With HVACR work being in such high demand, it’s important to stand out from the crowd when applying for a job. A great way to do that is with a quality resume and cover letter. Since these two documents are often the first things that a potential employer sees about you, catching their attention is critical. With that in mind, here are some tips to build the best resume possible.
What to include
When building a resume, put your strongest traits first, with the areas you’re still working on lower on the page. Most employers want experienced technicians, but trainings and certifications are important, too. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to work without certain state, county, and/or city certifications, so be sure to be aware of the expectations in your area.
Name and contact information
The first piece of information on the page should be your name and it should be the largest text on the page (see below for more information). Your contact information should be right below you name, though use the standard font size for the rest of the resume.
The objective is your “elevator pitch” for your potential employer. In one sentence, tell them what you hope to accomplish while working for them. Something like “State-certified HVACR technician looking to increase customer satisfaction by maintaining a high standard quality” tells the employer that you’re a) certified and b) want to do your best while on the job.
One section that’s optional is a list of skills. You may be better served to include those skills in either work history or training, but if you feel your resume is lacking, including your skills as a separate list can help beef it up. These skills include things like being familiar with different types of HVACR systems (such as home, commercial, and vehicle A/C) and being able to follow standard HVACR safety procedures.
List your work history in reverse order, with your most recent job first. If you have a year or more on-the-job HVACR experience, work history should be right after your objective. If you haven’t landed your first job in HVACR, put your work history lower down, though still include what you can as any kind of work history can help show your employability.
As mentioned earlier, many states, counties, and even cities require certain certifications to work as an HVACR contractor or journeyperson, but even if you don’t need to be certified, having those certifications can be something to help you stand out. In addition to including certifications required by your area, many job postings include any certifications they expect, like NATE or DOT health card. When listing your certifications, include the issuing body (like your state’s board of HVACR contractors or the US Department of Transportation) and the year you completed the certification process—if you’ve had to renew your certification, only list the most recent certification year.
Even if you’ve been working as a technician for the last twenty years, listing your formal education or training is important. If your HVACR work history is lacking, put your education right after the objective
Lead with verbs
Your resume is all about you, so the “I” in most sentences is implied. Instead, start each sentence with a verb. Because verbs are action words, starting with them will better express what you’ve done and what you can do for your future employer.
Use past tense wording
It’s subtle, but it’s an easy way to convey that your work or training is complete, so you’re available to start work for a new employer now
Saying what you were “responsible for” things may not properly communicate what you did at a job or during training—some people are responsible for thingsthey never do. Instead, simply say what tasks you performed.
I am responsible for diagnosing failed compressors and applying appropriate corrective actions
Diagnosed failed compressors and repaired or replaced as appropriate.
Other things to think about
- Troubleshooting or diagnostic skills/experience: Knowing how to replace a failed compressor is not the same thing as knowing why it stopped working in the first place. Being good at troubleshooting is a major plus.
- Include non-HVACR job skills: While you certainly want to make sure that you let any potential employers know that you can properly pump-down a system, including other things like “worked under pressure,” is really useful. Non-HVACR job skills include things like being punctual, having strong math skills, being able to work unsupervised, or being a team player.
- Customer service experience: If you’re working with the public, usually in the form of home or business owners, having some customer service in your background will come in handy. Maybe your last job was working in a lab, so you didn’t interact with any clients, but you worked at a call center while attending tech school. That seemingly unrelated job could be what separates you from other applicants.
- Achievements: If you found a way to cut costs at a past job or scored exceptionally high on a certification exam, think about including it.
Everything in your resume needs to be true. Including certifications you don’t have or business you’ve never worked at is unacceptable and often grounds for immediate termination.
Keep it short
Resumes should be one or two pages long, but no longer. While, having an extensive work history and numerous certifications is good, many employers have admitted that they rarely read beyond the second page of a lengthy resume. If you have too much information for two pages, make some well placed edits: list only the last ten years in your work history, only include the certifications included in the job listing, and/or exclude non-HVACR work history.
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