Dealer Spotlight: The Career Path from Service Department to Group VP

By Beth Kempton,
April 3, 2017


Parents want the best future for their high school students and would enthusiastically support an automotive career path that would lead their son or daughter to become a Group Vice President at Toyota Motor Sales. The opportunity to explain to parents and families how this can be achieved starts with dealership personnel building business relationships with local high schools and technical institutions. Today, students can successfully position themselves to begin a career in a growing industry with high demand for talent that pays competitive salaries. Dealership personnel need to take an active role in changing the image in a parent’s mind from seeing their son or daughter as a ‘wrench turner’ into an image of a professional in business attire and climbing the corporate ladder.

Here are several ways dealership personnel can encourage parents – and their children  – to see retail automotive as an exciting career opportunity.

Highlight Success Stories

One of the most respected Group Vice Presidents at Toyota Motor Sales started his automotive career at a Toyota Service Department in Cleveland, Ohio. His experience in the Service Department properly positioned him for a career at a Toyota Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 9.02.44 AM.pngregional office to lead the service and parts efforts – and the rest is history. Those opportunities are happening today throughout the country as corporate businesses seek qualified individuals who have dealership operational experience. The newest addition to my corporate team, as a technical instructor here at the Cincinnati regional office, came to us as a tenured Master Certified Lexus Technician.


Create Brand Advocates

Students can position themselves in the growing industry by starting their careers with an internship. Local high schools and technical institutions continue to be a great opportunity for dealership personnel to make contact with entry level technicians. High schools and technical institutions regularly support internships where students can leave campus for a work study course to gain experience in a business environment. The internship is best supported with a mentor, who will guide the intern throughout the work study course. The individuals who complete these types of work study courses not only become passionate brand advocates, but are individuals who have proven to be qualified candidates for career positions.

Reach Out To The Local Community

The Cincinnati Region recently coordinated a productive meeting with the Automotive Technology Instructor at the Sullivan South High School in Sullivan County, Tennessee. The instructor requested help to get his students prepared for the Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 8.58.46 AM.pngTennessee State Skills Competition, specifically with brake systems and alignment machines. The three dealerships in attendance each committed to sending a Master Diagnostic Technician to help train on those test categories with his four
students competing in the competition. This type of local support for students creates brand advocates and demonstrates how career technicians can help the community. The one statement from the instructor that sealed our commitment to helping was that our meeting (eight guys standing around a work bench) was the first business group ever to reach out to his Automotive Technology classes.

Encourage Active Participation

The hiring and recruiting of new technicians can produce more qualified candidates with active participation at local high schools and technical institutions. The attention given to a new technician in an internship can begin a new group of brand advocates who share their positive experiences and build momentum to attract additional candidates. The local high schools and technical institutions are in desperate need of local business support.  

Support A Digital Experience

The students (parents and family, too) will undoubtedly start their research for automotive internship opportunities by searching online. Prospective candidates need to easily research available job opportunities by searching on the dealership’s website withScreen Shot 2017-04-03 at 9.01.04 AM.pnga dedicated landing page for ‘career positions.’ The student should have the option to apply for a specific
position on a dealership’s website to get the interview process started quickly. Dealerships need to have a paperless process to onboard each new candidate starting with applying on the dealership website all the way to the hired candidate receiving the company HR handbook electronically. Today’s automotive students can confidently navigate the digital onboarding process to better prepare for a productive first day on the job instead of sitting in the HR office filling out paperwork and reading printed HR materials.

By highlighting success stories, working closely with the local community and supporting a digital hiring experience, dealerships can build strong business relationships in their communities to attract top students as future job applicants. Students and parents alike will see the successful career path that supports a professional image and means to climb the corporate ladder.


About the Author

Beth is the content strategist on Hireology’s marketing team, responsible for creating compelling blog posts, eBooks, marketing materials and other content. Her background includes five years of experience at a B2B digital marketing agency, where she crafted content for a variety of clients, including several in the HR technology space. Before beginning her career, Beth attended Loyola University Chicago, where she studied advertising and public relations.

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