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Automotive career opportunities for women are not just working under the hood

Published Sep 8th 2006, 3:10am by Jody DeVere in Featured Articles
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Educating women about automotive maintenance and careers.

Automotive Careers

Automotive career opportunities are not limited to just working under the hood. A variety of positions and career paths are available within the industry, and women are becoming more and more involved and visible in these opportunities. Below is a collection of career paths and positions in all aspects of automotive, some of which you may not have considered.

Marketing careers offer a wide array of opportunities spanning multiple areas such as sales promotions, advertising, interactive media, relationship marketing and database marketing. If you are interested in marketing opportunities, you may also want to consider other related fields such as public relations, cause marketing and corporate identity that may often be inter-related to marketing roles and responsibilities.

Quick Lube (Store Level)
Quick lube store-level positions are exciting positions for energetic and responsible individuals. Positions can range from lube technician and mechanic positions, to customer-interfacing positions, to cashier responsibilities, to store manager roles.

Quick Lube Field Operations Management
Field operations managers could expect to direct and manage overall daily automotive operations for multiple service center locations or perhaps an entire region. These positions require responsible individuals who can ensure goals and key performance indicators are met for efficiency and economy of operations while delivering profits to the company. Individuals should have strengths in the areas of motivation and team building, customer service, auditing results and in financial performance from the aspect of growing the business and improving profitability.

Automotive Supply Stores
The automotive supply stores, whether retail, traditional or import specialist, hold a vast amount of diversity in their job openings. There are management positions, buyers, inventory control, counter personnel, delivery drivers, and cashiers. If you are looking for lots of room for advancement a large retail chain could be your answer, or if you like the more one-on-one and get to know your customers, whether mechanics or walk-ins, the import specialist store could be the place for you. Because of the range of opening, the experience and education will vary, a solid start on a store career could be a ASE Parts Certification.

Automotive Purchasing
Purchasing career opportunities may include areas such as managing purchasing activities and third party supplier relationships, supplier sourcing, developing proposal and bid packages, negotiating competitive agreements, and establishing and auditing purchasing processes and practices.

Product Support/Management
Product management in the automotive aftermarket is a challenging field. Your responsibilities would consist of managing your product lines from the beginning of their life cycle to the end while maintaining line-fill, product coverage strategies, and business initiatives. If you enjoy working with operations, research, cataloging, purchasing, suppliers, marketing and customers, product management would be your fit. A strong knowledge of automotive products and business is a must.

The automotive aftermarket industry has a vast array of engineering opportunities within their manufacturing and distribution facilities. Whether your engineering discipline is in mechanical, electrical, manufacturing, industrial, chemical or ceramic, there is a job for you. Engineering positions can include product design, material development, tooling design, testing, and manufacturing process development to name a few.

Automotive Training (Store Level and Technical)
Automotive trainers execute training programs to develop employee skills and impart technical, organizational practices and procedures by utilizing various learning methods (i.e., classroom, computer based and on-the-job). You could also investigate training resources for appropriate application, and suggest emerging performance issues for training application.

Professional Staff Training and Development
People in these positions assess staff training requirements and creates programs to meet career development needs, plans and administer training seminars (i.e., technical skills or employee relations issues), assess effectiveness of training and contract with vendors for special training services. These employees might also design and deliver management development training programs, works with all levels of management to design individual development plans, ensuring plans and programs are clearly aligned with company goals and objectives, and build credible relationships with senior managers to identify and address management development needs within sales, operations, and corporate business areas.

Customer Service Representatives
Customer service roles are critical to the success of organizations and require strong communication skills and problem solving techniques. If you like dealing with people and find resolving issues rewarding, this career path can include anything from working within a call center environment, to performing Web-based complaint and claim investigation, to the supervision of groups interfacing with end consumers and external customers.

Information Technology
Information technology (IT) careers span a broad category of skill pools. Most categories of jobs can be categorized within project management, infrastructure services and support, IT applications development and support, and IT line of business management. Career opportunities within IT may include infrastructure support services, technical support, network or systems engineer, network or systems architect, business analysis, portfolio management, customer service management, data management, applications consultancy and application services supervision.

Human Resources
Human resources (HR) careers are ideal if you enjoy working with people. Responsibilities in HR careers include all aspects of working with fellow employees, including employee orientations, maintenance and formation of employee benefits, pension plans and maintenance of company insurance policies. HR professionals also handle personnel files, assist staff with HR-related matters and are in charge of payroll for the company.

Inventory Management
Inventory management careers offer a wide range of disciplines, including material manager, warehouse manager, scheduler, planner/expeditor and production control. Inventory management offers analytical challenges, job advancement and growth within most organizations. An understanding of MRP systems and CPIM certification is a great foundation for a career in inventory management. In addition, you will find inventory management positions in all level of the automotive aftermarket, from manufacturers, to distributors, to your local parts store.

Quality is comprised of many career opportunities, like quality manager, quality engineer, quality inspector and quality lab tech. The quality field is a growing area and a necessary one if you want to do business in today's environment. Companies are being held to the highest of standards and are expected to maintain many of the available certifications, like QS9000, ISO14001 and ISOTS-16949.


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