by Heather Conary
There are an incredible number of career choices for women in the automotive industry, vehicle dealerships being one of many. They are everywhere now, and are often looking for new people. Typically, most women think of an automotive dealership as somewhere they could only work as a receptionist or a secretary. While those jobs are available, there are many other positions available to women in each and every department within an automotive dealership.
Dealerships are high-tech facilities, with challenging and fast-paced work environments, requiring many skilled employees to keep the company running in an orderly fashion. Coming into an auto dealership from another career path can be an easy transition, since most jobs require a high level of interpersonal skills, as well as technical and computing skills. Not all jobs require any technical knowledge of automobiles, so there is truly an opportunity for anybody at a dealership.
Administrative & Clerical
Every dealership has needs for friendly, helpful people who like to talk to people. The ability to multi-task and work well in busy environments is a necessity. These jobs can be a great stepping stone to other positions higher up within the dealership. Some entry-level position clerical jobs may have titles such as receptionist, administrative assistant, cashier or secretary.
Many dealerships employ department managers, meaning individuals who have control over one facet of the organization. These jobs require the ability to manage and motivate employees, as well as keep control of a department and maintain its role in the dealerships success. Administration and clerical jobs include titles like comptroller, office manager, billing and title clerks, human resources management, and department managers.
Sales & Finance
A salesperson today is far from the stereotype of a sleazy, used car salesman. The ability to form a bond with a customer, work with them as a partner to find a vehicle that best suits their needs, and continue the relationship after the sale are keys to a successful sales career. The abilities to listen and empathize are skills that many women have an advantage in.
Most dealerships offer an on-the-spot option to finance your vehicle, as well as purchase add-on warranty and insurance packages. Women in these positions are often able to easily assess customer’s needs and work with them to find solutions.
Service & Parts
Positions in the Service and Parts departments are two of the three areas of a dealership that require the most technical knowledge of vehicles and how they work.
In parts, a person has to know what a customer or mechanic is talking about if they need a part, and be familiar with commonly replaced parts of a vehicle.
Similarly, positions in the Service department may require some technical knowledge of vehicles. The ability to listen to a customer and understand what they want and need for their vehicle is a key. The ability to effectively communicate the customer’s request to a technician is another key.
Many dealerships offer on the job training and education programs, many run through the manufacturer. These are often provided to enhance existing skills, rather than provide the initial industry break-in to the business.
Autobody repair shops sometimes have a wide variety of positions available, not just repair technicians. Depending on the size of the shop, they may have a receptionist, billing clerk, estimators, painters, paint prep workers, and parts counterpersons as well. Women can fill any of these roles, while some of them may require some advanced training.
An autobody repair shop is the third and final area of a dealership that has many positions that require prior experience or advanced training. Entry level positions in an autobody repair shop would include receptionists and billing clerks.
Every vehicle that is brought onto a dealership lot, whether from the factory, from an auction, from another dealership or through a customer’s trade, is sent through the reconditioning department. Each one is thoroughly cleaned by a reconditioner to ensure that it’s in tip-top shape for the browsing eyes of a customer. Entry level reconditioning jobs can be found from time to time, and usually don’t require previous experience.
Even though an automobile dealership may seem like an intimidating place for a woman to work, it shouldn’t be. Every day, women apply for and get jobs in dealerships across the US, in every department. The automotive industry may seem like a tough industry to break into, but getting a job in a car dealership is an excellent way to get a foot in the door.