The hardest part of doing anything is just getting started.
If you are considering a job search this year, you probably all too aware that the hardest part of doing anything is just getting started. This can be especially true for projects that involve putting yourself out there in the public sphere and being judged.
As an academic job seeker, your job search may follow the academic cycle, with a majority of positions being posted by March, followed by interview periods from April to August, and start dates in August or September. So it’s important to a avoid stumbling out of the gate.
Mark Dykeman, my guest this morning at 11:00 a.m. on the Higher Ed Career Coach Show on BlogTalkRadio, has a good method for getting your plan together: mind-mapping. Mark is the creator of the blogs Thoughtwrestling and the Broadcasting Brain. I met him through Third Tribe (affiliate link), a membership site put together by Brian Clark, Darren Rowse, Chris Brogan and Sonia Simone and dedicated to helping small business owners authentically market their products and businesses.
Mark is a well-known and well-connected social media entrepreneur, and a really nice guy. He’s known for helping people get unstuck, focused and organized, and he’s a strong proponent of the idea of mind-mapping to clear out your mental clutter, unlock your creativity, and move forward with new ideas and plans.
I recently bought his new product, Unstuck, Focused and Organized, because I’ve been looking for ways to get more organized and stay on task. I’ve been getting much busier lately, and needed some fresh perspectives on how to organize my ideas and thoughts. I liked it so much that I joined his affiliate program, and invited him to talk about how job seekers can use mind-mapping to move forward in their search.
In today’s BlogTalkRadio show, Mark and I will talk about using Mind-Mapping to et unstuck in your job search and plan your way forward. I was able to ask Mark a few initial questions ahead of time about his program and ways that job seekers could use his approach.
Unstuck, Focused and Organized: Mind-Mapping for Higher Ed Job Seekers
(Questions are in bold, Mark’s answers are inset and italicized.)
How could someone use mind-mapping to plan their career?
Mind mapping could be used in a number of different ways. For example, if there are different stages of your intended career and different milestones, you could use the mind map to examine each stage. Here’s a simple example: have major categories or branches of the mind map to correspond to different levels of corporate hierarchy:
- consultant/team member
- team leader
- vice-presidentYou could explore each role in detail, including key education requirements, work experience, networking, mentors, and so on. This would be a useful first step in coming up with a plan. You could also do something similar with the type of companies that you would want to work at as well, focusing on both functional experience and industry segment experience.
If you were planning a job search during the next year, how could mind-mapping help you focus your efforts?
There’s several different ways that you could plan your job search. You could conduct a SWOT analysis using a separate branch for each aspect. You could use a mind map to compare your skills and experience to different types of jobs about there: the mind map could help you find key skills to emphasize in your job search as well as important gaps or shortfalls to consider.
You could also use the mind map to explore all possible ways to network and search for the job, which is much better than firing resumes into the ether and hoping for the best.
What’s the best way to start?
The best way to start mind mapping, if you’ve never done it before, is to use a pencil and a huge piece of paper. Write your central or core idea that you want to explore in the center of the paper. Then start writing down every thought or idea that you can think of around the center of the paper. When you’ve gotten everything out that you can think of, take a few minutes and look at it. Look for connections between things. See if you can group similar things together into major categories. Draw lines between things that could be connected. Doodle and draw on it, if you feel like it, in ways that would be meaningful. Look for holes – things that are missing.
The reason for using a pencil? Because you’ll probably want to redraw the mind map after this first try!
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