Mel Savage Executive Coaching
The Highly Valued Leader Podcast - CAREER Planning

Episode 39 – Resumes that Get Noticed with Sarah Lima

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Episode 39 - Resumes that Get Noticed with Sarah Lima
Summary

In this episode, Sarah Wing Lima, a Talent Acquisition expert with two decades of experience, shares invaluable insights on crafting a standout resume.

With her unwavering focus on talent acquisition, Sarah offers a unique perspective on what makes a resume catch the eye of recruiters. Covering both the mindset of the reviewer and practical tips, the episode delves into strategies for grabbing attention, refining content, crafting effective cover letters, and steering clear of common mistakes.

This episode is a must-listen for anyone seeking to create or update their resume, offering a comprehensive guide to optimizing this crucial career document.

If you’re looking for a specific freebie or tool mentioned in this podcast, you can visit https://melsavage.com/free to access additional free training tools designed to help you become a highly valued leader.

Read the Transcript

Disclaimer: Some of the content and information mentioned in this episode might no longer be applicable. This includes references to specific links, courses, or programs. As a result, all the links mentioned will now redirect you to our current website. There, you’ll find up-to-date information, resources, and exciting new content to support your journey. We appreciate your understanding and unwavering support.

Hello, my friends. Welcome back to the podcast. 

Over the next eight weeks, we’re going to be talking about stuff related to job search, all different kinds of stuff. Some of it is going to be how-to stuff, and some of it’s going to be top-tip stuff. We’re going to have some great guests, some great feedback on both resumes, interviewing, and LinkedIn, and all the things that you need to know in order to embark on your job search journey. 

To kick off the next eight weeks of support around job search, I have a guest today and her name is Sarah Wing Lima. She is the Director of Talent Acquisition at the University of Guelph up here in Canada. But she is a really unique individual in that she’s actually spent 20 years her entire career in talent acquisition. And you know if you’re in HR, the idea of spending your entire career in talent acquisition is not something that often happens. You tend to pop around to all of the different unthought sub-segments of the HR world. 

But Sarah has really focused her time on talent acquisition and she has not only worked for, I call it the education sector because she’s at the university right now. But she’s worked in the private sector, and she’s worked in the public sector. So she’s really got a fulsome view of not only the different kinds of criteria or the different kinds of expectations and different kinds of sectors of business. But she’s got 20 years of experience. She has seen the evolution, my friends of what talent acquisition looks like for organizations. 

The perspective that she’s going to provide for you today is really about what she and her team look for when they’re looking at resumes. It’s about getting the perspective to you about what the person who’s receiving the resume is thinking when they get it. And that’s going to help you really understand the things that you want to think about as you’re putting your resume together. 

I have a little confession to make. Sara and I recorded this podcast back in November 2019 and I meant to get it out at the beginning of the year, but then my business priorities changed. Then COVID happened, and then a whole bunch of things, blah, blah, blah. I revamped all my products and all my offers to people. I’m just now getting to the job search category and really providing that content to my clients, my members, and, of course, to you all here, listening to me now. 

I’ve had different resume programs before that I’ve provided to people, but I’ve just revamped what I’ve done and I feel really good now that it’s very tight, and it’s very focused. Now, of course, resume writing and job search material are not the focus of what I do but it is an element of creating a very strong career plan. So it’s important that those tools are available to you and that we talk about them. And it’s not just about the tools either. 

The workshop that I put together is also about getting your head in the game. A lot of the time, when we put our resumes together, first of all, we avoid doing it because we’re intimidated by it. We don’t want to brag. Maybe we think small when we’re putting a resume together, maybe we’re not focused enough, or maybe we’re not willing to call out some of the achievements we want to call out so we put the whole thing off. Writing a resume is just uncomfortable for a lot of people because they feel like they’re going to be judged. 

