A Curriculum Vitae, CV, (or a resume as we know it) is a career instrument displaying your abilities, accomplishments, awards, and education. You use this instrument to introduce yourself to targeted employers. And hopefully, secure an interview.
What this document doesn’t show, however, is: failure.
In the job search process, you’re told to ‘sell yourself’ (i.e., brag). So, there’s no way you can show you’ve fallen short along the way.
No way you can display your imperfections.
But, there’s an effort to change this. More recently, it started when:
A Princeton Psychology and Public Affairs Professor published a different document: his CV of Failures.
Johannes Haushofer’s CV includes rejections for degree programs, research funding, and academic journals. He’s now a Professor and an Author of several pieces of research but failed several times before.
“Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible,” Haushofer writes.
Some argues it’s easier to make a CV of failures when you’re successful. Still, he says he published this resume to change the perceptions of his students. Haushofer says:
“I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me. As a result, they are more likely to attribute their own failures to themselves, rather than the fact that the world is stochastic, applications are crapshoots, and selection committees and referees have bad days.”
His CV has gone viral, but the idea originated from Melanie I. Stefan, Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. In a 2010 Science article, Stefan said:
“I did well at school and later at university, earned the PhD position of my dreams, and have published several papers. This is the story that my CV reveals.”
She went on to say:
“But that is exactly the problem. My CV does not reflect the bulk of my academic efforts — it does not mention the exams I failed, my unsuccessful PhD or fellowship applications, or the papers never accepted for publication.”
The idea behind the CV of failures is to reject the shame stemming from them in the world of academia.
Failure’s considered a negative thing outside the academic world, too. And, Haushofer’s ‘failure to success’ story shows:
Failing doesn’t make you a failure. If you allow failure to stop you from moving forward, then you won’t accomplish anything.
If you’ve been reading this blog, then you know I’ve failed to advance in my profession of choice. You know I’ve failed to land a job in a lengthy job search.
And, I’ll admit: failing is painful. I’ve experienced bouts of discouragement and disappointment along the way. (Still do sometimes and must fight hard.)
But, I learned some lessons, too. I grew and my perspective on my life shifted. I saw it clearly.
And, I can tell you: when you run into failure, the best things you can do are: accept it, learn and grow from it, make adjustments where necessary, and move on.
Survive every frustration, let down, and rejection with tenacity. Remember, failure isn’t the end of your career, unless you allow it to be.
Instead of letting it define your career, keep pushing courageously.
To see Professor Haushofer’s CV, you can check out the link below:
Johannes Haushofer, CV of Failures │ Princeton University