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While most people write their resume with an intention to shine and impress, a Princeton professor Johannes Haushofer took a different approach. He decided to sum up his academic failures and created a brutally honest resume with sections such as: “Degree programs I did not get into” or “Awards and scholarships I did not get”.
If he had done it for fun to make his friends and colleagues giggle, there would be nothing unusual about it. But he went right ahead and posted it on Twitter! His intention behind this was to point out the invisible attempts people make in their journey to success. He looked at his own academic career and realised people often defined him as a person through all his successes, oblivious of the number of efforts he failed at. Like he says, his CV of Failures is “an attempt to balance the record and provide some perspective”.
Johannes Haushofer is not even the first one who did this kind of thing. He got inspired by this article by Melanie Stefan who decided to speak up about her failed PhD or fellowship applications or papers she submitted but were not accepted for publication.
You ask why would she do that? She wanted to point out that even if these attempts failed, she has put a lot of energy and effort to these projects that deserve attention, too. Life, after all, is not only about our successes. Despite the fact that people tend to form their opinions about us based on our successes, our unsuccessful trials should not go unnoticed.
So, check out Professor Haushofer’s resume of failures that went viral overnight. The last line of his resume speaks for itself: “This darn CV of Failures has received way more attention than my entire body of academic work.” That’s the irony of life.