So we do spend some time getting your heads focused on what you want to achieve. And then we walk through step by step how to do it. Sarah and I actually talk more about the step-by-step in this particular podcast. And there is a second piece of this podcast where next month, I’m going to bring back the second part of the podcast, which is really, Sarah and I talk about interviewing. So this is kind of in two pieces. 

For the month of July, we’re going to really focus on resume building and LinkedIn and getting your head in the game around the resume. Next month, we’re going to talk about interviewing the perspective of the interviewer and what you need to do. We’re going to talk about some great interview questions from some of my favorite people in the industry. Some senior folks are going to provide what they believe their best interview questions are and what they really love to ask people. So it’s really going to be a great couple of months of great content around job search. 

The other thing I wanted to draw your attention to is a couple of other podcasts that I’ve done that might be helpful to you as we go through this. The first one was an interview I did late last year, before COVID with a lady named Camille Attell. She is a coach. I’m going to put the link in the show notes at thecareerreset.com/39. She is a lady who is a coach to help people get remote work. 

Obviously, things have changed with COVID and everybody’s kind of working remotely right now. So some of the content we talked about in terms of how to manage your boss to convince them that you can work remotely may be a little bit out of date. But there is still a lot of good content in there on how to find remote work. So that might be something that you’re looking for. And I will I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. 

The other one is an interview I just did with Momo Bertrand who is the Chief Digital Media Officer at the UN. He’s working out of Italy. It’s called, Why Not Me? He talks about how he approached his job search to get his dream job. So that might be another great episode for you to listen to. I will link to that in the show notes as well. 

Let’s get to the content for today, which is really about putting together a really strategic, focused, powerful resume that helps get you noticed. Here’s my conversation with Sarah Wing Lima, Director of Talent Acquisition at the University of Guelph. 

Mel Savage: Hello, everyone. Welcome back. I am here with Sarah Lima, who is the Director of Talent Acquisition at the University of Guelph. Thank you so much, Sarah, for joining me today.

Sarah Wing Lima: You’re welcome, Mel. I’m happy to be here.

Mel Savage: I am so lucky to have someone like you with your background and your experience on this podcast today. And you have such great insight into both resume-building and interviewing skills, which is what we’re going to be talking about today. So thank you once again. 

Sarah Wing Lima: You’re welcome.

Mel Savage: I thought we could start with a little bit of your background because even though you work at the university, which is a public place that has different kinds of roles, you also have a private background. So tell me a little bit about that.

Sarah Wing Lima: I’ve been in the whole talent acquisition space for almost 20 years now and it started in the private sector. But also, in kind of a seasonal business, I was working for the ski industry, which was super fun. I loved it. Two years of my life. They were a pretty large industry company that led to an opportunity in their corporate office in Vancouver, BC, which really was a huge intro to the corporate world. And then within Vancouver, I switched a couple of times to other private sector businesses, which was also very interesting, although it was actually the transition to a global company. 

So recruiting in a global space was quite an eye-opener, too, and then I decided to transition to the public sector and see what that was like. So I moved over to municipal government with the City of Vancouver. And now I’m with the University of Guelph. So those transitions each were quite interesting. And I think from a recruitment view, the strategies changed slightly and the candidate patterns slightly. So I hope I can offer a little bit of all of those environments. 

Mel Savage: Of course, and you have the dream job working for a ski company in Vancouver. What could be better? What could be more of a dream job than that?

Sarah Wing Lima: I really love those years. That was a great experience.

Mel Savage: Especially when you’re young. Wow, that’s amazing. Not many people spend 20 years in talent acquisition. They’ll move around the different HR specialties. As someone who’s really been focused on it, I’m sure that you’ve seen so much change in the industry. The digital space alone must have made such a huge shift and how you look at people.

Sarah Wing Lima: That’s one thing that’s kept me in talent acquisition, I think, compared to other HR streams is just the constant change. I think it’s akin to the whole marketing world because we are marketing. It evolves fast. It’s kind of exciting. 

