According to JOC.com, the number of truck drivers at smaller fleets dropped precipitously just as freight demand rose, so if you plan to find work as a truck driver, you might have a fighting chance. Just like any other industry, though, looking for work in the trucking industry can be difficult. There will always be competition that may be better and more qualified than you.
Becoming a truck driver isn’t as easy as driving a car. A truck is larger, heavier, and vastly different from the smaller convertibles you’re used to. Even if you consider yourself a good driver, a truck driving job is much more complicated than you’d think. If you’re up for the challenge, though, it could be just the career you’re looking for!
Read through our guide to getting a driving job if you are interested in becoming a truck driver:
1 - Meet the Requirements
Before you can apply as a truck driver, you must ensure that you have all of the requirements. No employer will consider you if otherwise, and this will also put you in a bad light.
To drive a Commercial Motor vehicle (CMV), you have to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). There are three classes of CDLs that determine which vehicles you’ll be allowed to drive:
A CDL Class A license will permit you to drive vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, provided the towed vehicle is heavier than 10,000 pounds.
This class includes 18-wheelers, truck and trailer combinations, tanker vehicles, livestock carriers, and more.
With a CDL Class B license, you’ll be allowed to drive any single vehicle that isn’t hitched to a trailer. This includes straight trucks, large buses, segmented buses, box trucks, and more.
A CDL Class C license allows you to operate a single vehicle with GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds or a vehicle towing another vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds or transports 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
You will be allowed to drive double/triple trailers, buses, and tank trucks.
To obtain a Commercial Driver’s License, you have to attend a CDL program at a truck driving school, pass the knowledge exam and skills test, pass a background screening, and undergo a physical examination.
You can acquire a CDL at 18 years of age, but you will be limited to driving within the state, and most trucking companies only hire those at least 21 years old. If you still want to be a truck driver at 18, you might be qualified for delivery jobs near you.
Some jobs will require you to have specialized licenses and certifications besides your CDL. These jobs may include transporting hazardous materials or involve transporting passengers.
2 - Maintain a Clean Record
Like any industry, trucking companies want to ensure that the person they hire for the job has a great attitude and professional behavior, especially while driving. Expect that your potential employer will perform background checks and screen for DUI incidents, moving violations on a driver’s record, and records related to driver health, safety, and working conditions.
3 - Identify the Necessary Skills
Depending on the job, employers will look for candidates with the specific skills they’re looking for. Don’t just blindly apply to any company; identify what skills they require from the truck driver they’re looking for and assess if you have what it takes. Some of the most common skills employers look for in a truck driver are:
Once you have all of the requirements in check, polished your resume, and honed your skills, you are now prepared to hunt for truck driving jobs! Know where to submit your resume—look for job openings in trusted job sites like DriversPost. Job hunting is a long and arduous process, so you must have the patience and commitment to get that job offer.
Are you having a difficult time looking for truck driving jobs? You may just find the right job for you in DriversPost! With over 10,000 job openings that are posted weekly throughout the U.S., we make finding careers in transportation much quicker and easier. Visit our website to submit your resume and sign up for job alerts today!