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Veterans are known for their can-do attitude, strong work ethic and punctual nature, so it’s no wonder that many employers are excited to bring on a new employee with military experience. Many military jobs involve working with vehicles, but even for veterans who were not heavily involved with vehicles during their time in the service, the automotive industry offers excellent career opportunities.
Americans are buying more cars than ever before, and changing technologies are fueling the need for skilled workers. Here are a few examples of great jobs someone with a military background might be interested in pursuing.
Civilians will never know just how much time and effort goes into getting a perfect grade on your uniform, but as a veteran, you’re hard-wired for quality assurance. Attention to detail and a high level of discipline is required, and those are two traits America’s armed services deliver in spades.
You might be noting tolerances on engine parts, ensuring the ride quality of a new rubber compound, or checking the visibility through a new kind of windshield. As a QA person, you’ll be faced with new and unique challenges every day. Sounds a little like being deployed.
Many veterans have undergone intense educational programs that inform them of the inner workings of the vehicles used in the field. This makes a great background for an engineering degree, and with a few years’ work out of the service, you can enter the exciting and well-paying world of engineering.
The focus of this discipline is understanding the science of forces at play in a car. You might redesign the locking mechanism on a popular model to be more secure by analyzing the existing lock’s good and bad qualities.
In the field, it takes vision and leadership to make sure the right people get where they need to go and execute their tasks promptly. You can’t just arrive and start yelling orders. It takes planning.
Project management is no different. It involves taking a view from 10,000 feet and considering all the variables before you move forward. Once things are underway, you’re responsible for checking in with each team to make sure deliverables are reaching completion. It’s a little bit like being a general.
Automakers need willing, intelligent staff to service the thousands of cars that come into dealerships every day. Experience turning wrenches in the service is a plus, but you can get started as a technician even without it.
This occupation offers excellent upward mobility as you ascend the ranks of novice, journeyman and finally master technician. You’ll get to work with dealer-specific tools and receive training in the finest corporate facilities. You might even get to take some shiny new cars out for a test drive.
Not all automotive jobs take place at the corporate level. The aftermarket for cars is huge, and it takes a massive effort to keep online parts catalogs stocked and marketing operations churning out leads. Used car dealerships also require careful deliberation when choosing how to invest in new stock.
Putting your technical knowledge to work, anticipating market trends and making decisions about what to stock is a great way to leverage your military background. You might be stocking the shelves or attending a car auction, but you won’t be bored.
Welding has been around for many years. It was once a highly esteemed trade, and welders are still viewed as skilled craftsmen, but with machines taking on much of the workload, in-the-flesh welders are becoming rarer and rarer. Like the U.S. Marines, welders really are few and proud.
Some military details require familiarity with welding for jobs in the field. You may have even learned a special type of welding, like underwater welding or how to weld difficult materials such as titanium and aluminum. If you’ve got this specialized training, you might be sitting on a goldmine.
These are some great examples of occupations that will allow you to tap into the skills that you gained as a member of the armed services, but in reality, there are many more you might discover. What do you want to do in the automotive industry?
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