The MIND Career Exploration Road Map

The MIND Career Exploration Road Map in Inside Higher Ed, and also featured in Science Careers!

The MIND Career Exploration Road Map

Click here for a high resolution image of the MIND Career Exporation Road Map.

Citation: The MIND Career Exploration RoadMap (Copyright Jennie Dorman 2018), and was created by the UCSF Motivating INformed Decisions (MIND) Program, which was funded by the NIH BEST DP7 Common Fund award (5DP7OD018420).

Instructions for using the “Career Exploration Road Map”

by yourself or with a partner 

Most of us know we should spend time investigating our future career options, but we find a thousand reasons to delay. This Career Exploration Road Map was designed to alleviate the stress and overwhelm of career exploration by breaking down the process into manageable and actionable steps shown in a gameboard-style schematic. Welcome!

Goals of Road Map:

  1. If you’re just beginning career exploration, the Career Exploration Road Map will help orient you to the iterative process of career exploration, which is composed of 6 stages: (1) self-assessment, (2) investigation, (3) reflection questions, (4) synthesis, followed by (5) planning and implementing a job search or (6) reassessment and (2) another round of investigation. Once oriented, it’s easier to know how to dive in!
  2. If you’ve already been exploring careers, the Exploration Map will help you use your time wisely by taking stock of your progress and synthesizing what you’ve learned, so you can decide which careers to continue exploring or stop exploring.


Spend 15-20 minutes using the Career Exploration Road Map to take stock of your career exploration efforts.

    1. Briefly answer the questions in the green self-assessment section.
    2. Then, write each career you want to explore or have explored on a colored sticky dot or post-it. 
    3.  For each career possibility, place the dot on the square that represents your current stage of exploring this career. Note that unlike a traditional map which is presented in a strict linear progression, the squares within each colored stage can be visited in any order.
    4. Ask yourself: Are you still considering this career?
    5. If you have already ruled out one of the careers you looked into, place the corresponding dot on the “Rest-In-Peace” (R.I.P.) area and answer the questions in the blue “Re-assess” branch of the Road Map. This will prepare you for re-entering the yellow “Investigate possible careers” stage again.
    6. For each career you are still considering, please jot down what key questions you still need to answer (or what you still need to learn) about it? What next steps will help you move forward?


Career Plan A: _____________________________________________

Key questions I still have about this career:

Next steps:

Career Plan B: _____________________________________________

Key questions I still have about this career: 

Next steps:


Ask a classmate/friend (preferably one who is also engaged in career exploration and willing to try the Exploration Map) to discuss the following (15 - 20 minutes):

  1. Take turns summarizing what stage of career exploration you are in, and what next steps will help you move forward on the map. 
  2. If either of you feels stuck, the other can suggest strategies that might help you move forward.
  3. If you have a question that neither of you can address, write it down so you can ask someone else (e.g., during an informational interview, a meeting with a career counselor, or in an online forum).


Pin the Career Exploration Map to your wall, and revisit it every few months to re-energize your career exploration!

We welcome your feedback. You may reach us at [email protected].