My failure resume

June 14, 2021 1:55 PM

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An edited image of the author's "failure resume" with school supplies on her desk. Edit created by the author.

An edited image of the author's "failure resume" with school supplies on her desk. Edit created by the author.

Cindy Tran’s Failure Resume 

Phone number: 617 - NotBitter - AtAll



I go to a school where they say failure is not a reflection of your self-worth but everyone is scared to hell and back of anything that isn’t a success. Courseload includes APs that I don’t like and classes that I thought would make college admissions counselors happy. 


  • Receiving rejection emails and not responding. 
  • I may be petty but at least I have some dignity. 
  • Using the same cover letter for 20 different jobs because efficiency is all I have. 
  • Creating three-page resumes because my qualifications don’t fit on one page. 
  • Giving up on things that don’t come to me easily because I was gifted as a child and am painfully aware of my mediocre-ness as an almost-adult. 

Work Experience

Rejection from [REDACTED] Magazine - Writer (June 2020 - Never) 

  • My mentor worked here so I thought I would get in. 
  • I didn’t get in. 
  • I was bitter and sent an email asking why I wasn’t selected. 
  • The editor-in-chief wrote back and told me my writing wasn’t a good fit. 
  • I didn’t respond. 
  • I cried that night and vowed that I would never write again. 
  • Now I get paid to write.  

Rejection from [REDACTED] Magazine - Editorial Assistant (August 2020 - Never) 

  • This was the first cover letter I ever wrote. 
  • I never got an official email but I saw that someone on LinkedIn had recently updated their profile with the position. 
  • I unfollowed them on Instagram and blocked their website on my browser. 
  • I know society is all about ‘every man for himself,’ but you can’t even write a generic “you didn’t get the job” email to someone after they spend two hours on a cover letter and another three polishing their resume and LinkedIn? 
  • I wouldn’t have liked working with people who didn’t appreciate the efforts of others anyway. 

Rejection from [REDACTED] Magazine - Managing Editor (August 2020 - Never) 

  • They said that I was qualified but they found someone who “vibed” with them better. 
  • “No hard feelings,” they said, and offered me a writing position. 
  • I had some very hard feelings. 
  • I rejected their offer and started my own magazine. 

Rejection from [REDACTED] Magazine - Writing Submissions (September 2020, December 2020, January 2020, and forever until I write in a style that isn’t my own) 

  • Honestly, it’s my fault for realizing that they didn’t like my writing style. 
  • This one’s on me.

Rejection from [REDACTED] University - Student (March 2021 - Never) 

  • Okay, so this one stung a bit. 
  • Remember what I said about my allergy to failure? 
  • Well, this one stung. 
  • A lot. 
  • I dreamed of going to school in New York. 
  • You know, skyscrapers, sunsets above penthouses, leisure walks down Fifth Avenue. Brooklyn brownstones, the Strand Bookstore, the whole New Yorker aesthetic that overtook my vision boards on Pinterest. 
  • Girls in brown blazers and trousers that fit, tote bags with groceries.
  • Expensive coffee from Starbucks, Doc Martens clunking down streets, spring picnics in Central, and melted chocolates snuck into the MoMA. 
  • Busy nights, busier mornings, everyone chasing down the next train, taxi, or Uber with the destination their single-minded focus. 
  • I wanted that. 
  • I wanted that so badly. 
  • Now, I am rewriting my dreams with what waits for me in Boston. 

Awards and Recognition 

Taking Rejections Way Too Personally 

  • Awarded by: Cindy’s Emotional Vulnerability   
  • Awarded for: Receiving rejections like they’re a personal attack and not just a reminder that her skills are not necessarily as primed as they should be--also, she doesn’t even have a high school degree yet.

Being Surprised Every Time She Gets A Rejection 

  • Awarded by: The Gods of Rejection
  • Awarded for: Receiving rejections pretty regularly but still making the same Surprised Pikachu face whenever a rejection email lands in her inbox. 

Comparing Herself to People Every Step of the Way 

  • Awarded by: A Very Unstable Self-Esteem
  • Awarded for: Constantly beating herself up whenever she sees what her peers are accomplishing, then feeling like a terrible person because she should be proud of them but all she can hear is her very unstable self-esteem saying that she should be working, saying she’s not good enough, saying she needs to work harder.

Vulnerability and the Essence of Failure 

  • Awarded by: A slowly but surely growing sense of self-assuredness 
  • Awarded for: Writing this resume and reflecting on painful times of the past. She’s really grown since her first rejection. Crippling self-doubt is always around the corner, but by confronting her fears head-on, she has become a stronger person. She is realizing that with each setback, she works twice as hard to become a better person. (She thinks that perhaps in the near future, that she will become someone she’s proud of.) 

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