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Relevant resume includes failures, not successes

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As this semester on the Hill draws to a close, it is that time of the year when many college seniors begin to take the last few steps that will lead them into the real world, where they can – ideally – give back to the people around them. However, this task is always much easier said than done. In a society where there are 20 people fighting for one piece of pie, all graduating seniors want to be sure that they have the best chance to claim it.

In many ways, the workforce is like a battleground in which the resume is one’s weapon of choice. A document that lists all of one’s best qualities, highest achievements and widest-ranging capabilities as incentive for hiring corporations and businesses, the resume – in theory – should make every candidate seem like the best one for the job.

Earlier this month, however, advertising executive Jeff Scardino created the concept of “The Relevant Resume,” that, unlike a regular resume, does not list all of one’s accomplishments, academic achievements, general talents, extracurricular activities and so on. Instead, Scardino’s resume lists one’s learning experiences through the mistakes that one has made, one’s failures and conflicts one has had that can pinpoint one’s flaws and defects.

Scardino points out in an interview with Business Insider that the resume “provides a template for job seekers to ditch the inflated skills and not-so humble brags of their careers in favor of setting them apart by showcasing their failures.”

Interestingly, he came up with the idea for the “relevant resume” as he was conducting job interviews and realized that asking for references from people that failed to see eye to eye with the candidates would perhaps give him a more accurate representation of them as well-rounded individuals.

For most of us, Scardino’s idea would probably be seen as a creative, yet overly optimistic, to the point of naïveté. If every employer used the relevant resume instead of the version that is used now, and valued candidates for their failures rather than for the way they present their accomplishments, then more and more potentially under-qualified people will be able to fight for the ever shrinking piece of pie.

Still, it may be valuable for experiences gained through failure to be taken into consideration, both by the employer and the applicant. Would it not be better to have gone through a lot of failures and learned about the harsh reality of life than to have succeeded in almost every way possible and failed to learn anything?

As Aunt Billie said to Lewis in the Meet the Robinsons: “From failing, you learn. From success….eh, not so much.” May all of us Oles be able to own up to our failures as we begin our own search for success.

Samuel Pattinasarane ’18 pattin1@stolaf.edu is from Jakarta, Indonesia. He majors in political science and Asian studies.