On March 15, 2020, Darien Ridenour started her shift at a French cafe and bakery in Chicago, but she never imagined it would be her last day as a barista.
"I was told the owner would call me in August to let me know if they needed me," the 21-year-old art student said. "August came, no call."
She needed money, so she found odd jobs. In the months following her layoff, she packed orders, house sat, and participated in work-study for her college. But the best-paying gig was delivering bikes for Peloton. When that work dried up in April, she landed a position at a sushi restaurant.
"It had amazing pay too," Ridenour said about the Peloton job. "I was excited to not stress about money anymore."
As Ridenour's story illustrates, driving has been a well-paid haven for millions of job seekers during the pandemic. One of the few economic bright spots, when the economy shuttered, there are about 126,000 more couriers today than there were in February 2020. Even before the pandemic, delivery driving was expected to grow by 5% through 2029, faster than the average for all jobs.
From FedEx delivery positions (which now pay up to $25 an hour) to long-haul trucking, hiring continues at a fierce pace in this sector as Americans spent 39% more online with U.S. retailers in the first quarter of 2021 than they did during the same period in 2020, despite vaccinations.
While the long-term prospects of driving are mixed due to self-driving vehicles, driving in the short- and medium-term remains a strong employment option for women seeking decent pay and good flexibility. Here are four jobs to consider when you begin your job hunt.
4 driving jobs women can get now
- Delivery driver: Much of the recent growth in driving has been led by delivery. Making an average of $34,340 per year, delivery drivers are responsible for picking up, transporting, and dropping off packages. Another benefit of this position is you don't need additional certification. A basic class D driver's license will suffice.
- Bus driver: There are two different routes to consider if you want to become a bus driver: school buses versus public transit. Both require a commercial driver's license (CDL) to operate. You may, however, be able to earn the license on the job, depending on the employer. Generally speaking, public transit pays significantly better than schools do.
- Taxi driver: These days taxi and ride-hailing drivers face stiff competition from Uber and Lyft. Between the two, employment in this occupation is expected to grow by 20% over the next eight years. In addition to hand-eye coordination and visual ability, taxi drivers need solid customer service skills, patience, and dependability.
- Truck driver: While the media has focused on how truck drivers, and other types of heavy-duty CDL drivers, will be replaced by self-driving cars, it will likely take decades for that to happen. As it stands, at an average salary of $47,130 per year, trucking is a solid, middle-class job. To drive heavy-duty trucks, you must have a CDL, and you'll need to get an endorsement to drive certain types of trucks. Truck drivers transporting hazardous materials, for example, must have an H endorsement.
How to write a driving resume
Now you're ready to write your resume. There are three different resume formats you'll want to consider:
Functional resume format: Best when you're new to the industry or have significant gaps in employment
If you're transitioning from a different industry into trucking, a functional resume will help you foreground your transferable skills. Hand-eye coordination, visual acuity, dependability, punctuality, and, for taxi drivers, customer service skills are all key components of a driving career.
Combination resume format: Perfect when you want to put equal emphasis on your skills and work experience
You give equal weight to your skills and work experience with a combination resume. Make sure to highlight the transferable skills relevant to driving, like good time management skills and basic maintenance knowledge. Meanwhile, you can highlight the parts of your work history that involve driving, like picking up gigs on a ride-sharing app.
Here's an example of what a combination resume might look like:
Chronological resume format: Great when you can show solid career progression and clear achievements
The chronological resume is the gold standard for those who have been steadily advancing their career. It puts your achievements and career progression at the forefront. Use the chronological format to show employers you have a strong, consistent track record as a driver.
Here's an example of what a chronological resume might look like:
How to explain career gaps on a driving resume
Most drivers experience periods of unemployment, especially in parts of the country where population or industry are on the decline. Since employers will expect some gaps on your resume, you may not need to explain them at all.
Nonetheless, if employers decide to ask, you should be ready to discuss what you did during your downtime. Taking time off to care for family members is perfectly reasonable. Beyond that, here are a few things to consider about your career gaps:
- Any driving done for ride-sharing companies counts as employment and should be added to your work history section.
- Training and classwork completed should be highlighted. Pursuing your CDL is a great reason to take time away from work, for example, and employers love knowing you have the initiative to advance your career.
- Mechanical knowledge will be respected by employers in the driving sector and basic knowledge in vehicle maintenance. You should include these skills on your resume and be prepared to discuss them in interviews.
Find a driving job with a flexible schedule
Many jobs in driving offer flexible schedules, but not all jobs are equally flexible. Taxi drivers and ride-share drivers can make their own schedule, especially in big cities with a shortage of drivers. Delivery driving, as well as bus driving, is less flexible but still offers opportunities for part-time scheduling.
Long-haul truck driving, on the other hand, is a major lifestyle choice. You can be on the road for weeks at a time, spending much of the drive alone. Some will find this tiring, and it is much harder to balance with other obligations. Look for jobs in this field on the major job boards and industry-specific sites like JobsInTrucks and CDLjobs.com.
For women facing unique challenges in getting back into the workforce, you have to find a job that fits your schedule and meets the demands you face outside of the workplace. Starting your search with a top-notch resume designed to land jobs currently available will give you a wider range of employment options.