A Modern Resume that Works

Published on
February 1, 2023
Tony D. Thelen
Strategic Advisor, John Deere Financial
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Near the end of the year many of us reflect on how the year went, start to cast our mind to what next year might look like, and take stock in where our lives are at the moment. With this spirit in mind I'm bringing back a popular tool many have used to design a successful career and fulfilling life.

It's called a "Career Discussion Guide" and when I first published this in May 2022 I was overwhelmed with the response so I am publishing it again now. I've used this document for many years to clarify my thinking on where my career and life is headed.

To start using this tool here is a google doc Career Discussion Guide - Google Docs. Simply click the link, make a copy, and you should be able to personalize to your own liking. I also included a SlideShare file for a quick overview, and below are a few tips as well.

First, take the time to seriously think through your career and your life. What do you really want to get out of life? Remember Blaise Pascal advice - "If I had more time I would have written a shorter letter". This is quality, not quantity. Let your quantity reside somewhere else. This document is a focused, intentional, 1 page overview of what you have done and what you want to do in this world.

It has 5 parts, with an optional 6th section.

  • Part 1 & 2 are education and work history. Be brief, to the point. Don't list every class you've taken, and don't try to describe in detail every accomplishment in every job you've ever had. Leave that for the conversation to come later.
  • Part 3 is the most difficult for most people and where they struggle mightily. It's the Value Proposition - basically, why would someone hire you? This is where your natural tendency to sell yourself takes a look in the mirror and decides what you really have going on. If you are struggling here, let the process do it's magic and take the time to thoughtfully discern where your greatest value lies. Do not rush the process.
  • Part 4 and 5 are similar, but just aimed at a different outcome. Part 4 is what do you want to accomplish in your career, and what kinds of experiences are you interested in. Part 5 is similar, except it's more personal, and is aimed at what you want to accomplish in your life.
  • Part 6 is optional - it's a catch all for anything not included in the above. I call it a "bottom line" space for you to add a special touch or additional information.

Best of luck and I truly hope this tool and process helps you. As with most things in life, this tool should evolve as your career and life evolve, so iterating on it over time is a good idea.

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