Mel Savage: That put you on the spot because I know we didn’t talk about this. But since we’re sort of on this topic, and we’re having a casual conversation here. So what would you say is the biggest shift from when you started, in terms of what you have to consider in talent acquisition for when you started to work today?

Sarah Wing Lima: I think there are a couple of things. I mean, I think for sure, the most obvious is that shift to digital and to reach people. There’s so much more available to us as employers and recruiters to actually get our jobs out to people. So that’s a huge thing. But I also would say that the candidate patterns may have changed a little bit in terms of how applicants are looking for jobs, what they’re looking for, and what they value. I think that’s changed. I think there’s been a real shift toward pieces that employers are offering that are more, I think, personally aligned with their personal values. Now it has to really meet their needs as a person and their personal values. There are many, but those are the first to come to mind. 

Mel Savage: I think from a recruitment standpoint, not only obviously, it’s easier for you to get people because you can people can search and you have this digital space. You don’t have to put an ad in the paper or rely on a recruitment agency as much. But I bet you get a ton more resumes to pile through.

Sarah Wing Lima: I guess there’s a downside to that because we can get our job. And I actually wouldn’t say that it’s easier, I’d say it’s harder because what happens is that we attract a volume, but that volume isn’t necessarily the exact one that we’re looking for. I think it is because there’s so much available for candidates to see, it actually is harder to get to the right person. I think you really have to be very targeted in what you are putting out and what you’re saying and really be cognizant of who exactly you’re after. So there’s just so much available, definitely. But I think we have to be extremely targeted about it.

Mel Savage: Oh my god, I couldn’t have planned a better segue than that because this is really about the people who are putting their resumes out versus shotgunning, or machine-gunning. It’s a terrible metaphor, but machine gunning your resumes to all these different job opportunities. I always talk about customizing and really focusing your message on a specific one. Like marketing, you’re marketing yourself now to this agency or job opportunity. 

Let’s talk a little bit about that. You have this huge ball, I know you probably have a team of people who are helping you sort through all that stuff. But in terms of you and your team and you get all these resumes in, what are the common challenges that you see in the resumes themselves?

Sarah Wing Lima: It is a perfect segue because one of the things that is actually really challenging is that we do get this high volume. At least you know, and I’m speaking based on the feedback that I’m getting from some of the hiring managers, because one’s actually in a lot of cases, reviewing resumes in our environment right now, anyway. But when you get just a generic click, submit my resume, it’s in, and there’s no real effort to express a personal interest in that employer specifically, it’s really tough because that won’t distinguish, anyway. 

The employer needs to understand that a lot of hiring managers like to understand that they’re truly interested in applying for this job at this place. And when people go on Indeed, LinkedIn, and some of these other things where you can just click and submit your resume, you don’t get the opportunity to attach that. A lot of candidates are taking the opportunity because the opportunity is there. I think that’s fine. You just get this clip of resumes, and there’s no real understanding of why. Why us? Why this job? 

Otherwise, the other challenges, I’d say, are our resumes that are just so overloaded. People put a ton of information in there. But that actually doesn’t serve you. It creates a little bit of confusion. I can’t read it very quickly nor can the managers. So that would probably be another thing. And it’s easy to correct mistakes, things that are glaringly errors, just errors that should have been corrected. I think those are just really common but easy to correct.

Mel Savage: I agree. My biggest pet peeve when I was in corporate and hiring people with resumes, was if I got an overloaded resume, I would just stop reading it. It’s overwhelming. I’m already busy. I know it sounds harsh, but I don’t have time to weed through your resume and figure out if you’re the right person for me or not. Your job is to help me make that easy for me. And that’s certainly what I talk to people about, too. The easier you can make it, the more likely people are going to spend time with your resume. If I get a chockablock, like a nine-point type resume, even if it’s one page, but it’s so full of stuff. Out here. I’m not even going to look at it.

Sarah Wing Lima: It’s really hard. If I’m spending time trying to understand or trying to interpret somebody’s theme or employment history, it’s too much.

