Why driving can improve your graduate job prospects

 In Job Searching, Student and Graduate Tips

At 17, Britons can start learning to drive with a provisional license. Many jump at the chance to pass their test and gain the independence of driving, without relying on public transport. Others may wait, not seeing it as a priority, or due to costly nature of learning to drive. However, an increasing number of graduate schemes list having a driving license as ‘desirable’. Click4reg.co.uk has explored the impact a driving license has on employability.

The Benefits:

Accessibility – Graduate schemes are competitive and difficult. It is no longer a case of just sending off a cover letter and CV, they are now attending careers fairs, assessment centres and networking events to kick off their careers. The ability to drive allows graduates to travel to various careers events across the country, to fully optimise their chances.

Being able to drive also means that candidates can give themselves a greater radius of which to look for positions, as being able to drive means they can access jobs that might be hard to reach by public transport.  Recent graduate Oliver comments:

“During my second year I tried to get an internship for the summer, but travelling from my university town to attend interviews across the country was costly and time consuming.

I turned my efforts to passing my test, and to my luck passed first time! I could then travel far more easily around to attend interviews and career fairs. I eventually found a job, and I love it”


Acquisition of skills
– People often forget just how many skills you pick up from learning to drive. Driving can develop your patience, hand-eye coordination, and ability to multitask and make on-the-spot decisions. All of these characteristics are beneficial to the work place. Patience is crucial when working with customers and clients, and when working within a team. Decision making is valuable for creative roles and sales roles.

The high-pressured theory test requires revision and practice and is carried out in exam like conditions, which are all good practise for interviews and assessment days.

Greater flexibility
– Many jobs list driving license as ‘desirable’, as many jobs need employees to be able to meet clients, customers and suppliers, and having a car makes this potentially easier as you have more control over the journey. Jobs nowadays are becoming more flexible. It’s no longer just 8 hours spent in the office, roles are diversifying and travel is often involved. Public transport is notoriously unreliable, with strikes, accidents, road works and irregular schedules, planning your own journey means arriving late is far less likely.

Sophie, who’s on the road three to four times a week in her role as a Graduate Supply Chain Coordinator:

“My job requires a lot of travel, and so driving license was listed as desirable on the job description. Luckily for me, I’ve been driving since college. 2 or 3 times a week I am meeting clients and suppliers across the South East. I believe having driving license on my CV did put me at an advantage of those who didn’t. However, I think it was my prior experience which gave me the real edge.”


Views from the experts:

Career coach, Zena Everett: “Yes, I think that passing their driving test is another string to a student’s bow – it shows energy, an ability to learn new skills and an appetite for life.  HOWEVER, we need to be wary of using this as a selection tool so that it doesn’t discriminate against less well-off students, who may not be able to afford lessons.  Therefore, it is certainly not one of the main factors employers should consider when hiring.”

Nisha Miller – Business Coach: “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 HR Officer of a construction firm: “We manage construction sites across the UK, so reliable transport is fundamental to a number of our positions. 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 far too unreliable. Our approach therefore changed to making driving the primary source of transportation to external sites. The majority appreciate the ability to have more direct control over their journey when driving”.

It has become clear that having a driving license is a CV booster in some cases, but not possessing a license is not the be-all-and-end-all. Most UK cities have reliable, efficient public transport systems. The vast majority of jobs don’t require a driving license, and even when desirable, employers would primarily look at past experience, skills and personality over the ability to drive.

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