How to Create a Career Brand Mind Map

Author: Brett Pucino, Career Advice

Remember back in school when you first learned about brainstorming? You were most likely taught this concept with a visual component like a Venn Diagram or something similar. A mind map is a more sophisticated version of those diagrams.

What is a Mind Map?
The mind map gets its name from how a completed mind map resembles a neuron. It is a visual representation of holistically thinking about a given topic.

I want to stress that this is not some revolutionary new tool that is part of a fad. Its origins can be traced back to the days of Aristotle, but its modern incarnation was popularized by British Psychologist Tony Buzan. I’m not championing this as the best brainstorming methodology, but I fell in love with mind mapping the first time I tried it.

I’m going to show you screenshots of my most recent mind map for my mission statement of my personal website that you can use to guide you through creating your own career brand mind map.

How to Create a Career Brand Mind Map
You know what’s cool about a career brand mind map? Since it’s about you, your center node is your name. Boom. Your mind map is started. Now, let’s get into the meat of the process.

Step 1: Determine Your Core Values
What are your core values? What ideals drive your personal and professional decisions? What called you to the career you’ve chosen? What are your career dreams – and more importantly, what are the motives of these aspirations?

These questions aren’t meant to have easy answers. They’re meant to get you off autopilot and truly contemplate the values that drive your behavior and decision-making. If it helps, you can use a quote, saying, or phrase that represents a value you can’t quite nail with one word. You’ll be elaborating on these values in step two anyways.

Here are my five core values:

  • Passionate curiosity
  • Boxless thinking
  • Always in Beta
  • The Phoenix must burn to emerge
  • Your Network is Your Net Worth

Mind Map Stage 1.JPG

Step 2: Elaborate with 3 – 5 “whys” for each value
There are two meanings of every word: denotative and connotative. The denotative meaning is the literal textbook definition. The connotative meaning is subjective and loaded with emotion. Why do I bring this up? Because those values you listed are just textbook definitions until you assign whys. What does that value mean to you? Here are my whys to give you some inspiration.

Passionate Curiosity

Passionate Curiosity.JPG

Boxless Thinking

Boxless thinking.JPG


Always in Beta

Always in Beta.JPG


The Phoenix must burn to emerge

the phoenix must burn to emerge.JPG


Network = Net Worth

Network = Net Worth.JPG


The mind mapping tool I use is Mind Vector. I don’t get paid to endorse it, I just think it’s awesome. I highly suggest using Mind Vector for its ease of use, but there are other effective mind mapping tools out there as well. If you need some guidance creating your mind map, reach out to me on Twitter @BPucino.

The New Grad’s Guide to LinkedIn, Part 2: Using the Secondary Sections to Showcase Your Career Brand

Author: Brett Pucino, Career Advice

Take a second to think about this scenario. Someone asks you, “What makes up a LinkedIn profile?” What are the first things that come to mind?

You probably thought about the top box, summary, experience, education and skills sections. I covered how to build these sections of your LinkedIn profile in Part 1, which you can check out here if you haven’t already.

We’re now going to cover how to use those secondary LinkedIn sections that most tend to forget. Not all of these may apply to you. Your goal is to pick which ones work best for YOU, and then use this advice accordingly to make those sections stand out.

Volunteer Experience
Of all the secondary sections, this one is applicable to the greatest amount of people. There’s a good chance you had to volunteer at least once during your high school or college career.

If you were involved in Greek life or an honors society during college, then there’s a good chance you did lots of volunteer work. Treat each volunteer role you’ve held the same as you would a job in your experience section. You may not have been paid, but you did accomplish some things and acquire some skills.

In Part 1, I had you use a mind map to figure out your duties, accomplishments and skills acquired for each job you’ve held. Now I want you to do the same thing for each volunteer role.

LinkedIn Publisher
As a writer, LinkedIn Publisher is highly valuable, so I am a little biased when I say this section is huge when it comes to differentiating yourself from your competition in the job market.

One reason is that it shows off your written communication skills. This LiveCareer article states that the average corporate employee spends two hours per day performing tasks which involve writing. Think about how important email communication has become for businesses. If you can showcase well-written blog posts on Publisher, then hiring managers will assume you can put together a professional email.

Using LinkedIn Publisher is also a great way to showcase thought leadership. Typically, industry experts come to mind when one thinks of thought leadership. I believe that an industry expert is one type of thought leader. Another type of thought leader is the aspiring industry expert. Someone like you: a recent graduate with an insatiable curiosity towards his or her industry.

The courses section is a relatively new addition by LinkedIn. You can add each course you’ve completed toward your degree and add the school’s course number for verification. You can also add a description for each course to highlight the skills you’ve acquired. This section can be useful for those who are light on work experience. Check your course catalog to find course numbers and a description that will highlight the skills taught in the course.

In this section you can highlight industry certifications that you earn throughout your career. While this aspect of the certification section may not be useful to recent graduates, you can make use of this section through taking courses on Coursera.

For those that don’t know, Coursera is an online learning platform through which you can take courses from real universities at a fraction of the cost. The best part of Coursera is that you earn a certificate for courses and specializations that you complete and you can showcase these certifications on Linkedin with the click of a button.

Do you have a skill you need to learn in order to make yourself more marketable to employers? If so, I highly suggest browsing Coursera’s catalog.

This final section is for the writers out there. The publications section allows you to list your digital publications with a link and description.

On my Linkedin profile, I link to all of my posts for and, the blogs of Chelsea Krost and Justine Santaniello respectively. These two young women are power players in the millennial space, which is why I regularly contribute to their blogs. My clout instantly goes up when those viewing my LinkedIn profile recognize their names. If you enjoy writing, then you can utilize guest blogging to build up the publications section of your Linkedin profile.

Are you ready to level up your Linkedin presence? If you answered yes, then Tweet me @BPucino and let’s get the conversation started!