Are you passionate about cars and would like to work around them? You don’t have to be a mechanic or have a master’s degree to get a cool job in the industry – and if you think outside the square, you may just be surprised at what’s out there.
1. Social Media Influencer
One of the newest careers in the automotive world is focused on self-promotion and getting an informative message out to a wide audience. While the topic may be about cars, the way you present yourself and your ability to be entertaining are essential. For unique tips and styles of certain influencers, check out those who are at the top of their game like Lewis Hamilton, Alex Hirschi (Supercar Blondie), TJ Hunt, and for a more twisted British sense of humor check out Matt from High Peak Autos who is a real-life used car dealer.
2. Car Salesperson
There will always be a variety of cars at your fingertips when you buy and sell cars. You get to experience first-hand what it’s like to drive and accumulate knowledge giving you the ability and confidence to connect customers to the best model that fits their lifestyle and requirements. You may start out detailing for a dealership and work your way up, but this at least gives you a working knowledge of an individual car’s spatial limitations, how high or low the quality of the interior trim is, and how it feels to sit behind the drivers wheel for comfort and visual awareness.
3. Car Detailer
Leading on from the above description, car detailers not only get to experience all that goes with cleaning a customer’s car, but also gain essential tips and secrets of the trade when it comes to solving common issues such as dull headlight covers, reducing faded paintwork (especially when the customer wants a full detail before selling their car), and removing bad odors such as pet smells, vomit, and cigarette smoke. This is a physical job so great for keeping in shape, plus you get the satisfaction of a job well done. Taking quality before and after photos of your work may come in handy in the future if you decide to open a car detailing business of your own.
If you’ve got a clean license, love expensive, luxury vehicles and have an immaculate appearance, then this could be the job for you. Drive to special events and exclusive clubs escorting your wealthy boss to where he or she wishes to go. Etiquette goes a long way in this job, so learn your manners and present well. When you’re not driving, you will be expected to detail the car (or cars) and keep them to a high standard. Valet will come under this category even though it is only parking and retrieving cars usually at hotels, special events, or exclusive parking buildings.
5. Car Designer
How exciting would it be to design cars for a living. A Bachelor’s Degree in Automotive Design is typically the minimum educational requirement, however you may also qualify if you have a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design or Industrial Engineering majoring in Automobiles. Add to this your passion for cars by spending time in an automotive shop or work first hand on a car to see how cars are built and how they function on a mechanical level. Develop an ongoing knowledge of the very latest trends in automotive design and future innovations that are on the horizon. Do your research on past and current car concepts. Strong drawing and sculpting or 3D skills are also key when providing you with the tools companies are looking for as an ‘all-rounder’. It’s usually a good idea to apply for an internship in your last year of education for real-life work experience and to build your portfolio, whilst networking industry professionals. While an internship is usually unpaid, they can lead to employment within the same company or help when applying to another firm, so think about your long-term goal. A great tip is to also attend design trade shows and join a professional automotive design organization.
6. Vehicle Inspector
Vehicle Inspectors usually work for insurance companies, car rental agencies or specific smash repair firms. They are responsible for assessing vehicles after they have been in an accident or returned to a rental company. There is usually a report to fill in with a diagram of a vehicle you can pinpoint where any issues may be. Driving the car (if possible) to determine if more unseen damage has been done (such as steering knocks), or if there are any warning lights or malfunctions which are carried out using electrical testing. If a car has been modified (such as suspension being lowered), then this needs to be taken into consideration as to how the car now performs. The inspector will assess once again when the repairs have been completed before handing back to the owner.
7. Car Rental Agent
Customer Service Agents and All-Rounders come under this category as people in this job will be dealing with a range of used cars in their fleet. The variety of tasks includes vehicle inspections, car detailing, delivering cars back to home base, driving cars around the lot or out to refill at gas stations. Agents will be ensuring the correct car goes to the right client and also offer alternatives for certain client requirements.
