The auto industry is as popular as ever, meaning that there are plenty of jobs for the diligent worker. Whether you’re changing careers or are just getting your professional or educational start, if the auto industry is in your sights, it’s important to know how to find and obtain employment. For some, the answer would be as simple as “Apply everywhere you can,” but the truth is, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Know Your Desired Path
Sure, the auto industry is pretty contained to “cars and vehicles.” Take a step back to think about just how many different things that could mean. Are you interested in opening your own dealership that specializes in enclosed car shipping? Maybe you have a proficiency for seeing how things work and would do well in a mechanical field. Or perhaps you have a highly analytical mind and want to pursue a planning role at a major car company.
It’s important that you have a clear picture of where your interests lie. This even works if you have a dream job in mind. Want to be the person in charge of designing next year’s models? That gives you a chance to take a look at what your career path might look like over the years. It also gives you a better idea of what the requirements for specific roles might be. Even though the industry requires automotive knowledge across the board, the exact backgrounds, education, and licenses required will vary from position to position.
Determine Educational Needs
For a large number of prospective employees, it’s a good idea to obtain a degree or certificate in automotive technology. If you’re an aspiring mechanic, this degree path will encompass a combination of in-class learning and hands-on training. You may even partake in an apprenticeship. In some cases, it will take up to five years to become fully qualified. In other fields, this number will vary.
If you’re looking to specialize in certain roles, there are a handful of additional automotive and diesel certifications you can pursue. These may be separate or in tandem with further education. For example, automotive engineers will, naturally, need a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Beyond that, some employers prefer specific concentrations, study paths, or minors. Since these engineering roles tend to be fairly competitive, it’s also recommended to partake in internships or consider post-graduate studies, such as a Master’s degree.
So you’ve chosen a career path and know what education you’ll need moving forward. Now what? When it comes to finding a job in the auto industry, it’s important to know your market, network well, and remain incredibly persistent. Like any job, employment in the auto industry doesn’t simply happen. It requires persistence, effort, and constant communication, whether that’s submitting applications, requesting follow-ups, and interviewing. A good rule of thumb to follow is that until you’ve actually landed a job, applying for employment is your full-time work.
As far as networking is concerned, while it may seem intimidating to some, it’s as easy or as difficult as you make it. Did you get on particularly well with some of your instructors during a certification course? Do you have friends or colleagues who have completed internships or currently work in the industry? Does a second cousin, twice-removed run a dealership? Call them all up. Ask about leads, job opportunities, and prospects. It’s an easy way to get a foot in the door.
The automotive industry can be incredibly rewarding for the right individuals but it requires time, effort, and a fair deal of elbow grease to succeed. You have to truly commit to your role in the industry and know that nothing is going to happen overnight. Take your time, do your research, and then you’ll be ready to take the first step toward an amazing career.