Career Changes: ASE-Certified Technician Todd Finnerty’s Journey to Associate, Member Engagement at the Auto Care Association
Job description: Todd Finnerty, associate, member engagement, is part of the member relations team at the Auto Care Association, and serves as a liaison for member companies. In addition to providing customer support to current members, he uses his technical background and vast industry knowledge to promote the association to potential members in the auto care industry.
Unexpected career trajectory: The transition from working in a shop environment, providing technical diagnosis and repair, to a more collaborative workspace while sitting in an office, can provide challenges. Working on cars his entire life, Todd became interested in applying for an office position in the industry he loves. Submitting his resume for various openings, it was obvious that the type of position he wanted required a post-secondary degree, so Todd went back to school. Having real-world experience working for a dealership combined with a new bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance opened many doors for him.
A good fit: Todd’s automotive background gives him an advantage in his current role because he can speak the industry language while selling the business angle. His knowledge of the industry allows him to communicate effectively with member companies. In his own words, “I get to talk about the industry that I’m passionate about without actually getting my hands dirty.”
Resume success: Todd offers some resume advice, such as when describing your skills in your resume, a technical approach needs to be tweaked because the business world doesn’t know how to evaluate (necessarily understand the qualifications behind) certifications, technical training and technical skills.
To work past that language barrier, take technician skills and present them as problem-solving skills, being responsible for your own time and finding solutions to problems without relying on the boss. How to resolve on-the-job issues with customers translates very well to the corporate side of the business.
When applying to an office position, Todd emphasized more of his educational background and years of work experience. He summarized at the bottom of his resume most of his technical background, being careful to not use too much industry jargon, and tailored his resume based on the job description of every position for which he applied.
Interview tips: Todd found that there are many similarities in skill sets in both working as a technician and working in an office. During his interview process, he took his technical training and on-the-job experience with customers and applied it to the office setting as having a strong background in problem-solving, time management and customer service.
Advice: Look specifically for job descriptions that might require a technical skill set similar to that of a technician. Don’t go out and apply for everything, but focus on opportunities that fit your unique background and expertise.