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Auto Industry New HiresAre you thinking about a career as an auto mechanic or technician? If so, landing your first job can be a challenge. It’s usually not enough to just walk into a garage or repair shop and tell the manager you’re ready to go to work. As in any competitive industry, you need to show employers you’re not only capable of doing the job, but you’re the kind of person they can count on for the long-term.

So, assuming you have found an employer with an open position to fill, here are five qualities auto industry employers tend to look for in new hires.

1) Education. Having at minimum a high school diploma not only shows you have basic knowledge in English, math and science, but also that you have the discipline and perseverance necessary to hold down a full-time job. In addition, a relevant college degree or special technical training demonstrates a serious commitment to career success as well as the skills needed to do the job at hand.

2) Experience. All the book-learning in the world is still no substitute for real-world experience. If you’re going for your first job, no one expects you to have an extensive resume. However, having worked summers in a garage or repair shop, having been in a car club, or even getting hands-on training from a good career training school can show potential employers you know how to get your hands dirty.

3) Appearance. It’s said you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Although a garage or repair shop is hardly a coat-and-tie environment, you still want to show up for your interview in a clean, pressed shirt with clean pants, clean hands and combed hair. If you have tattoos, you probably want to keep them covered — for now.

4) Attitude. This is perhaps the most difficult thing to control. You want to appear eager, but not desperate. You want to be confident, but not cocky. You want to show humor, but not be a wise-ass. It’s always good form to be polite, say things like “Sir” and “Ma’am,” and basically exhibit classic professionalism. Most important of all, go in eager to show the employers what you can do for them instead of looking for what they can do for you.

5) References. To many employers, what other people say about you carries far more weight than anything you can say about yourself. For this reason, it’s always good to carry letters of reference from people that employers are likely to trust, such as any past employers (from summer or part-time jobs), teachers, etc. You don’t want to immediately shove these in an interviewer’s face, but they’re nice to whip out should the subject be raised.

Getting that first job is never easy, but having these five essential elements in place will likely make your job hunt significantly less painful.

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