Be prepared “When Opportunity knocks”

When you’ve been in the Auto Industry for what seems like most of your life, and you haven’t updated your resume in quite a while or ever, it can be hard to know where to start.

What experiences and accomplishments should you include?

More importantly might be what you should exclude.

What new resume rules and trends should you be following?

Should I include an Interview/Introduction video and what should that include?

And seriously, one page or two?

Well, search no more:

We’ve compiled the best resume advice into one place.

Read on for tips and tricks that’ll help you craft a winning resume—and help you land a great new job.

Telling Your Story

1. Think of your resume not as a comprehensive list of your career history, but as a marketing document selling you as the perfect person for the job. For each resume you send out, you’ll want to highlight only the accomplishments and skills that are most relevant to the job at hand (even if that means you don’t include all of your experience).

2. Keep a resume master list on your computer where you keep any information you’ve ever included on a resume: old positions, bullet points tailored for different applications, special projects that only sometimes make sense to include. Then, when you’re crafting each resume, it’s just a matter of cutting and pasting relevant information.

3. Make sure your best experiences and accomplishments are visible on the top third of your resume. This top section is what the hiring manager is going to see first—and what will serve as a hook for someone to keep on reading. Remember the national statistic for the time a hiring manager will spend looking at resumes is just 6 seconds.

4. Don’t include an objective statement at the top of your resume. It’s a little bit dated (and boring), it takes up valuable space, and—as long as you’re tailoring the rest of your resume and cover letter to fit the position—it’s unnecessary.

5. There are tons of different types of resumes, but the good old reverse chronological (where your most recent experience is listed first) is still your best bet. While you can use skills-based resumes in specific situations, some hiring managers will wonder what you’re hiding.

6. Think long and hard before using a two-page resume. If you have enough relevant experience, training, and credentials pertaining to the position to showcase on more than one page of your resume, then go for it. But if you can tell the same story in less space? Do.

Formatting

7. Use a basic but modern font, like Helvetica, Arial, or Century Gothic. And make your resume easy on hiring managers’ eyes by using a font size between 10 and 12.

8. You can use a different font or typeface for your name, your resume headers, and the companies for which you’ve worked, but keep it simple and keep it consistent.

9. You don’t need to include your address on your resume anymore (really!), but do include social media links, especially your LinkedIn profile and Twitter handle. (Implicit in this is that you keep said social media profiles suitable for prospective employers.)

10. Don’t include photos or other distracting visuals. A recent study showed that “such visual elements reduced recruiters’ analytical capability and hampered decision-making” and kept them from “locating the most relevant information, like skills and experience.”

11. Using creative resumes—like infographics, videos, or presentations—can be a great way to stand out from the crowd. But don’t do this unless you’re willing to put in the time, creativity, and design work to make it awesome. A great traditional resume will always be better than a mediocre “creative” one.

Work Experience

12. As a rule, you should only show the most recent 10-15 years of your career history and only include the experience relevant to the positions to which you are applying. For people in the car business this can be a lesson in editing. We want to express all of our skills but often times this approach is just way to much info. Today young people coming in to the workforce don’t realistically see themselves working for the retirement gold watch at the same company for 30 years.  It’s more common than ever for employees to move between companies every few years. Heck car people pioneered this way of life. Unfortunately it may not all fit nicely on a one page resume and nor should it.

Its easy to get carried away describing your contribution to every dealership/company you ever worked for but keep it brief and on point.

13. No matter how long you’ve been at a job, or how much you’ve accomplished there, you shouldn’t have more than 6-7 bullets in a given section. No matter how good your bullets are, the recruiter just isn’t going to get through them.

14. Remember that you should allocate real estate on your resume according to importance. So, if there’s a choice between including one more position you’ve held or going into more detail about your current role, always choose the latter (unless a previous job was more relevant to the one for which you’re applying). Accentuate the positives.

15. Look at each bullet point and make sure it’s understandable to the average person. Don’t use car business slang, the person reading it may not understand what you are saying.

Remember that the first person who sees your resume might be a recruiter, an assistant, or even a high-level executive—and you want to be sure that it is readable, relevant, and interesting to all of them. Numbers facts and your contribution.

Many times the person doing the hiring may know relatively little about, and have no experience in the position you are applying to. This is the case much more often that most people think.

Your mission is to help them see the vision as to why you are the person best able to solve the employers problem.

16. Use as many facts, figures, and numbers as you can in your bullet points.

How many people were impacted or lives improved by your work?

By what percentage did you exceed your goals and what was the lasting impact?

By quantifying your accomplishments, you really allow the hiring manager to picture the level of work or responsibility you needed to achieve this accomplishment. Paint the picture!

17. Then, take each statement one step further and add in what the benefit was to your boss, colleagues or company. By doing this, you clearly communicate not only what you’re capable of, but also the direct benefit the employer will receive by hiring you.

18. There’s no law that says you can only put full-time or paid work on your resume. So, if you’ve participated in a major volunteer role, worked part-time, freelanced, or blogged? Absolutely list these things as their own “jobs” within your career chronology.

19. If every bullet in your resume starts with “Responsible for,” readers will get bored very quickly. Use our handy list of better verbs to mix it up!

20. People hire performers, so no matter what, you want to present yourself as a high performer.

You can easily do this by using phrases like, “Invited to…” or “Recognized for…” or “Promoted to…” or “Known for… .”

They also want to hire or work with people they like.

21. Use keywords in your resume:

Scan the job description, see what words are used most often, and make sure you’ve included them in your bullet points.

