How to Write a Resume for a Career in the Automotive Industry

A resume is more than just a list of jobs – it’s an advertisement for you as the best fit for a future position.

Whether applying for an entry-level, sales, or management position, it’s always best practice to have an up-to-date resume. The key sections of a resume should outline experience, skill set, and education. Below we’ll explain the best way to assemble a resume. 

Nail the Formatting

A clean basic format is key to a good resume. Use a professional font such as Times New Roman or Arial in 11 or 12 point. Shy away from font colors aside from black and gray. Remember, you want to be viewed as a professional. 

Include a Header

Resumes should include a header with your contact information so hiring managers can reach you to schedule interviews or request references. The header should include your full name, telephone number, email address, and home address. Make sure this information is accurate and updated! Hiring managers are busy; if they have a difficult time reaching you they’ll likely move on to other candidates.

Choose the Right Type of Resume

A chronological resume is best if you’ve held steady jobs over the past few years. Typically, hiring managers are very interested in past work experience, so give it the attention it deserves towards the top of the document. Prior positions should be listed in order, beginning with the most recent or current job. 

A functional resume is the best option for entry-level applicants or those with spotty work history. This kind of resume puts more focus on your skills and education versus your employment history. 

Writing a Chronological Resume

Job History
As stated above, when listing a job history, start with the most recent or current employer. In each instance, include the job title, company, and a description of your responsibilities. Highlight skills the new employer may find valuable. For example, if you worked for a dealership and are applying to work in a general garage, make it clear you have experience with many makes and models. The potential new employer will care more about what you did than where you did it, so list your job title before the company name.

Education 
Next, add an education section beginning with the most recent school attended. Include high school and any trade schools or colleges attended. If you have a degree, list the name of the degree, the school attended, and the date the degree was received. If you haven’t graduated yet, just list the years you’ve attended and indicate the date you expect to graduate. Consider including a GPA if it is a 3.5 or higher, otherwise leave it off. Also include any automotive classes taken along the way.

Special Skills
The next section should be reserved for special skills or qualifications. Certifications from ASE, auto manufacturers, or auto products companies like Valvoline should go here. If you are bilingual, be sure to list that in this section as well.

References 
Finally, include two to four professional references with up-to-date contact information (phone number and email). The best references are previous bosses, but teachers or professors can work too. In either case, it’s important that references have interacted with you in a professional or educational setting in which you performed well – well enough that the reference would feel comfortable speaking highly of you to a potential employer. On that note, it’s always a good idea to contact references ahead of time and ask if they mind being included. Auto service centers and dealerships really do contact these people, so choose carefully.

 

Writing a Functional Resume

Education 
A functional resume usually begins with your education. List schools attended, starting with the most recent. Include high school, college, and technical or trade schools. Make note of any automotive classes taken along the way, and include a GPA if it is 3.5 or higher.

Special Skills
The next section should be reserved for special skills or qualifications. Certifications from ASE, auto manufacturers, or auto products companies like Valvoline should go here. If you are bilingual, be sure to list that in this section as well.

Awards and Achievements
List any special recognitions you have received; this could include the Dean’s List, Employee of the Month, or volunteer awards. Even awards from hobbies or extra-curricular activities could be appropriate as the goal is to demonstrate your work-ethic and drive to succeed.

Employment 
Next, add employment history. If you’ve chosen to write a functional resume, this probably isn’t the strongest part of your background, which is why it’s near the end. List jobs by type, like “Customer Service Experience,” “Automotive Experience,” and/or “Supervisory Experience.” Include the name of the company, job title, and responsibilities in each description. If you have major accomplishments or helped to improve a certain metric, list that as well.

Volunteer Experience
For applicants without a ton of past work experience, a volunteer section is a good alternative to show that you have other types of experience. Include the name of the organization, timeframe, and your contributions.

References 
Finally, include two to four professional references with up-to-date contact information (phone number and email). The best references are previous bosses, but teachers or professors can work too. In either case, it’s important that references have interacted with you in a professional or educational setting in which you performed well – well enough that the reference would feel comfortable speaking highly of you to a potential employer. On that note, it’s always a good idea to contact references ahead of time and ask if they mind being included. Auto service centers and dealerships really do contact these people, so choose carefully.

When applying for positions in the automotive industry, don’t be caught off guard without a properly prepared recent resume. Many hiring managers say that being prepared and professional can mean as much or more than past work experience or advanced education. Good luck!

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