Public transportation keeps this country running, which is evident if you look at the sheer number of people employed in the industry. But then the coronavirus pandemic hit, followed by shelter-at-home orders in states across the U.S., and suddenly there was no public to transport. Ridership of the nation’s public transit systems plummeted since it mainly just consisted of essential workers who needed to get to and from work.
The fallout: many jobs in public transit have been lost due to the coronavirus and private contractors working for transit systems across the country are being cut.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, this country's dependency on public transit was evident. There were nearly 682,000 bus drivers, about 370,000 taxi drivers and chauffeurs, nearly two million heavy truck drivers and almost 35,000 train engineers employed nationwide.
Now TransitCenter, an organization working to reform transit systems to make them more accessible and environmentally-friendly, reports the possibility that public transit agencies could suffer an annual shortfall of as much as $26-$40 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The good news is that while the unemployment numbers are currently off the rails, the careers of people who've been laid off from public transportation roles won't necessarily hit the skids. If you have experience working in transportation, you've developed a set of skills that are critically important to essential business that are open and currently hiring in mass.
Transferable skills and training to emphasize on your resume
If you worked in public transportation, you have transferable skills that can be used in other roles. Transferable skills refer to valuable hard, technical and soft skills that are desirable across multiple industries.
For example, your experience in public transportation has likely allowed you to develop soft skills like communication and problem-solving, along with hard and technical skills like being licensed to drive a commercial truck or experience using scheduling software. Highlighting these critical transferable skills can help you get the attention of hiring managers both inside and outside public transportation.
For example, consider adding these transferable skills to your resume:
Hard and technical skills: Hard skills include railroad conductor technology, competent driving skills, geographic knowledge, vehicle maintenance. Technical skills include driving large vehicles, geographic knowledge, safe driving practices
Soft skills: customer service, empathy, teamwork, flexibility, communication, problem-solving
Certifications and Training: Transit Safety and Security Program (TSSP) Certificate, Commercial Driver's License (CDL), California Special Driver Certificate, Federal Railroad Administration Conductor Certification
Education: While jobs in public transportation don't always require a college degree, if you have a bachelor's degree be sure to add that to your resume. Or, if you've taken additional coursework, such as in management or finance, be sure to include that as well. If not, listing your high school diploma or GED will suffice. Driver or public transportation certificates should be listed under a separate header.
These industries are hiring people with your skills
If you were a truck driver, train engineer, bus driver, taxi driver or chauffeur, you might be qualified for one of these roles.
- Truck driver (for example, a truck driver for Walmart)
- Delivery person (for example, for Amazon)
- Shipping courier (for example, a driver for FedEx)
- Food delivery driver (for example, a driver for InstaCart or Domino's)
- Grocery store stocker (for example, at Publix)
- Shuttle driver (for example, for an assisted living facility)
- Hearse driver (for example, for a funeral home)
How to apply for these roles and what you'll need
When applying in person, you will need to have a current resume that highlights your relevant skills, a current email and phone number and identification such as a driver's license or passport.
If you're applying online, you will also need a current email address and phone number and an up-to-date resume that reflects the skills the employer is seeking. An employer may also request a cover letter, so have one ready to go before you apply.
How to find these jobs in your community
How to create a resume that will capture an employer's attention
While there is great demand for drivers at many essential employers and food delivery companies, a customized resume goes a long way. Study the job ad to determine which of your skills is most critical to the role. This will help you decide which to emphasize most in your resume.
In addition, while many employers are making the application process faster and more efficient by not requiring a cover letter, include one whenever possible. A brief, well-written cover letter that addresses why you want the job and what makes you a good fit will leave an impression, which is critical when there could be hundreds of other applicants applying for a single opening.
Text resume example: A bus driver applying for a truck driver role
Name: Dan Winson
Address: Rockford, IL 61103
Phone: (555) 555-5555
Qualified bus driver aiming to fulfill a truck driver role. Well-versed in maintaining efficient route times while retaining a diligent focus on safety. Solid foundation of knowledge and experience, including mastery of DOT regulations and safety protocols.
- Passenger interaction
- Local traffic regulations
- Local route knowledge
- Technology-based navigation
- Clean driving record
- Impeccable safety history
- Reporting and documentation
- DOT standards
Rockford Mass Transit District
July 2016 to Current
- Transported over 60 passengers daily safely along prescribed routes according to tight schedules.
- Assisted passengers with disabilities and other physical issues in boarding and exiting bus to promote passenger safety.
- Operated bus and navigation equipment in alignment with company safety, DOT and local traffic standards and regulations.
April 2012 to June 2016
- Adhered to scheduled routes and accomplished timely drop-offs and pick-ups to comply with preset route criteria.
- Provided passenger assistance including collecting fares and offering schedule and route information.
- Conducted pre-trip inspections of bus for safe operation.
September 2008 to February 2012
- Answered, scheduled and responded to reservation calls at specific times and locations.
- Stored passenger luggage and personal items with care for safety and security.
- Calculated rides costs, received money and returned change.
Education & Training
Bus Driving Training Program
Progressive Driving School – Rockford, IL
High School Diploma
Roosevelt High School – Rockford, IL