, "Your brain does not think in a linear, monotonous way, rather it thinks in multiple directions simultaneously — starting from central trigger points in images or key words.”
Seven steps to creating a career-focused MindMap
By Tony Buzan

  1. Start in the CENTER of a blank page turned sideways. This allows your brain freedom to spread out in all directions and to express itself more freely and naturally.
  2. Use an IMAGE or PICTURE for your central idea. An image is worth a thousand words and helps you use your imagination. You may want to use the word “career” as the focus of your MindMap.
  3. Use COLORS throughout. Colors are as exciting to your brain as images.      
  4. CONNECT your MAIN BRANCHES to the central image and connect your second- and third-level branches to the first and second level. Why? Because your brain works by association. It likes to link two (or three, or four) things together.
  5. Make your branches CURVED rather than straight-lined - having nothing but straight lines is boring to your brain.
  6. Use ONE KEY WORD PER LINE. Single key words give your MindMaps more flexibility.
  7. Use IMAGES throughout.

MindMaps have powerful advocates
The MindMapping technique is so effective, many professional organizations, including Disney, Microsoft and NASA, use them to brainstorm business solutions. I use them as well to help clients focus their career goals.
Geniuses like Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein used similar image/note making techniques, which, Buzan believes was an essential factor in their success. "The traditional 'norms' within education are that list-making and monochromatic note-taking are good, whereas drawing pictures, doodling and daydreaming are innately wrong," says Buzan, who has carried out considerable research in his field of memory and learning and has proven the contrary to be true. "Traditional note-taking limits thought, whereas daydreaming and drawing will increase radiant thinking”
Michael Michalko highlights the benefits of MindMaps in his book Cracking Creativity:
  • They activate your whole brain, clearing your mind of mental clutter
  • They demonstrate connections between isolated pieces of information
  • Allows you to group and regroup concepts, encouraging comparisons between them
  • They require you to concentrate on your subject, which helps get the information about it transferred from your short term memory to your long term memory
Dan Woods, a technology officer and editor, says, “I suspect that the reason MindMaps works so well is that they engage your visual intelligence and provide a way to navigate a much larger space of ideas in a smaller visual field.” […] “Going from a linear view to two-dimensional space allows me to move around quickly and put an idea in the right place. […] I capture more ideas and restructure them faster, meaning my MindMaps better reflects my understanding.” Fortunately, only basic drawing skills are needed to create a useful MindMap. 
In conclusion, MindMaps can help you better prepare for job interviews and weigh major decisions and focus your job search, so create a MindMap! 

Guest post by Jon Simmons. Jon is a London based marketer and career coach who is on a mission to support professionals and semi pros advance in their career. He is co-founder of CVLondon, and director of HowToGetThatJob.net. Coaching hundreds of career changers and job hunters one on one, he has helped many more by sharing strategies through his two books; How To GetThat Job – Strategies for Career Success in Tough Economic Times and HowTo Build an Amazing Linked in Profile – Easy Step by Step.

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  1. Thanks! Interesting and should work well for someone about to interview.

  2. Great info! I have also recently found a website that teaches Mind Mapping Techniques and it is very easy to use! I would recommend it to all!


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