can I forward my husband’s resume to my own contacts?

A reader writes:

First, I’m not one of THOSE wives, I promise.

My husband was just laid off and is starting a job search. I work at a nonprofit, so I know lots of people in different industries who don’t know my husband at all. A member of a community organization that throws a benefit for us each year is also a VP at company that he’s interested in applying for. So I know the guy, but I don’t KNOW the guy.

I want to pass on my husband’s resume or approach my contact in some way about my husband’s job search, but because of the warnings from you and Evil HR Lady, I’m really aware of the dangers of making my husband look like he can’t run his own job search. How would you handle this?

I think this is different from what I wrote about in my last post, the one on not submitting a contact’s resume to random strangers on his/her behalf. In this case, you know the people you’re sending it to, so there’s a personal connection.

Just make sure that you really are passing it along to people who know you, at least a bit. And ensure that your cover note doesn’t make it sound like you’re asking them to do you a favor — but rather that you might be connecting them with someone who can help them.

In other words, don’t write something like, “I’ve attached my husband’s resume. He’s out of work and really desperate, so please take a look and see if you can use him.”

Equally bad would be getting into a long explanation of what he is and isn’t looking for in his next job. Leave that discussion to him to have for himself.

But something like this would be fine: “I know you’re often looking for people with (fill in skill set here), and it occurred to me that you and my husband, Ron, might both be a match with what the other is looking for. If the match isn’t right, no worries at all, but I thought I’d pass it along in case the fit is right.”

You want to be sensitive to the fact that other people may feel awkward about the fact that the candidate is your husband, so do what you can to make it clear that you have no expectations of special treatment. In other words, write a short, professional note that doesn’t sound like you’re asking for a favor and you’ll be fine.

{ 1 comment… read it below }

  1. Just Another HR Lady*

    What about if you gave your husband the contact information for your network and let him get in touch with them instead? He could certainly say "Jane passed your contact info on to me as someone I might want to get in touch with regarding XYZ employment opportunity", etc.

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