Whether you’re thinking about going to a CDL school or are about to graduate, there are some things you need to know about getting hired as a truck driver. There are many jobs out there for truckers right now, but companies still want to hire the best. If you are one of several applicants for a specific job, you need to know how to make yourself stand out. When you know how to present yourself properly, you are more likely to get a job you really want.
There are some things you can work on to get a good position with a great company. Some of these will take more time than others, but when you focus on doing the right things in the beginning, you’re more likely to get that dream job you’ve always wanted. Consider the following things, and chances are you’ll be able to secure a great new job.
The Application Process
Filing out application after application is never fun, but it’s something that’s necessary for you to do. When filling the application out, make sure to write neatly. The last thing you need is for someone to like what they see in you, only to find they can’t make out your email address to schedule you for an interview.
Some companies will even use an application to see what your hand writing will be like while you’re on the job. Whether you have to fill out delivery slips or write down information about your trip, it’s never fun for office personnel to have to decipher someone’s writing. Think of your application as their first real look at you, and make it look professional.
When you’re applying for jobs, remember, there are a lot of good companies out there. Even though there is a need for truck drivers, all companies might not be hiring. Apply to all of the ones that interest you, not just one. If you only apply to one it could take a few weeks to find out they aren’t hiring any more. That’s time your application could have been in front of companies that are hiring.
Attach a Resume
When you attach a resume, chances are you will stand out from many other applicants. Although resumes have roughly the same information as what’s asked for on an application, this is the time to list even more. A resume gives you a chance to really get noticed. Maybe you’ve worked around loading docks and have driven forklifts before. You may not be doing that as a trucker, but having more skills shows you’re able to do more than just drive that truck.
Much like the application, you want to make sure your resume looks great. If you’re good with words, by all means, do it yourself. If you’re not sure where to start, consider hiring someone to write your resume for you. You can find resume writers online or some libraries have sessions where a professional will come in and help people to write their own resumes. Before turning in your resume, double check that everything is correct and spelled correctly. It doesn’t do you any good to have a great resume if your phone number is one digit off and the company can’t get in touch with you.
We put together a sample resume that you can download for free:
Choose Your References Carefully
When applying for a job, chances are you will be asked for references. They may ask for personal, professional, or a couple of both. If the company does want references, make sure to choose them wisely. Call the people you are going to list and ask them if they would mind giving you a great reference. You might be tempted to ask your friends because that’s the easiest thing to. Keep in mind though, easiest doesn’t always mean the best. Choose people who are good at speaking and communicating. Some people are just good conversationalists and that comes across on the phone when they talk. These are the kind of people you want to talk about how you’re the perfect person for the job. You want someone who can easily talk about you and all of your great qualities. They should be able to make you sound like the perfect person to hire. They shouldn’t stutter or think too long for the right word. They need to speak easily and in a friendly voice that is not too loud or too soft. They should be easy to understand and pleasant to talk with.
Before the Job Interview
When you get called for an interview, there are some basic, but very important, rules to follow. First, don’t be on time – be early. Even if you know exactly where you’re going, you don’t want to be late. You may find yourself in unexpected traffic or with a flat tire. Allow time for things like this because as the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Think about what you’re going to wear. Obviously the company doesn’t expect you to come in wearing a suit and tie. That doesn’t mean they expect you to come in wearing your favorite t-shirt with pictures of alcoholic beverages on them either. Consider something in the middle. Wear clean pressed slacks with a nice polo or button down shirt. Be well groomed and look as if you care about your looks. If it looks like you care how you look, it will look like you care about the job as well. Research the company that’s interviewing you beforehand. When the interviewer talks about the company you will be able to ask questions or talk with them like you know what you’re talking about, because you do.
During the Interview
When you first meet the interviewer, look them in the eye and firmly shake their hand while introducing yourself. During the interview, sit up properly and speak clearly. When talking, be sure to make eye contact and don’t be afraid to ask questions. The interviewer wants to know that you’re as interested in them as they are in you. If they say something you don’t understand, ask for clarification. Also, it’s important to not lie about your work history. If this isn’t your first trucking job and you got fired from another company, be honest about it. If you lie, chances are they will find the truth out and you won’t get the job anyway. If you’re honest, there’s a much better chance they will like that you are upfront and forthright. Say for example you were in an accident. You may want to explain that you were at fault but that it was a rookie mistake and you have learned from it. Tell them what you learned and what you’ll do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone is forthcoming about it. Being open and truthful will go a long way when it comes to them making a decision to hire you or to pass and hire the next person. Most importantly, be yourself. Don’t over think what you should say or it might make you nervous. Try and be as relaxed as possible while trying to be as professional as possible. When the interview is done, shake hands and thank the person for taking the time to meet with you. You can ask if they know when they will be making a decision or you can simply say you look forward to hearing from them.
If you’re currently working as a truck driver but want to move companies, consider additional training. When you can show you’ve got more endorsements, the company will know they can use you for a wide range of transports. This makes you more valuable to the company and also opens the door to a wider range of employers. Before you decide to change employers, take everything into consideration. Companies can vary greatly when it comes to benefits, retirement plans, amount of sick and vacation time, and more. Look at everything before you decide to make the switch.
Finding a Good Fit
Getting started in a new job can be an exciting time. When you go into it prepared, you’re much more likely to get a job you really want. When you find a good employer that’s a good match, there is a high likelihood you will stay with the company for years. This has several benefits. You’ll spend less time looking for another job, including filling out applications and going on interviews. Also, depending on the company’s retirement benefits, you may be doing yourself a favor by staying with a company for longer. Although you may be ready to get going on your new career, make sure to take the time to do some research and find companies that would be a good fit. If you can’t find a good match to start, take a job offer and make the best of it until you can find that perfect position. It might take a few years, but with determination, you can be working in a great career and with a great company.
Geoff is a freelance writer with 20+ years of experience in driving trucks and buses, dispatching, supervising, and training commercial driving teams. His expertise is writing topics on the transportation and trucking industry, and information technology trends.