Mel Savage: I want to come back to what you said on the digital side. Let’s say I’m on LinkedIn, I want to apply for a job. Is there even a vehicle for me, let’s say, I do want to take the time to customize my resume or add a specific cover letter? How do I do that for you versus just sending my resume that’s on file? How can I do that?

Sarah Wing Lima: Absolutely. Every time we post something to the external digital space, we will always link the reader to our actual posting on our website. And I would say most employers would unless they’re exclusively advertising your job through an engine like Indeed. There’s always that link, and you can just pause, take note of that, and go to the employer’s website, and the instructions are right there, and follow the instructions. Because often, they’ll have an online application, too or they’ll have a different way of applying. So I would go straight to the employer and get a sense. 

Also, as a candidate something that’s going to set you apart is if you can truly make some connections between you and that employer, what they’re standing for, and what they’re trying to do. So it’s in your interest to go to the website and spend a little time there, anyway.

Mel Savage: I totally agree. One of the things I teach as well is to take a look at the job description and dissect it. What I always say is, pick what you see that are maybe the top two or three deal breakers. And really focus your message in your resume on those top two or three deal breakers. There are going to be a ton of qualifications that the potential employer is looking for. But if you speak to all of those, it’s just going to be a soup of stuff that no one’s going to understand. So really pick your top two, three, maybe four things that you want to focus on, and just customize your work experience and your achievements that you’re calling out to that specifically.

Sarah Wing Lima: I really think that it’s easy to underestimate especially when you’re on the job hunt, it’s exhausting. I recognize that it’s a push to get through that process, but don’t underestimate the value of spending time and preparing and doing their homework.

Mel Savage: Yeah, absolutely. So spend the time and call it out. One of the things that people are always I know, concerned about when they’re writing a resume, or when they’re looking to even apply for the job, they see all these qualifications that are required. There might be a difference for you in terms of the private and the public sector, but how often do you require the candidate to have 10 out of 10 of the qualifications that you’re listing on the job? 

Sarah Wing Lima: I think it’s rare that we would require 10 out of 10. Some postings are insane. Actually, research will show a couple of things. Research will show that sometimes employers will completely overdo that list. Also, women, in particular, would be less likely to apply if they don’t meet over 80% of that list. Wipe that out of your mind. I think it’s really giving you a bit of a snapshot. The posting is not everything. The ad is not everything. I think if you meet some of the basic requirements, then there’s no harm in submitting for that. 

Mel Savage: I’ve talked to a lot of people they say they need some basic qualifications sometimes. Especially if you’re in a public company, there has to be a minimum thing. If you’re working as an educator, like you’re working at the University of Guelph, I’m imagining in some cases, people are going to have a degree. 

My friend was applying to a community college but she didn’t have her university degree and they wouldn’t hire her, even though she had 20 years in the business for what they were hiring. They still couldn’t hire her. You just weren’t allowed. Sometimes there are those minimums. But some people I know, for what I’m interviewing, there’s some minimums, but after that, it’s about fit. Are you teachable?

Sarah Wing Lima: Yeah, in some cases. Everything really depends on the job. Some jobs 100% require a minimum level of education. In some cases, a master’s; in some cases, a college diploma. It really varies depending on the position. It would be dependent on the job as to whether or not you can afford to hire somebody for attitude and train the skills. There’s a certain environment that that can work and other environments clearly that won’t. 

I think some of the more technical positions, for example, IT and Finance, won’t work as well. So you kind of need to meet those minimum credentials, but there are others like when I worked in the ski industry in my early career years, you can train people. You want the right fit for that organization, and it was really around service. It depends on the job and the employer, I’d say.

Mel Savage: When you see a resume is there anything that right away you think, I’m going to put this on a shortlist? I’m going to spend more time with this resume.

