Why Driving Can Improve Your Graduate Job Prospects
By: Louis Cooper
03 January 2017
Every young individual’s motivation to drive is different. Many can’t wait to pass their driving test so they can have the freedom to go anywhere they desire without being reliant on public transport or anyone else. Whilst many others would rather wait until they absolutely need to. With many graduate roles and schemes listing a driving license as ‘desirable’, click4reg.co.uk explored reasons why driving can really boost a students employment prospects when they dive into the competitive graduate job market.
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Ability to Attend Various Career Fairs
The job market is not how it used to be – a CV and cover letter alone is no longer enough. Students really need to be active in their job search. One of the best ways for students to get the attention of employers is through career fairs. With thousands of employers present, it’s the perfect place for students to talk to them face-to-face about the opportunities they have available and what they expect from their graduates. It’s the invaluable opportunity to gain more insight and leave a positive impression. With numerous career fairs throughout the country, the ability to drive will give students the chance to attend as many as possible. You might even get hired on the spot like Oliver:
“During my second year of University I was trying to gain an internship for the summer. I knew from the employability services at my University, that career fairs were vital towards achieving that goal. Unfortunately, what I did not realise is that for the companies that I was striving for, their presence at career fairs was darted throughout the country. Whilst I did use rail services to get to some of the fairs, others were not so accessible by public transport. Sadly, I didn’t get an internship but I did make it an objective of pass my driving test over that summer to avoid such obstacles. That decision paid dividends because during my third year, I was able to drive to a career fair, where I was offered a role by my current graduate employer. A career fair which I would have not been able to attend without my car” – Oliver, Graduate Digital Marketing Executive, Attended Sheffield Hallam University
Driving Skills Indirectly Boost Your Employability Skills
What many people don’t blindly realise is that they can enhance a range of skills from driving. One of the biggest skills acquired from driving is patience. The patience to anticipate different driving situations and staying calm towards other drivers. This can be translated into the working environment, where patience is fundamentally required when working in different teams and under constant pressure. Decision-making is a skill which is also developed through driving. Throughout each journey you are making multiple decisions which will affect the outcome of your journey. With every decision you’re thought-process improves. Similarly, coordination is also vastly better, because as a driver you’re using multiple senses such as sound and vision simultaneously. At work or university this translates to better multi-tasking such as being better at note-taking or typing whilst absorbing information.
Adds Value – Be A More Dependable Candidate
A lot of graduate roles and schemes list a driving license as ‘desirable’ because they need the ideal candidate to be able to visit clients, customers and suppliers across the country. As an applicant you can of course bypass this requirement by choosing to use public transport should you get the role, though this could be risky. When going for meetings you want to be punctual as possible. If you’re late, even though its beyond your control, you risk creating a negative impression of yourself and more detrimentally, the business. With public transport being notoriously unreliable, there is a high risk of this happening. Whilst roads would off course have some traffic, with a car you have more control over the journey. Through sufficient planning, you can leave early and identity shorter routes to arrive in good time without any disruption. With a car being accessible 24/7 unlike scheduled public transport, you won’t have to worry about arranging accommodation in the case you need certain timetabled trains or buses to get back.
We spoke to Sophie, who’s on the road three to four times a week in her role as a Graduate Supply Chain Coordinator for a world renowned clothing manufacturing: “Whilst always busy, this job is fantastic. I am frequently travelling up and down the UK, meeting new and existing clients as well as visiting suppliers. It’s truly exhilarating. My car has practically become a home away from home. When I applied for the job, having a driving license was listed as ‘desirable’ on the job specification and lucky for me, I had been driving since college. I believe it gave me a competitive advantage over applicants that did not drive, considering how much external stakeholder relationship management is required. I am thankful that I did have a driving license when I applied because it’s a role which I not only enjoy but the exposure gained from going across the country is priceless” – Sophie, Graduate Supply Chain Coordinator, Attended De Montfort University
Views From The Experts
Steve Benson a Graduate Roles Consultant from a London Recruitment Agency commented: “Over the last few years, we have certainly seen a continual rise in the number of graduate roles listing a ‘full driving license’ as a required or desirable attribute within their job specifications. These are jobs from a range of different sectors and fields. The ability to drive can therefore be hugely advantageous towards candidates credentials for a job role. My advice to students would be that, if you can afford driving lessons, then strive to drive. As a student, it’s that ideal period in your life where you get the luxury of spare time – so try to utilise it by learning something which will not only heighten your employment prospects but also allow you to gain a skill for life”.
Nisha Miller a veteran Business Coach commented: “Research like this is certainly fascinating. The ability to drive shows an energy and desire to learn new skills. Similarly, demonstrates an appetite to be self-dependent. Whilst driving is not one of the definitive indicators or factors to assess a candidate’s suitability, it definitely adds value to one’s job prospects”.
Laura Mcilroy a Human Resource Officer from an East Midlands located Construction firm commented: “A lot of the graduate roles that we advertise for our company do entail driving within the job specification. Since we do have a ton of client relations and construction sites to manage across the UK, driving has become a fundamental function to a number of our positions. In the past, we used to organise a combination of rail and taxi travel for our employees but after multiple instances of delays as well as cancellations – we decided it was highly unreliable to carry on making such arrangements. Our approach therefore changed to making driving the primary source of transportation to external sites. The switch in strategy was hugely welcomed by all our employees, including the graduates. The majority appreciate the ability to have more direct control over their journey when driving”.
Ben Leonard Managing Director of Click4Reg.co.uk commented: “Whilst character, ambition and employability skills are the driving factors which determine whether a graduate candidate is suitable or not. A lot of businesses, now more than ever require their applicants to travel across the country, thus driving tends to be central to the job role. So why limit your employment prospects by not driving? As research like this shows, little things such as driving can definitely add a valuable edge to your applications and CV”.