Get Your First Truck Driving Job
After weeks of hard work, long hours of study and some stressful tests, you have attained your CDL and now have the opportunity to drive a truck as your profession. Armed with this new license to operate a forty-ton vehicle on the open road, it’s now your responsibility to find the job that is right for you.
This task is more daunting then it seems because there are hundreds of opportunities nationwide and scores of companies trying to woo the new driver to pilot their equipment and make them money.
Which job is right for you and will offer you the rewards you desire is totally your decision, and this article will explain what you will encounter along the way.
After graduation, there are two paths to your first trucking job:
- Through your company-sponsored school.
- Looking for work after you get your CDL from a private trucking school.
After Company-Sponsored School
If you graduate from a trucking-company-sponsored school, you most likely have signed a contract to work for that company over a set number of months/years in order to pay for your education.
If finances are low prior to attending driving school, this way may seem the most enticing as there is typically no charge for school AND you have a job afterwards.
This solves the dual problems of affording school and obtaining employment.
Company-sponsored school is viewed by most applicants as a “fast track” to getting a job as a professional driver.
There are a few drawbacks to attending company-sponsored school, however.
These companies typically pay their new drivers less than a company where there is no contract in place because they know they have the driver “locked in”.
Companies with their own schools also are less forgiving for smaller errors as they have new drivers coming in all the time.
After Private CDL School
If you attend a private driving school, you have more options, but financially you may be expected to put up a good chunk of the tuition up front. Some students may not have an issue doing this, and it’s an excellent way to keep your options open.
Several trucking companies are linked to private schools, and upon graduation, your school will likely have a “career day” to meet recruiters and company representatives.
At career day, don’t jump at the first company to offer you a position. Look carefully at each offer, ask questions and do your research. Each company offers different perks, and each new driver must figure out what is most important to them.
While most schools have agreements with a few trucking companies to use the school for driver recruitment, there may be other companies that fit you better. Don’t limit yourself to the few companies that show up on “career day” because there are companies nationwide that will hire and train you.
Research Trucking Companies and Jobs
Set aside 8-16 hours to visit websites like ClassADrivers.com and job sites like Indeed.com to research all the trucking companies out there, especially in your area. It’s important to find the company that offers what you want.
Other experienced truck drivers are usually great information sources for good companies.
If a driver is happy, they will talk cordially about their company, but if they are unhappy most drivers won’t wait a second to tell you about it!
This research is important to get your first job. Your first truck driving job is very influential for the rest of your career.
If you leave this job prior to six months or a year, it can be very difficult to get another job.
Most trucking companies only hire drivers with at least a year of experience.
Your Worth As a Driver
The reason most trucking companies don’t hire rookie drivers is a simple matter of cost. And that cost stems from putting you on their insurance policy.
The more experience for the driver, the lower the insurance rate for the company. This makes sense because inexperienced drivers are more likely to have an accident. As a result, new drivers are at a disadvantage when it comes to getting hired.
You’re not fully marketable as a driver until you’ve got a good 100,000 miles under your belt.
In the information technology age, most companies have their applications online. This speeds up the process of getting hired. Sometimes you can even get a pre-hire letter offering you a position once you graduate. Having a commitment from a trucking company will definitely reduce your stress during school. Any reduction of stress during your CDL training helps you concentrate and retain more information.
During their first year of driving, some truckers become overwhelmed with the demands of the job. This is why it’s so important to find the right company and do your research.
In your first year, you will have ups and downs, but too much stress will lead you to become one of those disillusioned rookie drivers. Hitting that “rookie wall” sometimes proves too much to overcome. Learning stress reduction techniques and coping mechanisms will help most drivers through this demanding first year.
During your first year, no matter which school you attend, you will be required to do additional training with an experienced driver for a period of time. Driving with an experienced trainer or mentor allows you to hone your driving skills, learn how to navigate the country, and find your place in the transportation industry as a whole.
Pay attention to everything you see because this time with a trainer is invaluable. Trainers with even a few years of experience can show you priceless “tricks of the trade” and common sense approaches to most problems you may experience during this time.
ClassADrivers has created this guide to help you learn all about recruiters, pre-hire letters, what to expect during your training period, and more. Read on to learn the best tips to prepare for your new career as a truck driver.