Tips for candidates: resumes & CVs

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We’re taught a lot of things throughout our lifetime, but one valuable lesson that most of us are never taught is how to write a resume or CV. It’s important to get your resume right as it is a crucial element of the recruitment process used as an initial screening tool to determine if you’ll be offered an interview.

While it’s nice to think that an employer or recruiter will take their time to carefully peruse over your resume, the reality is that most recruiters will only grant each resume they review a few precious seconds of their attention before deciding if you might be a good fit.
 
You may think resume writing is a difficult task, but it’s not as hard as you might think. If a particular dealership role has caught your eye but you feel you need some guidance to get your resume writing skills up to scratch, here are our top resume writing tips that are sure to make you stand out from the crowd.
Tips for candidates: resumes & CVs

What to include in your resume

The rule of thumb with resume writing is to keep it simple and uncomplicated. Having said that, there is still a range of important information you need to include.
 

Here are a few tips on what to include in your resume:

  • Contact information: You need to provide basic contact details including your name, address, phone number, and email address. There’s not a lot that can go wrong here, just make sure you don’t use an email address that makes you seem unprofessional. A simple email address with your first and last name is ideal.
  • Personal statement: Including a personal statement in your resume provides context about who you are and humanises your application. Limit your personal statement to about two sentences including a very brief overview of who you are, where you are in your career, and where you want to take your career.
  • Qualifications: The important thing when listing your qualifications is not to leave people guessing. If you have a qualification that’s required for a role, make sure you list it. List any degrees, diplomas, or tertiary certificates you have first, with any other courses or professional development you’ve completed to follow. Be selective about what you include—if you list every course you’ve ever completed, your resume will be very long, and it will detract from your most important qualifications.
  • Work history: Hiring managers and recruiters want to know what you’re doing now, then work backwards from there. For this reason, you should always list your employment history in reverse chronological order, presenting your most recent experience first.
  • Contract work: If you’ve worked in contract roles, make sure you specify that in your resume. If you don’t, a history of multiple short-term stints with different employers could make employers think you lack commitment.
  • Relevant experience: List any specific brands or franchises you’ve worked for and any dealer management systems (DMS) you’ve used. This makes your application specific to the dealership industry, while also showing employers what training or guidance you might need to transition into the role.
  • Visa status/work rights: Unless you’re an Australian citizen or permanent resident, it’s important to make it clear what your current visa status is so employers know whether you’re work-ready or if you still need to gain work rights.
  • Length: While there are a range of ideas about what the ideal resume length is, in our experience we’ve found 2-3 pages to be ideal. You don’t want it to be so short that you lose valuable information, but it needs to include everything the recruiter or hiring manager wants to see, such as a personal statement, where you’ve worked, how long you worked there for (including specific dates), your role/s, your general duties and responsibilities (4 or 5 dot points), and any franchises or brands you’ve worked for.
  • Spelling and grammar: Typos and grammatical errors make your resume look sloppy. Always double and triple-check your resume before submitting your application.
  • Resume format and design: Make sure you don’t overcomplicate the design of your resume. Stick to a black and white colour scheme, use simple headings, and avoid distracting designs or logos

How to handle gaps in your work history

It’s common for applicants to have gaps in their employment history. Whether you took time off from your career to have children, were made redundant at a time when it was difficult to find a new role, or you took time off to care for a sick or elderly relative, employment gaps can occur for a range of reasons.
 

Most employers will be understanding of any gaps in your work history provided you explain them. While unexplained gaps may raise some questions, listing the time period and a short description of what you were doing will eliminate any guesswork and prevent your application from being dismissed prematurely.

Cover letters: Should you include one?

A cover letter can be a great addition to your application, provided it’s done correctly.
 
Cover letters provide an opportunity to sell yourself for the specific role while personalising your application. It should expand on the personal statement you include in your resume while telling the employer why you’re a great fit for the role.
 
A good cover letter might highlight key brands you’ve worked with which are similar to what the dealership sells, the most relevant experience you have, any occasions where you’ve assumed additional responsibilities beyond your role, and why you’d be a good fit for the dealership.
 
The job ad should specify if you need to provide a cover letter; but if it’s not clearly stated, ask yourself if providing one will add value to your application.
 
If you structure your cover letter well and include all the right information, it will add value. However, if you’re going to use a generic ‘cut and paste’ cover letter that you’ve used for other applications, don’t bother. It merely detracts from your application by making the employer think you’re simply applying for every role you might be a chance for.
 

Generally, if you keep it short, simple, and relevant to the role, a cover letter will be a worthwhile addition.

Teamrecruit is Australia’s most established recruitment agency specialising in truck, earthmoving and agricultural machinery dealerships in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. Find out more about Teamrecruit and how we support employers and candidates in the dealership industry.

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