How To Turn Personal Defeat Into A Possible Resume Builder

Photo by vcorne00

Photo by vcorne00

Always Be Trying Stuff

I believe you should always be trying different things. Learn the fine art of plate spinning. If you have an interest in something personally or professionally, then I think you should go for it. Possibly, you have an interest in a personal development class. Perhaps, you would really like to audition for a local theater company. Maybe, you would like to write a book.

Unfortunately, we will not always be successful in every activity we engage ourselves. There will be some victories as well as many defeats. We will learn new distinctives about ourselves. That’s normal and extremely good for us. We may even be able to turn some of those “try’sĀ and fails” into great resume builders.

Let me give you an example from my own life.

One “Failure” That Helped Me Land My Last Two Positions

While I was a graduate student down in Florida during the mid-1990s, I found out about a conducting audition for the United States Air Force Band program. I was a conductor. I had conducted elementary, middle school, high school, college, and even civic bands and orchestras. I had great conducting mentors during both my undergraduate and graduate days. I was eminently qualified to audition for this prestigious position. So, I went for it.

The first round of the audition consisted of creating a quality VHS video tape (remember those?) of me conducting various ensembles. I vaguely remember finding someone to help me with the video editing process, and together we put together the best product we could. Then, I shipped that off to the band department of the United States Air Force in Washington, D.C. A few weeks later, I received a letter informing me that I had made it into the finals round of the conducting auditions. Yes, I was one step closer to a professional life achievement. Awesome!

The finals round of the audition required me to fly out to St. Louis , Missouri, at my own expense, and audition for the band at Scott Air Force Base. The actual finals audition had three parts to it. First, stand in front of the band and conduct them through 3-4 pieces. Second, take a written test to demonstrate my musical knowledge. Third, take an extremely difficult ear-training exam, to see if I could hear melody lines, harmonies, and chord changes, and then write that all down as quickly as possible! If my memory serves me correctly, I think I had about 6-8 weeks to train and get ready for these 3 tests before flying out to St. Louis. It was a challenging and nerve-racking time in my life, to say the least.

So, I made it out to Scott Air Force Base for the auditions and didn’t do quite as well as I had hoped. I kind of choked on the podium in front of these incredible Air Force musicians. Plus, the written and ear-training tests were extremely difficult. Within a couple of hours, the entire process was over. I didn’t even make it to the next round. Bummer.

But, what I did have going for me, even after that whole ordeal of the audition, was the fact that I did make it to the finals round of the prestigious Air Force conducting program. I could highlight this fact on my resume. And, when it came time to interview for both orchestra director positions at my former church First Baptist Church of Ft. Lauderdale, FL as well as my current position at First Baptist Raytown, MO, both of my bosses had mentioned to me that this part of my resume was definitely a reason they chose me over other candidates.

So, the lesson I learned from this experience is always be seeking ways to turn your failures into success stories, some way and some day. Don’t give up. Keep trying different things until something sticks. You can do it!

Questions: So how about you? Is your life marked with a few failures that, while discouraging, have perhaps moved you closer to personal or professional victories? Do you have a unique failure to victory story to share with the community?