When you receive your CDL training, your endgame is to earn a spot at a top trucking company in your region. While a clean record and the right attitude go a long way, a mix of professionalism and experience will help your career gain traction. Below are the main criteria that your dream trucking employer is looking for in a candidate.
How to Get Your Dream Trucking Job
You main qualification for a job at a top trucking company is whether you’ve driven truck routes before. It may feel like you’re falling into the classic, “I need some experience to get the job that will give me experience” paradox, but luckily, you only need CDL training and a few months on the road to land this bigger gig.
The essential component of your experience is your driving hours in the past year—whether it’s a few trips throughout the year or a full-time job for the last few months. If you have more experience beyond that, though, your employer will likely pay you more and give you better benefits. This difference can mean a lot, especially since companies pay drivers by the mile and only pay extras on periods like wait time when their truckers are more tenured.
Since you will be responsible for such a large machine, trucking companies want to assure your safety and the safety of those on the road. Top employers will typically analyze two main components during the hiring process to ensure this fact:
Good Health: You will often have to take a medical examination as part of your background check. This precaution is to assure that you will remain healthy during your long drives and that there are no health risks you have that could jeopardize that.
Clean Driving Record: Reckless driving is an immense concern for trucking companies. You need to prove with this record that you are a safe driver that abides by all traffic laws. Use a discussion about your driving record as a reflection of what you’ve learned through your CDL training. While the odd speeding ticket probably won’t ruin your chances if you effectively explain it, a DUI on your record in the last five years will almost guarantee that this job isn’t right for you.
Like any employer, a trucking company will want to know your motivation for doing the job at hand (besides money). In this industry, in particular, they need to confirm that you understand the long hours, strict deadlines, and time away from home that the job entails. They’ll look to see how you’ve handled these unfavorable aspects of the position in the past, which will require using concrete examples of successful shipments or long stretches on the road you’ve done in the past. If you have children, for instance, mention how you’ve balanced your obligations at work with your commitment to your family.
If you’ve recently received your CDL training, they will likely ask you why you decided to get your license. While honest pay and good benefits are reasonable motivations to get this training, if you are going for a longer driving route, talk about what appealed to you about being on the open road. Maybe you decided to do CDL training because you were excited to drive to new places and meet all kinds of people, or possibly you like long drives and thought you could use more independence than a desk job. No matter what your rationale, know your purpose for pursuing your career path.
Like any job, they also want to see that you’ve done your research about their company specifically and know how you fit into their dynamic. If the company has received an industry award recently, like “Best Trucking Company” in your area, list that as a motivation to work for them over other opportunities. Express that if you got the job, you would be committed to the success of the company for the long-term, and mention that you are available to start immediately.
As a driver, you are the face of your trucking company—you will do the day-to-day interactions with clients. Potential employers will take this factor in consideration when you interview for the job. Are you friendly yet professional? Do you look well-kempt? Are you dependable on the road? Would your employer trust you to interact with their clients on their behalf? These are the concepts you want to exude as you go in for your interview.
Professionalism also ties back to your previous experience, as your past work will reflect how you may act on the job. Employers will want a driver who is punctual over anything, as so much of the job hinges on meeting deadlines with your long drives. They also look for someone who is capable of adapting with the industry because of new trucking technology that regularly becomes available.
Beyond that, good character can help you get hired, which can be reflected by recommendations from former bosses, clear criminal records, proof of your CDL training, and how you talk about your life outside of trucking. A well-rounded person will more likely get the job over an individual whose whole life is their job; outside interests assure the employer that you aren’t at risk of burnout.
While you want to put your best foot forward, it is essential that you are honest about the circumstances that could be a threat to your application. If you have a criminal record, for example, most companies have a policy when hiring individuals with felony convictions. Some hire on a case-by-case basis, while others will hire those with felony convictions from more than ten years ago. In most cases, misdemeanors will not affect the recruiting process.
If you have a blemish on your driving record, prepare an eloquent answer explaining why you received a violation. Odds are if you have a DUI in recent past, you won’t get the job, but if you only have a speeding ticket, you will need to demonstrate how you have taken steps to avoid speeding going forward—maybe including a lesson you learned in CDL training. You should also be honest about your experience, and remember that even a few recent months of driving hours can go a long way.
Before you can cross the radar of big trucking companies, you need to have your commercial driver’s license and the proper training to accompany it. For over 30 years, people in Medina, OH, have trusted the Hamrick School to receive accredited CDL training to start their career driving trucks. With personalized instruction both in the classroom and behind the wheel, you will quickly learn how to safely and reliably transport goods for top trucking companies. The Hamrick School also organizes job fairs and company campus visits to assure you get the best job possible once you earn your license. For more information about their programs that are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), call them today at (330) 239-2229 or visit them online for more information.
The Hamrick School’s state and school license information are as follows:
OH Reg. #2057
ODPS License #1439-2369