Creating a ‘Failure Resume’ Is a Beneficial Self-Help Experiment

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A lot of us work for hours and hours trying to craft a resume that makes us irresistible to potential employers. A tweak here and there to highlight your education and work accomplishments so you can hopefully land your dream job.

But here’s an alternative exercise that the New York Times recommends you try out as a self-help assignment: a second resume that focuses on your failures, mistakes, and struggles throughout your life.

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A ‘failure resume’ is meant to make you reflect on your failures in a way that allows you to learn from these mistakes and have a brighter future. Melanie Stefan, a lecturer at Edinburgh Medical School, says about failure resumes:

“If you dare—and can afford to—make it public. It will be six times as long as your normal CV. It will probably be utterly depressing at first sight. But it will remind you of the missing truths, some of the essential parts of what it means to be a scientist—and it might inspire a colleague to shake off a rejection and start again.”

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Learning from our failures seems to be a hot-button topic these days, and even Columbia University now has a research center that focuses on how we can turn failure into success.

Need some inspiration to write your own failure resume? Here is a link to one by a professor at Princeton and here is another example from a management consultant.

Keep your head up! When one door closes, another one opens. So don’t dwell on your failures, but learn from them instead!