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Company and Role Clarity

Before you start searching, you need to get clear on where you are focused.   It makes everything in the search easier.


  • Stage of Company: Think through which stage is right for you and also if you are looking for a breakout company or something slower-growing.

  • Space: What industries are you interested in? Which do you want to avoid? See Whispered's theses on different spaces informed by deep dialogs with venture investors.

  • Location: How important to you is the company location? Are you interested in hybrid or remote work?

  • Business Model: Are there nuances to a company’s business model that match the value you are good at creating? Finding this can help narrow which companies you’re focused on and help match your abilities to a role.

  • There are a LOT more criteria to evaluate a company on but, at this stage, stay simple. You only need to identify a few high-level descriptors that will help you search with focus.


If you can determine what roles you’re most interested in, it’s easier for your network and potential companies to understand what you’re looking for.

  • You should, especially as you become more senior in your career, focus on a role that plays to your super-power(s).

  • You can have more than one target role, but we’ve found that it is effective to externally focus on a single role that you are best fit for.

  • See the example 1 pager for how to convey this effectively to people

  • If you are struggling to get your target role (either because of a competitive market, holes in your background, or coming off a less-prominent role) here are some tactics:

    • Take a role that is one step down from your experience (in a bigger company) to get back in the game.

    • Focus on emerging roles where there are less competition (i.e. ~10 years ago Customer Success was an emerging function and you could become a leader in it quickly. Similar with AI today;)

The best path is not always linear. In this article by Bret Reckard, he talks about how sometimes moving from a larger scope role to a smaller high-growth company can be a great strategy.

Don't know what you want in your next role?


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