Six years ago I wrote an article called 10 Ways to Find a Job in the Motorcycle Industry. This morning as I was getting ready for work, I saw a new comment came in with a question about how to work in the motorcycle industry after graduation.
Hi there, I love the idea of working in a motorcycle company in business operations like marketing and human resources department but is it recommended to work at a motorcycle company after my graduation?
Normally I would just leave a little comment back as a reply, but I’ve actually been in this person’s exact situation, so I thought I might be in a good position to offer some assistance. See, the day after my last exam as a student, I went to work as a Marketing Coordinator in the motorcycle biz. So maybe I can help Nesan, and some of my younger readers and YouTube subscribers understand how to work in the motorcycle industry as well. So I created this video:
Click the little unmute button in the bottom left corner to unmute the video.
Tip #1: Always start with the end in mind, and be clear on what your end goal is
Something that isn’t taught often enough in college or university, is whenever you’re doing any kind of long term planning or project management, always start with your end goal, and work your way backwards to where you are now. You can’t say you want to work in Marketing and Human Resources (HR), these are totally different departments and business functions.
I’ve worked in the motorcycle industry in marketing for a number of years, very few times did I ever do anything that was HR-related. If I ever did, it was usually just being involved in hiring or firing someone. Likewise, I used to date a girl in HR for a motorcycle manufacturer, and she almost never did anything that was marketing-related.
Pick a stream, be clear on it, focus on it, and then work backwards from there. Figure out all of the things that are going to need to happen, all of the things you’re going to need to do to make them happen, and how you’re going to do them. Which ties into the next tip.
Tip #2: Give your goal a feasibility test
Look at the things that you’ve identified need to happen, and you must do, in order to achieve your goal and question everything.
- What do I need to do to make this?
- Is there education I need? Can I afford it? How can I afford it? Is there another way around it?
- Where do I live? What’s available here? What isn’t? Do I have what I need to make this happen?
- How far am I willing to go to make this dream come true? Am I willing to move for it?
Living in Canada, I knew that I’d have limited opportunity to find high-paying work in the motorcycle industry. There just aren’t enough offices here. For example, Triumph doesn’t have a Canada-based office.
Rather than give up, I lived on the assumption that at some point I would move to the United States to work in the motorcycle business there. Luckily, other motorcycle manufacturers do have offices in Canada, and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a couple of them.
Be willing and ready to take a harsh look at your circumstances and separate the factors you can control from those that you can’t. All of the questions you ask yourself should lead to one, final, overarching question: How far am I willing to go to make this work?
Tip #3: Be OK with taking an indirect approach
Your career path isn’t going to be a straight line. It’s going to be a zig-zag. Sometimes it will make a lot of sense and you’ll look and feel very smart. Other times, despite all the right intentions and the best laid plans, it’ll leave you feeling like an idiot. That’s part of the process. It’s called personal development. Don’t be afraid to take an indirect approach to get to where you want to be.
Personal Story 3:
I found myself out of work at the time the previous distributor of Harley-Davidson was closing down. I knew there would be a surplus of qualified motorcycle industry professionals, and a lack of jobs available for them. Too many free agents, not enough teams. This wasn’t a good time to be unemployed.
I had to pivot a little bit. I found work with Goodyear Canada, one of the largest tire manufacturers in the world. The business model is so close to that of the motorcycle/power sports business that the skills and experience I gained there could easily transfer to a motorcycle job down the road. I made myself a better candidate for future motorcycle opportunities.
If you aren’t finding work in the motorcycle industry, don’t sit idly waiting for something to fall in your lap. Look for work in similar industries (for example, automotive or automotive parts), or for industries with similarities that can make you a stronger candidate down the road (for example, targeting similar demographics or having similar job responsibilities).
To wrap it all up, here’s how to work in the motorcycle industry after graduation:
- Always start with the end in mind, and be clear on what your end goal is
- Give your goal a feasibility test
- Be OK with taking an indirect approach
And if you haven’t already, stop what you’re doing and read 10 Ways to Find a Job in the Motorcycle Industry. It’s my six year old article that people are still talking about today.