9 Things Employers Want You to Know

UTI Profile Image Universal Technical Institute Nov 5, 2018 ·

Heading out into the field as a technician after graduation from mechanic school is exciting. If you want a successful, lifetime career doing what you love, here's advice from nine industry professionals about how to grow your career.

1) Put Your Goals in Drive

Anyone can learn skills, but when you have ambition to grow every day, that stands out in the field, says Kyle Mixon, service director of Munday Chevrolet.

“You have to show drive,” Mixon says. “You have to show that you want to be here, that you want to learn, that you want to be successful.”

2) Learn as Much as You Can About the Brands You Want to Work With

If you have a passion for a certain brand, the more mechanic training you can get with it, the better. Programs like Universal Technical Institute's (UTI) Manufacturer Specific Advanced Training programs and Motorcycle Mechanics Institute's (MMI) specialized training give you a head-start in the field, says Seminole PowerSports operations manager Greg Hale.

“We are always looking for people with good, strong work ethics,” Hale says. “A lot of students come to us with the manufacturer schooling already behind them for the specific product line, Kawasaki or Honda, and that is a huge advantage for us, knowing those are the products we deal with.”

3) Remember Attitude Is Everything

Though the technician industry is in high demand, once you're a part of the community, it's a tight-knit world. That's why how you carry yourself in the field is vital to where you'll go in your career.

“When I interview a technician from UTI...the main thing I'm focused on looking for is attitude,” says Ken Harland, UTI graduate and shop foreman for Mercedes-Benz of Sacramento. “I can't fix attitude. I can't change attitude. It has to be something you have...The automotive business is a small world... Someone you know in school, you're going to know later on. You're going to come back across them, so make sure your attitude is on par.”

4) Never Stop Learning

Learning doesn't stop after graduation. Come into work ready to keep on expanding your skillset with on-the-job training.

“Really what I'm looking for are two key qualities,” says David Hart, training technology/curriculum team leader for Mercury Marine within Walt Disney World. “First is a work ethic. Really, knowledge and gaining technical skills is a different area from a foundation that is critical to being successful, and that's a work ethic. The second is a willingness to learn...For those first couple years, we're really looking for somebody who's willing to be taught and be coached and really apply themselves to learning and listening more so than proving and trying to stand on their own initially.”

5) Embrace the Unknown

An in-demand industry means you'll likely be called upon to do work that you may not be an expert at – yet. Take what comes at you with an eager outlook, and you'll be more likely to succeed, says David Galloway, service manager of Florida Detroit Diesel-Allison.

“Our industry is so short-staffed right now, it's unbelievable,” Galloway says. “You can tell that by the average wait time to have repairs done in any shop in the country is days, not hours. Your willingness to do the job, taking on the job when you don't know [is important]. Take it on, and try and do it, and ask questions along the way. Retain the knowledge and what you learn through the process to help you on the next job you do.”

6) Be Willing to Pay Your Dues

Entering the field means you have the opportunity to learn from those who came before you. Respect senior technicians, and soak up what they teach you.

“Some of the qualities we look for in the NASCAR Tech students is attendance, personal drive and if the student isn't willing to pay their dues in Express, so to speak, then they may not be driven enough to succeed in the main shop,” says Michael Gobble, service manager for Gerry Wood Chrysler Jeep Dodge. “We have a lot of processes in place to evaluate them during their part-time apprenticeship.”

7) Let Your Passion Shine Through

Being a technician is about more than just a paycheck. When you have energy and excitement that motivates you every day at work, management notices.

“When I talk to students on campus, oftentimes one of the first questions I ask them is, 'Why did you want to be a technician? Why did you want to make this your career?'” says John Perez, senior director of talent acquisition for Sonic Automotive. “If I see them light up while they're describing that to me, then I know that's somebody I want to talk to further...It's the intangibles and the smaller talents of being a good teammate, understanding their importance in the dealership, and having a passion for what they do that is most important to us.”

8) Be a Tech Others Can Trust

Cars are some of people's most precious possessions. That's why hiring techs who have the skills and tender loving care to get them back into top shape is vital.

“As far as looking for a good quality technician to join my team, I'm always looking for the care and concern for what they do,” says Rod White, locations manager for Cooks Collision. “Having someone with integrity who is going to take care of all aspects of the repair and somebody I can trust will do what's needed is very valuable to me...When you give us everything you have and show us you want to be the person to excel in every aspect of your job, we're going to give you everything you need to succeed.”

9) Don't Skip Class

For many hiring managers, showing up to school is a great indicator that a future technician will be reliable for work, too.

“The advice I would give to a technician that is just starting school is to maintain the positive attendance and maintain that your grades are good,” says Terry Hartigan, service manager of CIT Trucks. “We're really looking for the best of the best and those who will show up to school, because if you don't show up to school, you're not going to show up to work. That's what I look for.”

All the hiring managers we've talked to agree that an education from UTI, MMI, NASCAR Technical Institute or Marine Mechanics Institute is a guaranteed way to stand out on a résumé. Learn more about each school by clicking the links.

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