Mechanics and automobile technicians perform a variety of jobs and tasks. Their primary objectives are to inspect, maintain and repair motor vehicles. Auto techs and mechanics utilize many different tools in their trade and must remain up to date on emerging technologies.
Employment Prospects for Automotive Mechanics
Employment prospects for general mechanics and automotive technicians remain plentiful, however many workers in this industry are finding it beneficial to specialize in a particular automobile manufacturer, especially the higher end makes such as Jaguar and Mercedes.
In addition, automotive mechanics and auto techs may prefer to specialize in a particular area of automobile repair or maintenance, such as air conditioning, brakes, tune-ups, transmissions, or tires.
Automobile technicians and mechanics can expect to find employment in a variety of locations such as:
- Repair shops
- Automobile dealerships
- Transportation companies
- Automobile manufacturing factories
Job Search for Automotive Mechanics
While these purchases can be expensive, it can be looked upon as an investment in a steady career and the purchases are also tax deductible.
Employers who require the candidate to have their own tools, usually indicate this in the job posting. Larger and very expensive tools are typically provided by the employer.
Most automotive mechanics are required to possess at least some of their own tools.
Job openings in this field can be found in a variety of ways. Open jobs are often posted in newspapers and are also frequently listed with employment agencies. Networking and word of mouth are also a great way to find out about employment prospects.
Cover letters for Automotive Mechanics
Because the functional resume, which does not focus on work experience, is best used for automotive repair jobs; job candidates with a steady employment record may find it beneficial to use the cover letter to highlight work experience.
Resumes for Automotive Mechanics
Since jobs in the automotive industry focus so heavily on skills, a functional resume is usually best utilized when looking for work. While the functional resume does not allow the job candidate to highlight the length of work experience, it is a fantastic tool for spotlighting strengths and skills attainment.
Individuals who prefer the traditional look and feel of a chronological resume, but who want to access the benefits of a functional resume, may find that a combination resume fits the bill.
Training & Qualifications for Automotive Mechanics
While on the job training is a possibility for those interested in entering this occupation, many employers prefer a candidate to attend formal automotive training vocational schools, due to the increasing technology involved in automotive diagnostics.
Training programs range anywhere from 6 months to over 5 years in length. Students also have the options at many vocational schools and colleges to become certified in various forms of automobile repair and technology.
High School Classes
As a benefit to students who prefer not to pursue post-secondary school, most high schools also offer some form of auto shop classes. While usually not as in-depth as vo-tech and college courses, these high school classes can offer students a much needed advantage as they enter the workforce.
Students entering automotive curriculums will notice that much the training and hands-on experience they receive will focus heavily on the utilization of computerized technologies. With the inclusion of computer chips in most new makes and models, this has become a must for all mechanics and auto technicians looking to remain current in the industry.
Professional association, membership and certification are available for interested candidates. The National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation works to accredit schools who can offer Automotive Service Excellence certification to students. Even high schools courses that meet rigorous standards can apply for and receive this prestigious certification.
Candidates interested in ASE certification can achieve it in eight different areas:
- Engine repair
- Electrical systems
- Suspension and steering
- Brake systems
- Heating and air conditioning
- Automatic transmission / transaxle
- Engine performance
Those mechanics who achieve certification in all eight areas are eligible for certification as a master automotive mechanic. In order to maintain certification, the exams must be taken once every five years.
Workers in the automotive industry who wish to perfect their craft will find opportunities to do so.
Most mechanics and auto techs will start to work supervised by a senior mechanic and will work under their direction for anywhere from two to five years.