I recently submitted my resume as part of a bid for a project. I am struck by how disconnected and dissonant the resume writing experience is compared to my professional life and combined experiences. Resume’s are about listing all the things we did right – leading to all the amazing accomplishments of our careers. I am in my 40’s and have much of which to be proud. Having worked my way up form entry level college graduate to President and CEO, serving as a chief marketing officer, vice-president of business development and marketing strategy consultant along the way. I add more value more quickly to any organization than ever before. My many great experiences provide a base of knowledge that serves as the foundation to each new project I approach. My reflection on these experiences and knowledge has even yielded wisdom, which I hope will continue to grow for years to come. But this knowledge and wisdom is not born from all the things I did right. It comes from all the mistakes.
The past failures, the overreaches, the boggled communication, the missed opportunities, these are the things from which I learned the most. My knowledge and wisdom flows – not from those items bulleted on the resume – but from all the things not listed. My greatest value isn’t on the page. The most valuable thing about me is what I have learned from my many mistakes throughout my career.
I am not sure I could land a job with the list of what I did wrong and what I learned from each mistake throughout my career. But I should. Personally, I only hire people who are willing to be self-reflective – because I know that is where knowledge and wisdom are born. I have no use for the job candidate who did everything right in the past. I want to hire the applicant who took risks, failed, picked herself up and tried again, and again until . . . until this very moment. I want to hire the candidate who reflected on each mistake, learned what could be learned and kept trying. That is me. I would hire me in a second.