Mechanic Skills: Definition and Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Working as a mechanic requires specific skills. These include technical skills to resolve customer issues and soft skills to help communicate effectively with customers to ensure their satisfaction with the service. Understanding the skills necessary to work as a mechanic can be essential if you're considering a career as a mechanic. In this article, we define mechanic abilities and ways to improve them, provide some examples to guide you and list tips for showing your skills in the workplace and highlighting them on your resume, cover letter and in an interview.

What are mechanic skills?

Mechanic skills relate to the technical and soft skills necessary to work as a mechanic. Your soft skills refer to how you approach your work, including your personality traits and work ethic. Technical, or hard skills, refer to the skills you've gained through qualifications or training. Technical mechanical skills are the skills you use to repair cars or other types of vehicles.

Examples of mechanic skills

There's a range of skills that are beneficial when working as a mechanic, including:

Attention to detail

When you're fixing a car, it's essential that you focus on the details. For example, understanding how one aspect of a car's engine can affect another component is necessary so you can fix the problem. Making sure you fix the vehicle properly the first time also means you won't get customers returning requiring more repairs, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and referrals.

Related: Attention to Detail: Definition and Examples

Problem solving skills

The primary responsibility of a mechanic is to discover what's causing the issues with a vehicle so they can repair it. While there may be times when it's easy to work out what the problem is, other times, it can take considerable problem-solving skills to uncover the issue. Problem solving can involve trial and error and time to test different theories. For example, if a customer brings in a car experiencing issues when braking but replacing the brake pads doesn't resolve the problem, it's up to the mechanic to keep trying different solutions until they solve the issue.

Related: How to Become a Creative Problem Solver: A Definitive Guide

Organised skills

If you're working in a busy mechanic garage, staying organised and having a tidy workspace where you can arrange your tools to operate efficiently is important. Being organised means being able to find the tools when you need them. It can also allow you to operate more effectively, work faster and fix more cars in a shorter time, which can help increase customer satisfaction.

Related: 9 Organisational Skills Examples to Include in Your Resume

Communication skills

Most mechanics are responsible for communicating with customers, colleagues, suppliers and other stakeholders. When discussing vehicle issues with customers, it's essential to have good communication and listening skills to understand what the problems are to fix the issue. You're likely to benefit from clear communication when describing your steps to a customer so they can understand the problem. Good communication skills can be beneficial for them to know why you're charging specific amounts for the services you provide. It's essential to be clear about your services, timelines and costs.

Related: 4 Types of Communication (With Examples)

Administration skills

In addition to technical skills, it's necessary for many mechanics to perform simple administrative tasks, such as responding to emails, scheduling appointments, searching for inventory, answering phones and cleaning up the waiting area for customers. Starting your career, you may expect to undertake some of these tasks more frequently. In addition, if you have your own business, you're likely to spend a lot of time undertaking administrative tasks to run your business efficiently.

Computer skills

Many newer cars use advanced technology and computers. For example, you can diagnose problems in newer cars by connecting them to specialised computers. More advanced computer skills are necessary to help run diagnostic tests. Automobile shops may also use computers to manage client information, schedule appointments and track inventory, so knowing how to use basic computer systems and software can be beneficial.

Related: Computer Skills: Definitions and Examples

Adaptability

Because the automotive industry is constantly changing due to emerging technologies, it's important that mechanics are adaptable. Being flexible and open-minded is essential. Showing that you're willing to learn new skills and take on advanced training can be beneficial if you're looking for work as a mechanic.

Professionalism

Working in a mechanic dealership means you often interact with customers. Being professional can mean showing respect, integrity and the organisation's values. Professionalism can also be an essential consideration when an employer is hiring a mechanic, as mechanics can often represent the business, given their frequent interaction with customers.

Technical skills

In addition to soft skills, specific technical skills are important to complete the responsibilities of a mechanic. These can include knowing how to do oil changes, conduct diagnostic tests, perform tune-ups, repair engines or fix fluid leaks. Mechanics typically learn these skills on the job and as part of an apprenticeship.

Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

How to improve your mechanic skills

You can implement the following steps to improve your mechanical skills:

1. Complete specialised courses

There are many specialised courses available for mechanics that allow you to improve your mechanic abilities. In addition, you can consider specialising in certain areas of mechanics, such as tyre servicing or underbody technology. Depending on your employer, they may offer to pay for your professional development, particularly if it's an area in which they're looking to grow their business.

2. Join a professional membership

Depending on where you live, many states have different motor body repairer associations that you can consider joining. Joining a professional body can help you develop a network of other mechanics you can learn from and discover new skills that can be beneficial when working as a mechanic. Many organisations also offer events or training that can be useful, providing you with additional mechanic abilities and knowledge.

Related: Become a Networking Expert in 7 Steps

3. Seek out a mentor

If you don't already have a mentor, consider finding an experienced mechanic willing to share their skills and knowledge. They can help you improve your technical and soft skills, in addition to helping you consider your career goals and ambitions. For example, if you'd like to own a mechanic shop one day, approaching a mechanic who owns their own business and is someone you can learn from can provide you with the necessary skills to one day start your business.

Related: What Is a Mentor and How Can It Improve Your Career?

Mechanic skills in the workplace

Below are several tips you can use to show your mechanical skills in the workplace:

  • Ask for feedback. Asking your manager for feedback can help you identify how to improve your skills, the areas to focus on and the steps you can take to improve.

  • Work with customers. Look for opportunities to work with customers directly to improve your customer service and communication skills.

  • Talk to your manager. Set goals for your career with your manager to highlight how you wish to improve professionally.

How to highlight your mechanic skills

Here are some ways you can highlight your skills as a mechanic in different scenarios:

Mechanic skills for a resume

Your resume is a professional document that forms part of your job application. Throughout your resume, highlight your key skills that relate to the role. For example, a separate skills section can make it easy for a hiring manager to scan your resume and identify your capabilities for a role. Additionally, consider incorporating your skills throughout your experience section, using real examples to demonstrate your value to a prospective employer. Finally, check the job description to identify the critical skills a hiring manager is seeking and aim to include these within your resume.

Related: How to List Your Skills on a Resume (With Template and Examples)

Mechanic skills for a cover letter

Your cover letter is a professional document introducing you to a hiring manager as part of your job application. When writing your cover letter, include the skills most relevant to the job, expanding on the details included on your resume. In addition, you may consider describing how your skills helped you perform your role and the impact of learning new skills. For example, learning more advanced computer skills allowed you to diagnose issues with newer cars better.

Related: Free Cover Letter Templates

Mechanic skills for a job interview

Talking about your skills during a mechanic interview is also essential. A hiring manager may ask you to provide specific examples of how you've used your skills in the workplace. To help answer these questions, you may wish to incorporate the STAR method, which describes the situation, the task involved, what action you took and the result. Again, try to talk about both soft and technical skills to show your capabilities.

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