Is a failed project as a learning experience something to hide?
November 10, 2012 12:53 PM Subscribe
On my resume and/or in a job interview, do I mention my participation in the Google Summer of Code if I failed miserably at it (technically) and then handled that failure really badly (socially/professionally)?
posted by mock muppet to Work & Money (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
A few years ago, I made a proposal for a project to the Google Summer of Code, and was accepted, to be mentored under an organization while completing the (at the time, ambitious) project. I was ill at the time, and underestimated my progress. On top of that, I took entirely the wrong approach. I didn't know it was the wrong approach, but I didn't reach out for proactive help from my mentor, and he didn't offer any. I ended up stuck. I handled things badly in the end, and dropped off the face of the earth for a while. I didn't get my last payment from the program, and I probably let a bridge burn through neglect.
However, I did eventually learn that I had been taking the wrong approach, and I know now how I should have done it, and how I would do it now given the same situation and technologies. It was an accomplishment just to have my proposal accepted, and I learned things from the experience.
Because I was dropped from the program, it's very hard to find any proof that I participated at all. I'm not on the official list of projects for that year, and the only thing that comes up in a search is a pre-summer map of participants. My mentor likely remembers me, but I doubt it would be a good idea to cite him as a reference.
So, what do I do with this on my resume or in an interview? I have little work experience, and it would be a nice addition - it was a very cool project. Is it worth mentioning for the learning experience and coolness factor, even if I can't give my mentor as a reference? Is "I took the wrong approach, but know what I should have done, and I still learned a lot" worth the "though I didn't finish and I didn't ask for help and it all crumbled away"?