Careers advice

What skills do I need for a courier job in NZ?

Here are the goods you’ll need to deliver to an employer.

You don’t need to tell us here at Trade Me about how important couriers are. In the age of digital consumerism, couriers are a vital component in connecting individuals, as well as businesses.

And working as a courier has lots of benefits, especially if you’re not the type of person who sees yourself sitting behind a desk everyday. From flexible hours, to meeting a whole bunch of new people on a daily basis, there are lots of reasons to consider working as a courier.

But what do employers in this sector actually want to see? In this article, we’ll quickly break down the skills and certificates you’ll need to have so that you can apply to jobs with confidence.

Qualifications and certificates needed to be a courier driver

While you don’t need any formal education-based qualifications to apply for courier jobs in New Zealand, it should come as no surprise that you will need a driver’s licence.

A few notes about your driver’s licence:

  • It will need to be a full licence.
  • Most employers will want it to be completely clean.
  • You will need to have the licence that is relevant both to the type of vehicle you’ll be driving and, potentially, to any unusual goods you may be transporting. For example, there is a specific licence type if you’re couriering dangerous goods.

It’s also worth noting at this point that you’ll often see courier contracting jobs on offer on Trade Me Jobs. There are some great perks to working as a courier contractor – in particular, you’ll get to be your own boss! However, many employers looking for courier contractors will expect you to have your own vehicle suitable to whatever it is they want you to courier.

You'll need to hold the right licence for the goods you're transporting.

What soft skills do you need to be a courier driver?

1. Reliability and punctuality

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a late delivery, you’ll know how frustrating it is. Given that reputation is so important to businesses, employers really want courier drivers they can rely on.

Ensuring you’re always running to schedule will require great organisation skills, as well as discipline. It can be all too tempting, especially when you’re working on your own, to give yourself an extra five minutes’ break here and there, but this isn’t the way to go if you’re looking to consistently impress.

2. Communication and customer service

Whether you’re couriering goods to individuals, or from one business to another, you’re the face of the organisation, as far as the recipient is concerned. This means you need to be able to communicate effectively, and be a great ambassador for your company.

Listening well, and engaging with any concerns the recipient may have is key, especially if there are significant problems that need to be relayed back to the team back at your headquarters.

3. Good business sense

Because you’re going out and directly interacting with customers, you’re in a unique position. While it won’t be part of your job description, if you can pick up on selling opportunities and feed these back to product designers or the sales team, this will really help you stand out from the rest of the team.

4. Being a team player

Even though you might be on your own in the car or van, being a courier involves collaborating and coordinating with a variety of different stakeholders within the business.

As such, you’ll need to be good at building relationships and networks within the organisation, and communicating with these people in order to ensure the customer receives the right goods in a timely manner.

5. Attention to detail

As well as needing to pay attention to navigating yourself around your delivery route, you’ll also need to be meticulous in organising your packages to ensure you’ve always got the right stuff, in the right order. This means triple checking your inventory at the start of each shift, and verifying that everything was offloaded when it’s time to clock off.

6. Patience

Especially if you’re driving in larger cities (cough, Auckland), you’ll need to be able to stay cool and calm when unexpected traffic delays your route. Even if you’re working more rurally, you might need to deal with that most classic of New Zealand traffic problems – the livestock jam.