What do Abraham Lincoln’s resume and healthcare facilities management have in common?

You might say not much. But communication and the written word are timelessly important. And few presidents have communicated as well with the written word as Lincoln. His mastery of words has been well chronicled. Sure, Lincoln may have lived in the 1800s, but core communication principles, which is really what a resume is, a communication tool, remain relevant today.

Gosselin/Martin Associates presented Dissecting Lincoln’s Resume: What can we learn, in a Zoom class on June 2. It was a great success and now we are happy to present for your review the Lincoln Resume that we created and used as a basis for that class (click on the link below to view it). Using that resume from 1865 as a template, we applied it, and the lessons we can garner from it to today’s chaotic employment/resume market.

In our fictitious world of Lincoln, the President created his resume on April 10, 1865. Civil War enthusiasts will recognize it as the day after the Army of Northern Virginia laid down arms at Appomattox Court House and surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant.

In addition to using lessons from Lincoln’s resume to create a more effective resume, the fast-moving hour-long session touched on a basic leadership principle that Lincoln practiced. It is an approach that many in leadership would do well to emulate. It revolves around the sending of hot letters.


Avoid sending the hot letter

Abraham Lincoln, of course, lived in a time before texting, Twitter, email, and all those other social media applications that make instantaneous communication, and the inevitable errors, possible. Inc.com writes of the Lincoln practice of not sending the Hot Letter:

When Lincoln was angry at a cabinet member, a colleague or one of his generals in the Union army, he would write a letter venting all of his pent-up rage. Then–and this is the key–he put it aside.
Hours later or the next day, he would look at the letter again so he could “attend to the matter with a clearer eye.” More often than not, he didn’t send the letter. We know this was Lincoln’s tactic because years after his death historians discovered a trove of letters with the notation: never sent and never signed.

Lincoln practiced this habit for three reasons. First, he didn’t want to inflame already heated passions. Second, he realized that words said in haste aren’t always clear-headed and well-considered. Third, he did it as a signal–a learning opportunity–for others on his now famous “team of rivals.”

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Upcoming events in the Abraham Lincoln Employment Series
  • June 9: Abe Lincoln, not qualified to run a hospital facility department? (G/MA YouTube Channel)
  • June 16: Podcast: What’s the why? A healthcare education podcast (High Reliability)
  • June 23: Making sense of the healthcare facilities market, a live Q&A (Register here)

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