Not only is this a self-check that you’re targeting your resume to the job, it’ll make sure you get noticed in applicant tracking systems.

22. Stuck on which words to include?

Dump the job description into a tool like Wordle, which will analyze and spit out the most-used keywords.

23. What words shouldn’t you include?

Detail-oriented, experienced, and people person—these vague terms are chronically overused, and we bet there’s a better way to describe how awesome you are.

Education

24. Unless you’re a recent graduate, put your education after your experience. This is also a great place  to include military service.

Chances are, your last 1-2 jobs are more important and relevant to you getting the job than where you went to college.

25. Usually, you should organize your educational background by listing the most recent or advanced degree first, working in reverse chronological order.

But if older coursework is more specific to the job, list that first to grab the reviewer’s attention. Accentuate the positive.

26. Don’t list your graduation dates. The reviewer cares more about whether or not you have the degree than when you earned it.

27. If you graduated from college with high honors or achieved something exemplary in the military (like you made it through Navy Seal or the US Army Rangers course or recieved a distinctive honor) , absolutely make note of it. While you don’t need to list your GPA, don’t be afraid to showcase that summa cum laude status or the fact that you were in the honors course at your university.

28. If you feel your education section is a little light, load it with continuing education and professional coursework.

Skills, Awards, and Interests

29. Be sure to add a section that lists out all the relevant skills you have for a position, including tech skills like how to manage social media, lead generation, finance school or a dealer academy and any other industry-related certifications.

30. If you have lots of skills related to a position—say, foreign language, industry software, and leadership skills—try breaking out one of those sections and listing it on its own.

Below your “Skills” section, add another section titled “Language Skills” or “Industry Software Skills,” and detail your experience there.

31. Feel free to include an “Interests” section on your resume, but only add those that are relevant to the job.

Are you a guitar player with your eye on a music company? Definitely include it.

But including your scrapbooking hobby for a Service Advisor job at a Auto Dealership? Don’t even think about it.

32. Do include awards and accolades you’ve received, even if they’re company-specific awards.

Just state what you earned them for, e.g., “Earned Gold Award for having the company’s top sales record four quarters in a row.”

Gaps and Other Sticky Resume Situations

33. If you stayed at a job for only a matter of months, consider eliminating it from your resume.

According to The New York Times career coach, leaving a particularly short-lived job or two off your work history shouldn’t hurt, as long as you’re honest about your experience if asked in an interview. If asked though now is not the time to speak disparagingly about a previous employer.

34. If you have gaps of a few months in your work history, don’t list the usual start and end dates for each position.

Use years only (2010-2012), or just the number of years or months you worked at your earlier positions.

35. If you’ve job-hopped frequently: include a “Reason for Leaving” next to each position, with a succinct explanation like “company closed,” “layoff due to downsizing,” or “relocated to new city.”

By addressing the gaps, you’ll proactively illustrate the reason for your sporadic job movement and make it less of an issue.

36. Re-entering the workforce after a long hiatus?

Top your resume with an “Executive Summary” section at the top, outlining your best skills and accomplishments.

Then, get into your career chronology.

37. If you took time out of the workforce to raise kids, don’t list your parenting experience on your resume, à la “adeptly managed the growing pile of laundry” ,”Adeptly handled all household finances” (we’ve seen it before).

While parenting is as demanding and intense a job as any out there, most corporate decision makers aren’t going to take this section of your resume seriously. Leave it at home

Finishing Touches

38. Ditch the phrase “References available upon request.”

If a company wants to hire you, it will ask you for references—and it will assume that you have them.

There’s no need to address the obvious (and doing so might even make you look a little presumptuous!).

39. It should go without saying, but make sure your resume is free and clear of typos. But don’t rely on spell check and grammar check alone—ask family or friends to take a look at it for you (or get some tips on how to edit your own work).

40. If emailing your resume, make sure to always send a PDF rather than a .doc. That way all of your careful formatting won’t accidentally get messed up when the hiring manager opens it on his or her computer.

41. If you’re applying through an applicant tracking system, stick to a .doc and standard resume formatting in a normal font like Arial, Courier, or Times New Roman—the ATS can’t read fancy fonts and will reject your resume out of confusion. Many company hiring managers and recruiters use tools in their “Applicant Tracking System” that helps them sift through resumes in attempt to shorten the list of qualified candidates. Unfortunately many people are not even aware that this software exists and are rejected by the computer before they even get started.

42. Ready to save your resume and send it off?

Save it as “Jane Smith Resume” instead of “Resume.” It’s one less step the hiring manager has to take.

Imagine receiving 50 resumes a day with the file name heading of “Resume”. Take an additional second to add your first and last name to the file name.

43. Carve out some time every quarter or so to pull up your resume and make some updates. Or if you haven’t already nows a great time to prepare a resume.

Have you taken on new responsibilities?

Learned new skills?

Add them in.

Opportunity usually shows up when you least expect it. And amazing opportunities don’t come around very often. Be the person that is prepared to capitalize on these times.

When your resume is updated on a regular basis, you’re not only ready to pounce when opportunity presents itself, you’ll also be confident that the document is in tip-top shape.

Have even more resume tips? Share them in the comments section!

About The Author

Founder / CEO
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U.S Army Veteran Enjoyed working more than half of my life on acheiving Automotive Industry Excellence. Now Founder and CEO of AutomotoSocial.com an Automotive industry Jobs Social Networking Marketplace.

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