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Career Thesis

At whispered, we love helping people in their careers.  In this article on career transitions, we talked about the value of “always having a working thesis (for your career)”.   We've found this approach to be especially powerful for people at more senior levels where roles aren't typically posted.

Many people can’t articulate their ideal next role, but a working thesis can help you by:

  1. Clarifying where you are focused

  2. Making it easier for others to help you

"Focus matters. It unlocks everything. If I ask you to name 5 white things, it can take a while. But if I ask you to name 5 white things in the refrigerator it is easier. Give yourself and others who want to help you the clarity!"

What is a working thesis?

A big part of searching for your next role is to be clear with yourself and others.

"If you don't put yourself in a box, others will do so for you." Leading VC Talent Partner

A working thesis is a short summary of where you are headed next in your career, what unique values you drive and why you are focused there.

A career thesis doesn’t replace your resume or LinkedIn and you won’t share it broadly, just with those who know you personally and are willing to help you in your search.   So, don’t spend time repeating your work history, instead just link to your LinkedIn as reference.

Your career thesis should succinctly articulate the following:

  • The problem(s) you solve for companies (frame in terms of your super-powers that bring the most value to companies you are seeking to work with)

  • The type of roles you are looking for with clear function/level (As you develop career clarity, feel comfortable having 2 roles you are interested in. As long as you have conviction on each, it is ok to be open to different types of roles.)

  • Target company profiles (size, location, specific industries/sectors you are most interested in)

How do you get started?

A career thesis should be able to be drafted in 1-2 days max.  Don’t overthink it.  This is not a plan for the rest of your career, just your current best thoughts on your next step.  This will empower you to start conversations with people close to you who can help you quickly refine it.

The clarity from writing a career thesis is critical to focus you.

  • It will help you take the first step

  • It will help you have a filter to prioritize your research on companies to target

  • It will help you know which people to focus your outreach on

If you are still stuck

  • Read our article on How to Get Started Writing for inspiration

  • If you are having trouble with your career thesis, reflect back on where you did your best work

  • Think about working with a career coach. We know some great ones

How do you put your career thesis into action?


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