Many students don’t make enough of their delivery jobs on their CVs, often thinking the work is not very impressive. However, delivery work – whether on a bike or by car – can develop skills, abilities and behaviours that all recruiters love. These include:
Being results-oriented. This requirement may also be written on job descriptions as ‘target-driven’; it means being motivated by achieving objectives. If you tried to ‘beat the app’ or your own record in the time it took to make a delivery safely, you have plenty of evidence about how you met targets and were focused on getting results.
Make a feature of it on your CV by saying how many times you beat your personal or company targets.
Use your delivery job to answer competency-based interview questions on setting and achieving goals, and strengths-based interview questions such as ‘What motivates you?’.
Drive. When recruiters put ‘drive’ as a job requirement, they seek those who are motivated, and have the stamina, to see a task through to the end, no matter what obstacles they face or how long it takes. Simply taking on the job of a courier for more than a couple of weeks – particularly in the winter months – will demonstrate your drive.
When writing up your delivery work on your CV, indicate how driven you are by clearly signposting the dates of your employment, by stating how many shifts you took on per week or month and by writing about exceeding your targets (see above).
Use your delivery experience to answer interview questions designed to test your tenacity, such as ‘How do you respond to a setback when pursuing an objective?’.
Working under pressure. Managing stress is part of working life for many and making deliveries to the right place, sometimes in the dark, within a set time frame and in all weathers can certainly make for a pressured working environment.
Take confidence from your experiences when invited to graduate interviews and assessment days: if you could handle delivery work, you can succeed at interviews!
Use your delivery job to give examples when answering interview questions such as ‘How do you handle stress?’.
Resilience. This is having the inner wherewithal to not be completely thrown by setbacks. Your resilience will have been developed by any disappointments received on the job, for example missing out on shifts. When out on shift you may also have developed strategies to boost your resilience: one student cyclist we spoke to says her courier work gave her time to think over any worries.
Call on your resilience when, for example, taking part in assessment day case studies: it is not unknown for the scenario you are initially presented with to be changed by some new information a bit later on in the exercise.
Your delivery work might have given you examples that will help you answer interview questions such as ‘Describe a time when something didn’t work out as well as you’d hoped. What did you learn from the situation?’.
Customer service. You may need to make a delivery quickly, but you’re not rude to the customer, right? This job counts as an example of your customer-facing skills, which can also be written on graduate job descriptions as ‘client management skills’ or ‘a customer/service user/client focus’.
Emphasise your customer interactions on your CV by noting how many customers you typically dealt with per shift and any good customer feedback received.
Draw on your experiences to answer any interview questions about customer service and meeting customer/client expectations. These can range from ‘What does good customer experience mean to you?’ to ‘What would you do if a client was unhappy with the service they’d received?’ to ‘Tell us about a time when you exceeded someone’s expectations’.
Independent working. All employers want graduates who can be trusted to work on their own. Your time as a courier will have got you used to working and making decisions by yourself.
Use your delivery job as evidence of your ability to work independently (if it is a requirement on the job description) when writing your covering letter or answering application form questions.
Use your time on the delivery job to support or inform your answers to strength-based interview questions along the lines of ‘Do you work best on your own or in a team?’ and ‘Are you a self-starter?’.
Self-motivation and self-discipline. You can’t really be a good independent worker without these two qualities, and being self-motivated and self-disciplined is also a part of being driven. You would have improved your conscientiousness and your ability to motivate yourself by staying logged on to receive notifications of deliveries even when it is dark, cold and raining hard.
Use your delivery experience as an illustration when answering the interview question ‘How do you motivate yourself when doing a repetitive task?’
Adaptability. The very nature of being on a zero-hours contract, having to book shifts and changing your routes depending on delivery schedules, means that delivery work has prepared you to take a flexible approach to work.
If the graduate job or internship you are applying for involves rotations around the business, geographical relocations or unpredictable hours, explain in your application and interview how your delivery job has given you the skills to cope with those work-related changes.
During a graduate assessment centre, assessors will be watching how you respond to new situations and assimilate new information; your experience within a courier's unpredictable working environment will make you more comfortable with this.
Time management. Hand in hand with being flexible is the need to have good time management, both with regards to finding the quickest route when making deliveries and balancing your delivery work with your study and social commitments.
When writing about your time management abilities in your covering letter or on your application, explain how you juggled your delivery job alongside your other commitments and fitted everything in.
Use your delivery job as part of an answer to an organisation-related competency question such as ‘Tell me about a time when you had to prioritise lots of demands on your time’.
An understanding of risk assessments and health and safety. Again, this is not strictly a skill, but carrying out risk assessments and adhering to health and safety requirements are common work duties, particularly in the education, retail, hospitality, logistics and construction sectors. Making decisions about yours and others’ safety while on the road would have given you insights into conducting risk assessments and the challenges and importance of maintaining health and safety standards.
If the job involves making risk assessments or managing risk, you could mention your delivery work in your covering letter or bring it up as one of your points in answer to the interview question 'Why do you think you will be successful in this job?'. You could say that your delivery work has given you the mindset to assess risk and personal safety and explain how this ability would transfer to the job you are applying for.
More advice on how to get the graduate job you want
Our advice articles on the skills you need to apply for a graduate career will also be relevant if you want to showcase the competencies you’ve developed from delivery work in an application for a career in a different area.
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