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Experience Not Required: Leveraging a Non-Auto Background into a Successful Dealership Career



You don’t need to be a car wiz to work in a dealership.

The automotive retail industry is so much more than selling and maintaining cars. The purchase and maintenance of a vehicle is a significant investment, and customers want to build relationships and trust with the staff assisting them.

Want proof? Many dealership salespeople can share stories about working with multiple generations of a family. Or ask a service advisor how many of their customers ask for them by name when they come in for an oil change. The business is just as much about the people as the vehicles.

There are a number of career experiences that are relevant and valued in potential dealership employees, including:

  • Hospitality roles like waiters, baristas, or hotel concierges;

  • Sales roles in customer-facing retail such as banks, telecommunications storefronts like Verizon or T-Mobile, or hardware stores;

  • Positions that involve communicating like a call center representative or receptionist; and

  • Work that requires personal connections, like teachers, barbers/hair stylists, or nail technicians.

Learning about the vehicles can happen on the job, but experience working with people and building relationships is invaluable. 

Many dealership jobs benefit from skills built in other industries. Don’t count yourself – or anyone else – out of the auto industry just because you’re not a “car person.”

Learn more about jobs that don’t require a college education here.

Did you enter the automotive retail industry from another field? We’d love to hear from you. Email to share your story.


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