Looking for a New Job? Your Resume is the First Step!

I recently joined the ranks of the unemployed after my departure from a 13-year term with a company I called home. Suddenly, I was out in the open, with no idea where to look, and no idea where my next check might come from.

The first thing I needed to do was polish a resume that hadn’t been touched for over a decade. As a matter of fact, considering that I spent almost my entire career in the same department, I’m not sure my resume was ever built for anything other than simply having one. It wasn’t there to attract recruiters, it wasn’t there to prove the feasibility of plugging me into somebody else’s department. It was just a piece of paper with my name and a few accolades on it.

Fast forward to two weeks into my unemployment and I’m starting to sweat. The money stops coming in when you don’t have a job, but the bills certainly don’t. I needed to find a way to attract some visitors to my social networking sites and a way to ensure that when they saw my resume they didn’t think twice before picking up the phone and calling me in for an interview.

I started on LinkedIn, and constructed the best view of myself I could manage. It helped as LinkedIn has great networking features and allowed me to connect to various recruiters. Did I land a job from LinkedIn? Nope.

I moved on to Indeed and crafted a similar resume with their platform. I could apply instantly to plenty of jobs and research what I might expect as a salary from most of them. Did I land a job from Indeed? Nope.

Nothing was working because I was still throwing a simple sheet of simple accolades into the inbox of women and men that had already seen my type of resume hundreds of times. I needed a way to stand out NOW.

Take a look below at some of the resume services myself and many others have enlisted to polish their appearance and land the job they actually want.

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You Need a Cover Letter

First things first, a resume needs a cover letter. Most employers will ask for them in their job listings and some won’t even look at your resume if a cover letter is not included right off the bat. Amazing Cover Letters has that handled for you.  Follow their tips in the free video and go from there. As they put it “Your next cover letter will perfectly present the best reasons why a hiring manager should call YOU for the job interview.” Give them a try by clicking here and get your cover letter primed for presentation.

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Time to Craft the Resume Itself

Okay, so your cover letter is looking good already, it’s time for the meat and potatoes of it all, the resume itself!

There are a couple options here: you can have someone critique and build your resume for you or you can train yourself to bring the best out of your resume on your own.

The Amazing Resume Creator is a neat trick and a great service to put the POP in your resume and make it stand out to hiring managers in your field. Take a look at their video, take their free tips, and go from there.

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Why Not Do It Yourself?

If you’re into the DIY of it all, and you know that you can communicate your greatest assets to the employer of your dreams, then brush up on some of the best techniques by enrolling in a course or program suited to make you a resume-writing professional. Also, keep in mind that you can use these tips and tricks to write resumes for your friends, your family, or even your own clients; you’ve got room for a bit of a side-hustle, right?

Blue Sky Resume Writing is an all-in-one course to make you an expert in the art of writing resumes. Click here to check it out and give it a whirl. You’ll be landing your new dream job in no time if you follow their guidance and give it your all.

Do you already have a great resume but you know it could be even better? There’s a service for you, too!

You may have heard of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, for websites and blogs, but did you know that there’s a service that optimizes search terms for your resume as well? Resume Scanner does just that and matches your resume to the keywords that hiring managers in your field are looking for. Click here and load up your resume to Resume Scanner and see how you can better optimize your resume to show up in the search results of your desired employers.

I hope these tools come together to land you a job that you can enjoy day-in and day-out, and most of all I hope they get you out of the unemployment line fast! That’s not a queue that anybody wants to stay in for very long.

Thanks for stopping by!

-Christopher Smith

 

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Motivate Your Money Makers!

So you’ve got the staff in place, you’ve got your policies laid out, and everybody is on board and ready to roll. Are you done? Do you sit back and watch and count your money? I don’t think so. Not yet, at least.

I’ve heard every side of the argument regarding proper motivation for production staff. Some won’t even dream of paying extra spiffs or bonuses to their staff with excuses like “well, it’s their job anyways,” or “I don’t want people cheating the system to make more money on spiffs.” Here’s a thought: If your people are finding ways to cheat the system or cheat your clients for their extra $5.00-$10.00 spiffs, then you’re not doing your job.

Spiffs aren’t the only way to motivate, however. A solid bonus program is like dangling a brick of gold in front of the hungriest of your production staff. In my time in management we played with plenty of ways of motivating the technicians. The best ever was a simple technician bonus program. It’s all about productivity and squeezing every bit of work into the few hours your department is running, so reward those that would beat record and increase their efficiency by developing such a program.

It can be as simple as this: Tech A is tasked with producing 200 sold hours within a month. If Tech A beats the 200 hour mark, add $1.00 to every sold hour they flagged, retroactively, for the month. Increase this in tiers: 225 hours is an additional $1.25, 250 hours is an additional $2.50, and so on. Your techs will have a reason to stay in their bay, a reason to perform thorough inspections, and a nice bonus to brag about in the following month. This will result in happier technicians, which means less turnover, and more hours flagged for the hours you turn the lights on. You can’t lose.

As far as consultants go, bonuses need to tackle more than just making money, but also making your clients happy. If you’re in the dealership world, then you know that client satisfaction is paramount. A service consultant can sell the paint off of the walls, but if his/her clients are unhappy it won’t even matter. Set up a tiered percentage bonus plan to reflect their efforts regarding client satisfaction and watch your customers roll of your drive with a smile on their face.

More ideas for motivating your production staff? Leave them in the comments below and join the discussion.

