Why You Should Write Your Spouse’s Resume

CBR001081The other night my husband and I worked side by side to update his resume. That’s the benefit of having a business writer for a wife. You get the $500 resume for the bargain price of being the one to clear the dinner dishes. It’s been several years since the last update so I felt compelled to read through every sentence and study every bullet point. If you ever want to reinvigorate your appreciation for your spouse, I highly recommend writing his or her resume. What I thought would be an arduous task turned out to be a nostalgic trip back through our life together.

I can remember when the first version of the document was created. He’d just left the police force after nine years of service. We agonized over every phrase; trying to demonstrate how his naturally strong character and the skills developed in law enforcement translates into a desirable candidate for civilian work. It seems like it was just yesterday. Yet, the growth in his leadership abilities and the quantity and quality of results he’s achieved for each of his employers belies the truth about the distance he’s traveled over the past 17 years.

As I’m sure you can tell by now, I am my husband’s biggest fan. However, the specific reasons for my adoration sometimes get swallowed up by the chaos that is our daily existence. Most married people will probably agree that a tremendous amount of energy and effort goes into pointing out all of the ways your spouse can improve his or her behaviors in a multitude of arenas. Life together can feel like one long performance appraisal. We evaluate and rate each other on such important things as “ability to put dirty socks in the hamper,” “length of time one can endure seeing dirty socks on the floor before commenting,” and “number of times a person can repeat a request despite the other person’s stated agreement to provide assistance.” I get so immersed in the mundane aspects of our journey I forget to take time to reflect back on the road behind us.  Updating his resume gave me the opportunity to revisit the jobs he’s held, the responsibilities with which he’s been entrusted, and the results he’s produced year after year.

When you write someone’s resume you have to describe the results and accomplishments the person has achieved. You position the individual in a favorable light accentuating their uniqueness, the value they provide, and the capabilities that make them stand out. Capturing in words all of their responsibilities gives you a greater appreciation and empathy for what they must do and endure each day. You gain a fresh perspective on your spouse when details about their character and accomplishments, things you know intuitively but probably don’t spend time articulating, take shape before you on two neatly formatted pages.

The process of developing a document to market the benefits of hiring your spouse alters your mindset. You begin to realize the futility of focusing on trivial matters. Though “fixing” the little things may help make living with the person more convenient, it doesn’t fulfill a true partnership role. The confidence you have in your spouse and the way you treat them has a huge impact on their ability to make a significant contribution in the workforce. This in turn translates to their ability to contribute to the family both financially and emotionally.

On the home front, I have seen the hard work my husband has put forth to grow as a father and husband. He has honed his gifts as a servant leader, a person of integrity, a good listener, and a man who sacrifices personal comfort to change his ways if it means being a better role model for his sons. I experience the benefits of his personal growth first hand. But the good work he does on the job is a part of his world that I can only experience vicariously through the stories he shares. Though he tells me about the highs and lows of his days, he’s a modest guy who virtually never crows or brags about his accomplishments. Putting down in words all that he does and all he has achieved at work opened my eyes to the magnitude of his professional growth over the last decade and a half. By the time I was done updating his resume, I was filled with intense pride in a man I hadn’t realized I’d been taking for granted.

If you ever find yourself looking across the dinner table at a spouse you love but under appreciate, take the time to write their resume. It will rejuvenate your faith in the person with whom you share your life.

If you’re curious, here’s my husband’s resume

What do you think about trying this strategy in business? How could writing your staff’s resumes help you as a leader?

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Filed under Business, How To, Leadership, Trust

2 responses to “Why You Should Write Your Spouse’s Resume

  1. Jen

    I couldn’t help but think about my own husband as I read this! From a positive psychology perspective, I agree that this would be a powerful exercise to try at work – especially a staffer with whom you might be having conflicts. Focusing on strengths really helps us gain perspective on ourselves and others.

    • nicoledefalco

      Hi Jen, I was thinking the same thing about this as a leadership exercise. It really does focus you on a person’s strengths. Great idea to use the strategy with a person with whom you are experiencing conflict!

      Thanks for sharing!