Share Your Failures in a Rejection Resume


“Most people tell themselves not to think about the negative things in life,” says Joseph. “When we talk about Elon Musk and other successful people, we talk about how they succeeded. But they all had failures too. It’s okay to fail. You can learn from your mistakes. and bounce back.

Joseph had his share of rejection. Between 2014 and 2019, he submitted over 1,200 applications for various schools, courses, colleges and jobs. He says the hundreds of rejections helped make him who he is today, including as a faculty member at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies, a school that rejected his application as a student. Realizing that his failures lead to successes, Joseph decides to document them and make them public by post a rejection resume on LinkedIn.

“Rejection and failure are never perfect, but they’re perfectly aligned with your story,” he says.

How to Write a Rejection Resume

From the time you started applying to colleges, you have probably had successes and failures. Joseph suggests writing them down and making a curriculum vitae out of them.

“Start like a normal resume,” says Joseph. “State your goals or purpose. Record how many classes you failed, how many schools rejected you, how many times you were fired, and how many jobs you didn’t get. So, there you have it, you’ll have a good, solid summary of your trials and tribulations. »

Joseph formatted his like a traditional resume, breaking down rejections into “Education,” “Experience,” and “Commitment, Honors, and Awards.” For example, he shares that he submitted 652 applications to JP Morgan Chase, had three interviews and no job offers. He also asked to speak at five TED events and was turned down each time. Today he is a TED Fellow and spoke at TEDxSyracuseUniversity in 2018.

How to use it

Your rejection resume can be a compass when plan A doesn’t work. “When you write it down and have documented evidence that your initial plans aren’t working, you can cultivate alternatives,” says Joseph. “You may decide that being an employee for certain jobs or organizations isn’t working. Or you may want to become an entrepreneur. Try to decipher what you could have done differently.

While you can keep this information to yourself, Joseph challenges people to share their rejection resume by posting it on LinkedIn as a unique way to network and potentially lead new job openings.

“When people post about their struggles, it often resonates with a lot of others,” he says. “He says, ‘Here are the jobs and organizations that rejected me, but I’m still here. I am still optimistic about my future. If your connections or followers on LinkedIn relate to your story, it can go viral. You might have offers from the same organizations that rejected you.

You can also compare your rejection CV with your real CV to show your resilience. “When I showed my rejection CV, my goal was not to make organizations look bad, like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs. I had applied to JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs so many times, and I had been rejected. It’s not pointing fingers. It’s saying, ‘It’s okay to fail. Keep trying.’”

Sharing your failures can also be helpful for others and their path to success. “I get feedback from other people who have failed, trying to do similar things to what I’ve tried,” Joseph explains. “When they see my struggles and how many times I’ve failed, it reassures them. And when they look at the positive and the good in my profile today, it can serve as inspiration. Use the failures as navigation. Keep it Cap. Things will be better.”


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