-Christopher Smith

Proper Staffing is a MUST

Regardless of the industry, staffing is a must. Between juggling expenses and increasing revenue it’s sometimes tough to justify a higher debit from personnel expenses, but you have to consider the pros and cons before limiting your departments.

Throughout my career on the front-end of the automotive biz, I found myself in all sorts of different staffing situations. At times it felt like we had far too many people and there wasn’t enough work to go around. Other times we were stretched so thin we couldn’t breathe and it was all due to a management team that didn’t want to shell out the hourly expense of additional support staff.

There’s no perfect formula for deciding how many people should be clocked in and working on any given day, but let me try to make it easier for you: if your production staff, like service consultants and technicians, are finding themselves away from where they make you money the most (the front desk and in the work bays) then you’re in need of more support staff.

It’s no big mystery that if a technician is walking back and forth to the parts department to put in recommendations, acquire pricing, grab up-sold parts for vehicles, etc., the he or she is not making you or your company any money. If your consultant is pulling up vehicles, checking in cars on the drive, filling up amenities in the waiting room, etc., then yeah, you guessed it, they’re not making themselves any money or helping out your bottom line.

The simple expense of an extra porter, parts runner, or driver, pays for itself in no time when your department’s production staff are able to stay in their work station and produce.

In addition to staffing, there is software and other tools out there to help minimize the time that production staff and others spend doing tasks unrelated to producing. If you’re in the car business you’ve likely already been introduced to one or ore forms of these tools by vendors stepping into your office. AutoPoint, XTime, CDK, and others have solutions for automotive fixed operations that can turn your department into a well-oiled machine. Just be prepared to pay accordingly and make sure your entire team buys into the new processes.

-Christopher Smith

Adding the WOW Factor to Your Front End

When it comes to WOW-ing your clients right off the bat, it really comes down to setting up your front end the right way. We can get into all sorts of specific ways of handling your guests during your visit, whether in the automotive industry or any other client-facing roles, but this post is just for the right set-up in your waiting area and reception area.

Amenities are critical. Every survey I’ve ever seen deployed by an auto manufacturer asks the clients how they felt regarding the amenities available to them during their visit to a service department. Most dealers and independent shops think it’s enough to have coffee and water and a place to sit; that’s not even close. Today’s clients are professionals on-the-go and require much more than a comfortable seat and a warm cup of coffee.

Instead of a basic kettle of coffee and some cream and sugar on the side, look into a more advanced coffee system. There are companies that will provide a machine that makes lattes, cappuccino, hot chocolate, and of course coffee. They’ll rent you the machine and bring the goods and keep them stocked. The companies are mostly local so do a Google search for “coffee delivery near me” and check them out. My clients were always impressed when they could tailor their drink to their tastes while they waited in the waiting room.

I’ve heard of and seen popcorn machines in quite a few waiting rooms in my day. I’ll need to defer to the comments section on this one. I think this is an awful idea. Popcorn stinks, popcorn is messy, and there’s a tremendous amount of upkeep to keep it fresh and popping for your guests. If you’re dead-set on providing a freshly made snack for your guests, why not pick up a small counter-sized oven and bake them some fresh cookies. Of course, you’ll need to keep it out of their hands to avoid any accidents, but a member of your support staff could keep it baking, much like a popcorn machine but with a way better aroma and the kind of feeling that puts a client at ease, rather than their olfactory senses keeping them in anticipation of the upcoming previews.

Beverages and snacks don’t stop there. Most luxury manufacturers will ask your clients if “premium beverages” were available during their visit. Even a fancy coffee machine doesn’t make the cut here. Invest the small amount of money it takes to stock a large refrigerator with sodas, juices, high-end waters, etc. The cost is low, so long as you keep your employees from ransacking it while you’re away, and the effect is tremendous. Clients will thank you for not having to shell out another $1.50 on a Coke from the vending machine before handing you their credit card for the repair bill.

In addition, always keep the snack baskets full and don’t skimp on the contents. Nobody is going to be impressed with value-sized packets of fruit snacks; after all, this isn’t kindergarten. Full bags of chips and cookies, large packs of crackers, various novelty snacks like biscotti, etc., are all great ideas. Just make sure you’ve got somebody in charge of keeping up. Clients walking up to an empty basket are likely to assume the business is too cheap to spend money on frills like this.

Have a business center for clients to work in? Advertise it! Don’t have one yet? Get one going right away! As we eluded to in the beginning of this article, our clients are professionals and they need a place to keep in contact with their office and get work done while you’re hammering away on their vehicles. If you have WiFi, make sure the network name and password are clearly displayed in all areas of your waiting area and reception area. If you don’t have WiFi, well, welcome to 2018. Where have you been? Get it setup, stat, and make sure your clients know you’ve invested in it to better serve them.

It would be nice to say that this is all you need to WOW your clients while they give you their time and their money, but it’s not. At this point, the things I’ve mentioned so far are expected in most dealerships and a majority of the independents. The last thing I recommend to bring it all together is “presence.” Whether it’s you or your employees, you need to ensure a constant presence in and around the waiting areas. Somebody should be regularly checking on your clients, offering them water, coffee, a snack, and proactively checking in on them and offering status updates on their vehicle. This might be enough to tip the scales in your favor and have your clients leaving with the feeling that you really care about how they spent their time in your facility. 

Any other ideas for a sound waiting room approach? Leave them in the comments below and join the discussion!

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck out there!

-Christopher Smith