8. Freelance Automotive Journalist
To get a job like this, you will need to provide a brief bio about yourself along with examples of your written talent. One high-profile company wanted three sample posts written in the style of their magazine along with an eye-catching bio including why you’re the right person for the job, and your own Social Media account or pages you manage. There are magazines or blog sites that welcome volunteer articles, computer rendering, pictures, or drawings so put yourself out there, at least it’s a place to start and get your work out to the reading public and gain experience.
9. Vehicle Wrap Guru
It’s the ultimate in car alteration and transformation. Not only are car wraps available in different colors and varying grades of vinyl, but a whole range of crazy patterns and shimmered effects are on offer as well. Know the difference between a full vehicle wrap, a panel wrap that goes right to the edges, and so-called ‘vehicle tattoos’ (including the old rustic ‘left-out-in-the-elements’ look), cut-out decals, logos and lettering that are specifically stuck onto certain parts of a panel. You may be intrigued to learn that 3M, Avery Dennison and other companies offer training in car wrapping which usually take between 1-5 days (depending on the course and the quality of the content). Ii is essential to have a good eye for detail and the ability to be your best, as a bad car wrap can peel the paintwork underneath or cause bubbles (like so many bad window tints you see on cars around town).
10. Car Broker
A car broker acts as the ‘middle man’ between the car buyer and the car seller. They have learned the tricks of the trade when it comes to negotiation and try to get the buyer the best possible deal on new, used, unique or rare cars for sale. Car brokers usually have a wide-ranging network and database of dealers and wholesalers they can call upon in search of a specific make and model for their client. They can also find the best deal on financing, insurance, accessories, and servicing. So if you are interested, start finding and building a network of approachable dealers in your neighborhood.
11. Vehicle Restorer
You will definitely need to know your way around an engine bay as well as how to fix rust spots and panel beat for this position. This is something you could do on your own if you have the drive to pursue it. The advantages are the low price you could buy a car in need of restoring and the awesome results you get after a full restoration. The downsides are the cost of parts, tools and large equipment such as vehicle and engine hoists (although generally these are a one-off cost), and the time it would take to complete. You will also need a large garage to work in and thorough, detailed repair manuals of the cars you want to restore. For an insight into restoration, take a look at Wheeler Dealers TV series at how intricate things can be to fix.
12. Stunt Driver
Have you ever dreamed of doing stunts for the James Bond or ‘Fast & the Furious’ movies? It goes without saying that driving experience is essential here. You need to be confident in your driving skills before even thinking of doing stunts. Don’t just apply for a manual car license, but also apply for as many license types as you can such as heavy truck, motorcycle, bus, tractor, forklift, crane, and even a boat. You will also need to attend a specialized stunt-driving school. As a stunt driver, you may be required to perform in any variation of vehicles, so first-hand knowledge and experience is a must. Race track circuits, abandoned parking lots, disused airstrips and dedicated stunt courses will give you plenty of scope to practice your skills.
13. Car Photographer/Videographer
You will shoot for a variety of automotive clients ranging from regular, fixed appointments at dealerships, where you will capture clean and uniform images for dealership inventories, to one-off call outs to shoot high-end and exotic sports cars, creating unique marketing content in picturesque locations for social media, various magazine publications, and collectors wanting to preserve their beloved collections. You could also start out by roaming the streets and capture cool cars to list on stock photo websites to get some income trickling in.
14. Automotive Marketing Manager
Aim high with this position and you could be planning and overseeing a dealership’s advertising and promotional activities including print, electronic and direct mail media. Work with the dealer and general sales manager to develop upcoming campaigns, create and prepare all print advertising, radio and TV commercials, billboards, direct mail pieces, in-store point-of-purchase merchandising aids, interior and exterior signs, off-site displays, news releases and stories. You will also liaise with news media and outside advertising agencies, as well as organize consumer surveys. You will be expected to achieve satisfactory profit/loss ratios and share of market performance. These are just some of the varied duties of this career choice. Never a boring day!
15. Gaming Developer
This is where your imagination is all that limits you. Bringing your love of cars to online gaming can bring untold wealth if designed in a way that appeals to the market. Design your own car or modify something you love, then program it into an exciting virtual simulation players around the world will crave. Get as much knowledge about what the best car games have that attracts audiences the world over, and add something unique that gives your game the edge.