The time between earning your CDL and getting your first truck driving job can feel like months rather than weeks, years rather than months. When you’re eager to get started, it’s difficult to be patient, particularly when you’re looking to feed yourself and your family.
But there are some things you can do to prepare yourself for that first job, and to increase the chances that a trucking company will see you and decide that you are a good enough job candidate to actually hire.
And what exactly are those things? In short, they are the same things you need to get any other job, the clerical-type work that you as a wannabe truck driver have probably done your best to ignore, put off, or pretend you don’t need (because, truthfully, it’s the same stuff most of the rest of us look to avoid when we are applying for jobs). But you certainly do need it, and you likely won’t find the job you want until you do it.
If you’re looking for that first job, chances are good you’re already visiting job boards and employment sites looking for trucking industry opportunities. You can use a little technology knowledge to build your job pool by properly optimizing your job searches. Vary your keyword searches and be sure you’re casting a wide enough net. Of course you’re already searching “truck driving jobs,” search terms like “CDL driver,” “logistics specialist,” and terms of that nature. The more varied and creative you are, the more likely you will be to find jobs others have not.
We need to talk about your resume. Of course you want to add new jobs to that resume, but are you making the most of the experiences you have already had? That’s what building a resume is: telling everyone who may be a potential employer that you are in the context of your work history. What you do and what you have done.
If you haven’t re-written your resume to point your job skills toward truck driving, you aren’t quite a truck driver yet. Think about the skills that are most helpful as a truck driver, and yes, think beyond simply driving skills. Think about patience, communication skills, route knowledge, technical truck knowledge, and other skills and qualities that make a truck driver better. Then go back and look at your work history, job by job. Which skills and experiences at previous jobs readied you to build your skills as a truck driver?
Go through your resume and re-write. Be sure to add in how your experiences led to the improvement of the company in quantifiable terms. That means you were a direct part of the equation that made the company more successful. Which ideas did you come up with? How did your work do its part? Take some time and develop your resume, and continue to make tweaks and changes.
This is also a good time to begin boning up on your interview skills. Do a little more Internet searching, and find out what the “right” answer to those interview questions really are. Find out what the experts say are the common difficult interview questions and the right way to make yourself look good in an interview.
Building job-seeking skills are arguably as important to you as earning your CDL. If employers don’t know how good you are, they aren’t going to bring you on board, and they aren’t going to trust you to drive their rigs. Being skilled at telling them about yourself is a vital job skill, and you need that particular skill if you want to have a good career.