Your resume is a professional representation of yourself, and the first impression an employer will have of you before you ever walk in the door. It is not something that you can just throw together hastily and expect to get a phone call back for an interview. Most people struggle with putting their accomplishments on paper, so don’t get discouraged when you learn that this isn’t the easiest thing to do. It will take some time and thought to assemble, and most definitely a revision or two, but the reward is landing that the job you want. Here are some best practices that will help your resume stand out in the stack:
This means spelling, grammar and font. A good rule of thumb is to let someone else read your resume before submitting to a potential employer. Missing a typo can easily cost you an interview, because it demonstrates that you don’t have attention to detail. Imagine if you accidentally listed your phone number wrong? How would the employer be able to contact you about an interview? Consider using Arial Font size 12.
• Lacking work experience?
If you are just getting started, focus on your educational experiences. If you have obtained specific credentials or interned/apprenticed under a master technician, list it. Bullet point your academic achievements. If your GPA is higher than a 3.0, list it. If you have relevant personal experience, that might be acceptable to list as well: maybe you helped your friend rebuild an engine in their garage or routinely diagnose issues on your family vehicles.
Write down your best traits that make you stand out versus the other guys and compose a 2-3 sentence introduction about yourself at the top of the resume, before you list your experience below. Oftentimes, a hiring officer glances just at the top 1/3 of the resume before making a decision to pass or consider.
• Length of resume
Say what you need to say in just one page, without crowding paragraphs and sentences, which can make it hard to read. Research indicates that the max number of pages an employer will read is two.
• Layout and Paper Type
If you are personally dropping off a resume at an employer or handing it to a recruiter at a career fair, spend the extra dollar at an office supply store and purchase the better-quality paper. Copier paper is thinner and not as professional. How about the ink? If you are running low on toner, make sure that the ink looks crisp from top to bottom of the page. One more thing: don’t forget about margins. If you are electronically submitting a resume, make sure that the margin width is 1-inch wide to avoid the edges of your resume being cut off when printed. Placing your resume in a large envelope will ensure that the paper stays wrinkle and stain-free when it arrives.
• Honesty is the best policy
Telling a little fib about responsibilities at a previous employer or lying about a certain skill set that you don’t have are big no-nos. Not only could you get yourself in a job that you cannot do, but it may hurt you later when you apply for something else.
• Random jobs unrelated to your career trajectory
We’ve all held temporary jobs unrelated to our current career goals. You may have worked at a big box store or waited on tables to save money to go to school. List them on the resume to show that you’re a consistent worker but don’t focus on the description. Only highlight skill sets that complement the job you are applying for. For instance, if you worked in retail, talk about customer service skills that would be valuable in a shop setting.
These resume tips should put you on the path to earning the right job. To find available careers in the automotive industry, be sure to visit autocarecareers.org.
Article sponsored by Auto Care Careers.