Sarah Wing Lima: That’s a tough one. Because, again, every time that I’m looking at a batch of resumes, it is per the consultation that I’ve done with the business. They’re telling me what that ideal candidate is, what they need, and so on. So it will vary. I consider it a very personal document. It is you. It is Mel Savage. It’s Sarah Lima. It’s me. There’s nothing when I look at a resume that would make me sort of disqualify right away based on the first look. I think there are things that will make me more quickly put it in the A-pile than others, which we can talk about. But I don’t think there’s an absolute dealbreaker. 

The things that kill me though are when applicants attach a cover letter, for example with a resume, and they’re clearly applying to another employer, but they’ve just missed changing the employer title or something like that. Those types of things are a little bit frustrating. But otherwise, I think I personally take time with every resume and there’s nothing that automatically rules it out. I probably spent a little more time than the average person, maybe.

Mel Savage: You’re nice. Don’t let me forget to come back to the pile thing, because I will do that. But for me, I guess maybe I’m a little bit more mean. Again, if it was overwhelming, like if they didn’t do the work to help me understand why they’re qualified for the job, that, to me sends a message that they’re not spending the time. They’re not the kind of person who will go the extra mile to actually think about their audience. That’s not their thought process. That sends a message to me, and I’m like, You didn’t think about it, I don’t have time to think about it. I don’t want someone whose hand I have to hold that much. Do your homework. 

On the other hand, a totally opposite side of the coin is if they’ve done the work, one of the things I always talk to people about is that 99% of resumes look like a giant piece of paper with all this type on it. Do the work, spend a few bucks or a few minutes. You can go to Canva or whatever, do a nice professional-looking layout that allows you to put your achievements, highlight them in the left navigation, and keep it really clean and easy to read. It’s like marketing. Help me find the relevant information. Don’t go over-the-top crazy graphic design, just make it really clean. 

When someone does that, even if they’re not qualified for the job, that makes me spend a bit more time with the resume. And think about what qualifications they have because this person took a second to help me get through this. The other thing is if someone just misaddressed. I can’t.

Sarah Wing Lima: It’s really tricky because it’s sort of like an interview. Not that he is fantastic at these things. Not that they can’t do the job, though. That’s the lens that I have when I look at a resume. I’m really trying to find out if it’s clear; if they’re meeting and their format is a little bit off, it’s more frustrating. It takes longer so your chances are less because a lot of man-hiring managers are not going to take the time. 

What I would suggest for those people who know they are not great at layout, or writing documents like that, is to get some advice. Hire a career coach, or a peer who is in the business who can give you a little bit of feedback. Rely on the expertise of other people for those types of things, because you need to showcase what you are good at. If it’s not resume writing, that’s okay. Because that might not have anything to do with this job that you’re applying for. So there are resources out there that people can leverage so that they can shine when they submit their application. 

Mel Savage: It’s so easy now, too. Canva has basically, I don’t know if you know Canva at all, but it’s this free tool. You go there, they have layouts for everything, including resumes, social media posts, and all this kind of stuff. Just go in there. Let’s say you do know how to write a resume, but you can’t make it look nice. Go in there. There’s no excuse not to spend the time to put something good together these days. I want to come back to what you said. There are certain things that make you put it in the A-pile. What are some of those things?

Sarah Wing Lima: Naturally, I’m looking at the requirements. So if there is a resume that is easy to read, I would say embrace white space. White space on a resume is a good thing. It’s an indication it’s going to be pretty simple to get through. But I really like summary statements. I was actually advising somebody recently about applying for a job. And I actually said, you need to do a bit of homework to understand who the audience is because in your field, which happened to be engineering, who looks at your resume first could be different than who might look at it in my environment, or in any other environments. 

Find out who the recruiter is because if you know that your resume is going to be read by a recruiter, they may not have the full A to Z understanding of the position. So you need to make it easy for them and make sure that the summary statement or that summary section of your resume matches and is relevant and truthful. I actually really appreciate when employer names are hyperlinked so that if I need to understand that business, and what they’re in, I like to be able to click easily. So I don’t have to go into another screen and search for this employer because sometimes that context is really important when you’re considering somebody. 

