Post-Traumatic Growth

Passion and purpose might land your next job!  Regina Hartley, UPS Human Resource Manager, is challenging my peers in the recruitment field to think differently when reading a resume. Check out her TED Talk here. Keep reading for the quick version on how to get noticed!

A resume tells a story. And over the years, I’ve learned something about people whose experiences read like a patchwork quilt that makes me stop and fully consider them before tossing their resumes away. A series of odd jobs may indicate inconsistency, lack of focus, unpredictability. Or it may signal a committed struggle against obstacles. At the very least, the Scrapper deserves an interview.

Many successful business people and high-powered leaders have patchwork resumes. Often they even have common string through their childhood, post-traumatic growth. In the simplest terms, it is making lemonade out of lemonades. It is the growth that happens after a traumatic experience – learning disability, poverty, death and even violence. These people focus on turning dysfunction into their advantage. This trait is what businesses are looking for right now! The individuals who have the ability to fail and deal with stressful situations and get right back up again. The getting back up is crucial in business as our task and jobs continue to be ambiguous and require skills we were not trained for!

This talk was deeply personal as I grew up with a learning disability, dyslexia to be precise. In my later years, I too would describe my disability as the 35% of other entrepreneurs who have dyslexia would… I am who I am today because of the adversity. In school, I had to work harder than other kids just to keep up. Today, this work ethic, attention to detail and listening skills is what set’s me apart from my peers. If reading would have come easy, who knows if I would be writing this blog for you today? The fact is, I like to read and write because I can….something I never dreamed would click for me.

In the US, 35 percent of the entrepreneurs studied had dyslexia. What’s remarkable — among those entrepreneurs who experience post traumatic growth, they now view their learning disability as a desirable difficulty which provided them an advantage because they became better listeners and paid greater attention to detail. They don’t think they are who they are in spite of adversity, they know they are who they are because of adversity. They embrace their trauma and hardships as key elements of who they’ve become, and know that without those experiences, they might not have developed the muscle and grit required to become successful.

When you can take your challenges and use them to improve yourself and your life, you are the product of post-traumatic growth. We all have trauma in our life and how we overcome this trauma is key! Companies want to know how you bounce back from a failure more than the success you have had. We can all fluff our resume, but how to process and overcome the storm which we will happen is most important to show.

So you are probably thinking, lady this is great, but how do it apply to me.

  1. Put the odds and end jobs on your resume. It tells your story and shows your patchwork.
  2. Be prepared to talk about a time you failed and how you overcame this. Your post-traumatic growth is the perfect story to share.
  3. Use your connections within a company to promote you to the hiring manager and give you the opportunity.
  4. Nothing will get you further in life than determination and hard work!
  5. Remember, Adversity + Determination + Opportunity = Success

1 reply
  1. Ant An
    Ant An says:

    Great reflection and sharing Nicki, Thanks –
    Remember Adversity + Determination + Opportunity = Success


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