My Failures Are Integral to My Resume


I hate updating my resume and writing cover letters. Every time I feel like a phony. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve never fabricated my accomplishments, pretended I speak five different languages or feigned a black belt in karate. I’ve done everything I listed, like announcing for the New Balance Armory Track, hosting for WFUV public radio and speaking not five, but three different languages. That being said it still doesn’t feel right; a crucial part of myself is missing in the job descriptions — my f*** ups. And trust me, I have plenty. 

In my resume under the title of WFUV host/reporter I write: Hosted daily “What’s What” podcast covering current events, culture, news and hot topic issues in the New York Metropolitan Area.

Here’s what’s missing. When I started hosting for WFUV, it was a nightmare. The “What’s What” podcast made its debut this past summer and the whole goal of it is to make news as conversational and accessible as possible. This was easier said than done. Creating the script for the first time seemed simple enough, but actually recording it was a whole other story. When I introduced myself, I couldn’t pronounce my own last name correctly and it was all downhill from there. 

Although they were my words on paper, I could not get through a complete sentence without messing up. When I finally finished, I sounded robotic and disconnected from the context of the news itself. I reported on a fun disco event at Lincoln Center with as much enthusiasm as reading off a grocery list. I cringed when I listened back to it and still refuse to revisit that first episode. Nonetheless, it was a valuable experience; I realized that I had to write in a way that suits my voice. It made me consider, “Would I really say something like that?” I learned to say my words with purpose. Journalists are taught to be objective, but I’ve learned to connect to stories in this way and reflect the appropriate tones in my voice, rather than just reading words from a script. 

Here’s another example of one of my accomplishments from my resume, working at the Armory: Organized and hosted awards ceremonies at the 2022 New Balance Indoor Nationals.

This sounds more glamorous than it actually was. The New Balance Indoor Nationals is one of the most prestigious track events that takes place at the Armory. It’s a three-day televised production where the fastest high schoolers gather from across the country for the chance to compete and win champion titles. It was my job to announce the awards, but there was a lot more to it than that. 

What I would like to put on the resume is how I ran more than those kids that weekend, frantically going back and forth from the podium to the timing room to retrieve the winning results five minutes before each awards ceremony. I’d like to write down how I had to smile and try to pronounce each unfamiliar name as I heard my two bosses curse each other out through my headset. And of course, the most glamorous part of the job was explaining to parents that their kids were not getting the top prize — a set of airpods — because they didn’t win first place. I know that these aren’t necessarily failures, but they were definitely obstacles that I had to overcome. They speak more to how I can handle pressure than simply “Organized and Hosted Awards.”

I obviously can’t put these explanations in my resume, especially when I am confined to the standard one page limit. A portfolio is meant to showcase an applicant’s best work, but my failures are as informative as my successes, if not more. I have learned to be flexible and versatile, to think out of the box when things don’t go my way. I, like many others, am not a product of accomplishments alone. 

I had to fall, f*** up and start over again to get to the one-sentence descriptions I write on my resume.