It’s really easy, like you said, to leave justified deliverables in terms of what they accomplished or what they contributed to their job. And again, a lot of people have contributed a lot of things, but you’ve got to isolate the most relevant because that’s what we’re going to look at. And that’s put you in the A versus B. Highlight only those things that are relevant. Don’t worry about the other stuff just to keep the resume a bit shorter or more concise. 

I think another pet peeve actually would be when people regurgitate their job description like these are the duties I was responsible for and that list. No, just do what you have contributed,  what your outputs were. I don’t need to know what you were responsible for because it doesn’t really give me any indication of why you might be on the A versus B list. Dates are important in terms of employment history. I would say those are the main things. 

Mel Savage: I love it and I agree 100%. With your work experience, and your job description, if you need to apply, I would say,  put one sentence of 10 words, and then your bullet points are all about your achievements. Pick your top three achievements. Don’t overwhelm it with 15 achievements. I’m sure you’ve achieved a lot of stuff. But put your top two or three that really connect with the qualifications that are required by the job posting itself. Connect with that. 

Sarah Wing Lima: I can’t stress enough. Again, it goes back to the point about preparation and doing a little bit of work. These are for the people who are really looking for that management or high-level job that they really want. I mean, you’ve got to spend the time researching the business and make sure that you’re meeting the needs of that particular business. For a classic example, I think these days in the private sector, the cover letter, for example, is becoming less and less important from what I’m seeing, and hearing. People just want the resume. 

In my environment, it is extremely important. I’m seeing resumes come through and unfortunately, that is regarded poorly among the hiring managers that I’ve supported and worked with. So the environment is very important. The way that you apply for a job will be different depending on the type of employer, the business, the audience, and the reader. If you’re going to go straight to that hiring manager, they may have completely different ways of looking at a resume and distinguishing between a B-list or an A-pile. 

So you can take the steps to understand who sees this and how it gets sorted. Find that information out and that will help inform how you customize, I would say, your application for that employer. I know that’s unrealistic to do for every single job that you apply for. But if you’re really passionate about a particular opportunity or business, I would take the time. 

Mel Savage: There are so many things that you just said that I love that I need to come back to so I’m trying to make notes as you’re talking. But as a very last point, I would say that it’s not that much work unless you’re applying to 20 jobs a week, in which case, if you’re doing that much, it’s obviously a key priority. But have your court and say, I’m always going to be applying to become a talent acquisition director. Then I’m going to have a core resume that speaks to the main skills within that field. You probably have a reservoir of fantastic achievements that you didn’t put in that core resume because you couldn’t fit it all in there, you had to be focused. 

How long is it going to take you? An hour to look at the job description, maybe change the prioritization of some achievements, add a few take a few out, boom, boom, boom. What I teach, too is to have a formed cover letter, that has a basic intro and outro, and some key achievements for that specific job, then add something like I’ve always admired the University of Guelph for all the great things they do. I don’t know what the University of Guelph does, except for the good veterinary medicine. Or my whole family went there, or whatever it is, add a few key things about the culture or something passionate about for the specific job or customize it. And make sure you change the name.

Sarah Wing Lima: Mel, that’s a really good point, because I don’t see this a lot in cover letters, and cover letters are the places where they’re valued. It would be interesting to survey a bunch of different people who read them and say, what is going to make a good cover letter? Be careful not to go too template with a cover as an applicant. There’s a lot again, that you can glean from the websites, from the job description, and from the departmental web pages to understand where are they. 

So in talent acquisition, if I could be coming in, if I was applying for a job, I could be coming into a really high-performing, highly digital, very advanced talent acquisition shop, or I could be applying to an area that’s really challenged where in this area, it doesn’t have the technology behind them. What I can offer to both of those employers would look a little bit different and I need to showcase what I can contribute based on where they are. 

