If your job is finding your dream job, then the way you structure the information and how you plan your interview are key to your success. When the pressure is so high, you surely don’t want to miss a single detail in the preparation process, do you? We have recently come across several mind-mapping programs and found them to be a great tool that can put job search in your hands and give you control of the situation. How do they work?
A mind map is really useful in order to sort out thoughts, define goals and come up with fresh new ideas, as making decisions can be tricky sometimes. Notes or pros and cons lists might also be helpful, but having a mind map will help you visualize your goal. Lists and words are only a small part of the brain’s thinking tool kit and if you use only this small fraction of your brain, you might come up with an incomplete solution.
A mind map looks like a word web, a root system or branches of a tree. The center of the map it should be represented by a picture or a symbol of your goal. From there, all you have to do is find characteristics or, depending on your goal, you can just try to answer the 6W (who, what, where, when, why and how) and place them around it. Every characteristic will be subdivided in minor characteristic, features or attributes.
Tony Buzan is the guy who invented it and it was supposed to be a learning and memory tool while he was a student, trying to take effective notes. “Central to the success of the technique is the use of colors, pictures and a non-linear structure to encourage brainstorming” — Buzan says, mimicking our brains. As a careers tool, the maps can help prepare for a job interview, reach decisions about which career to enter, how to improve promotion prospects, or whether to leave a job or change direction.
You can also use a mind map to prepare for a job interview. This works great for visual learners as they prefer to take in information through sight and like to learn through reading, diagrams, charts, graphs, maps, and pictures. The concepts for which you can create mind maps could include:
- A self introduction – we all had at least one interview starting with the well-knows “Tell me about yourself” question. You can create a mind map for this where you would include a few, very concise, points about yourself. Be sure this is sharply targeted to the job you are interviewing for.
- Impress them! Of course you will want to speak about your experience and accomplishments, but you have to find a way so that you will not bore your audience or seem over-qualified for the position. Go through your CV and pick the most important experience that is relevant for the prospective position. You can then develop a story and summarize that experience while using the SAR format (Situation-Action-Result).
- “Hard” skills – In some job interviews you have to point out that you have a proper technical knowledge or skills, such as accounting skills, information-technology skills, or sales-forecasting skills. Again, you can develop a SAR story for each skill, as they should understand that you have the skills and you were not afraid to “use” them.
- “Soft” skills – all those unquantifiable skills that are in demand for performing many types of jobs – communication, teamwork, leadership, interpersonal, problem-solving, critical thinking, customer service, for example. Depending on the position you are applying for, adapt the SAR story in order to point out the way you manage your skills in the advantage of the employer.
- Knowing your employer – You don’t want a job. You want THAT job. You have to keep in mind that they do not hire the position, they hire the person and if they read your resume before the interview, you should also have some knowledge about the employer to prove why you are the best to fit in.
- Q&A – Most interviews end with a discussion where you are able to ask questions, which you should always prepare. This part of your mind map could include various aspects of the job, of the tasks that you would have or development opportunities.
But let us know why you use mind maps .. Here’s a list of mind-mapping programs we found out about:
What other tools are you using?How do they help you? Share them with us.