And so again, if you can glean a little bit, even from your contacts, from people that you know, if you can glean a little bit about what the challenges are that that organization faces, or you get it from the websites, or you see where their focus areas are based on their strategic plans, you can customize your resume so that you can help them understand what you can offer. Not just like I’ve done this, and I’ve done this, and I’ve done this. You say, This is what I can do for you. And that changes the tone of the cover letter tremendously. 

It’s really confident, it’s really relevant, you’re speaking to the issues that I know we’re experiencing. And if you can help us with that, then that goes a long way. And that translates into the interview very much. You do your prep so that you understand where the challenges are, or you ask it in the interview, and you cater to those particular areas in terms of what your background has trained you to do so that you can actually deliver on those.

Mel Savage: Absolutely. I would like to segue into the interview because I know we’ve spent so much time on the resume, I feel like the interviewer probably can cut this off and add it to another podcast. I want to come back to why you think what you’ve heard about cover letters in the private sector because the way I see it is the only time not to send a cover letter is if someone explicitly says, Don’t send me a cover letter. 

Sarah Wing Lima: Yeah, I agree. 

Mel Savage: Because it’s an opportunity. Even if someone doesn’t read it, it’s an opportunity to introduce yourself effectively and demonstrate why you’re great at the job outside of someone reading your resume and customizing it for the job. Usually, if the employer has done a good job with their job description, everything you need is in there. They’ll have a bit of background on the company. They’ll talk about the key deliverables of the organization. If you need to make a few calls, make a few calls. It’s not going to be a wasted effort. Changing two or three sentences in your cover letter to really focus on why you’re passionate and right for this job goes a long, long way. 

Sarah Wing Lima: Agree. Yeah. Now we definitely default to including a cover letter, no question. I think especially as we’re going through a transition period. Default to that. Like you said, it is an opportunity. It’s also an opportunity to ask or answer questions that might be really obvious when someone looks at your resume. For example, if you are applying to a job that is a lower level than where you are, address that in your cover letter, or you are applying for that big jump in your career, explain a little bit about what your motivation is, and why you think you’re ready. 

There are definitely opportunities and it’s an opportunity to show who you are as a person because the resume is a technical document. It becomes a bit of a technical document. It’s hard to get your personality across. There’s a little bit of opportunity in that summary statement to sort of say what it is that makes you you because it’s important and it’s distinguishing. But your cover letter is that other place where you can really let your personality come out. Don’t be afraid.

Mel Savage: Yeah. And don’t make it too long. I always say, too like half a page back. Again, a long cover letter, I don’t have time. I’m the mean one, you’re the nice one. So we’ll keep that in mind. I think maybe we’re the two extremes, people. So keep that in mind. There are people in the middle. 

The other thing I was going to say, too, is the purpose. Forget that the purpose of the resume is, I always say it’s about introducing yourself in a way that demonstrates your value to an organization. But ultimately, the resume is not to get you the job, the resume is to get you the interview. Keep that in mind. You have lots of opportunities to show your value. It doesn’t have to all be in the resume.

Sarah Wing Lima: Agreed. 

Mel Savage: So keep it simple. 

Sarah Wing Lima: You have to take the time to tease out the most relevant pieces for the reader.

Mel Savage: Absolutely. So Sarah, one last thing that closing down on resumes, what is the main takeaway that you want to leave with everyone when they think about writing their resume?

Sarah Wing Lima: I do think that there are two things to be mindful of. This is your document. Make it yours, make it who you are, don’t deviate from that, go all corporate jargon stuff off the internet, and be truthful to who you are. This is an expression of who you are in a fairly businesslike document. Just be cognizant of where you’re applying and do the homework to make sure that you’re catering or customizing your resume to meet that audience where they are. That I would say, would be two important things to be thinking of.

Mel Savage: Excellent. Thank you so much. I love it. 

Sarah Wing Lima: You’re welcome, my pleasure.

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Mel Savage

I have 20+ years working as a leader in the corporate world. I know what you need to do. And I combine that with four years of training as a cognitive behavioral coach. I know how to help you naturally think like the leader you want to be.
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