Trucking School Counts
How you perform in trucking school is something that employers will look at if you don’t have a significant amount of work history after graduation. Simple little things like having perfect attendance and scoring high on exams and classroom exercises will help. Knowing your instructors and actively participating in classroom activities is critical. You don’t have to be the “teacher’s pet” but it is helpful to have a positive relationship with a couple of your instructors.
These people can provide both personal and professionals references and speak to your driving ability and overall performance on the road. Try to learn a bit about the instructors and choose a school that has well respected professionals leading classes to make the most of this aspect of your resume.
Prior Driving Record Counts
Your past driving record, just on your regular driver’s license, can be problematic for you even if your driving problems are well in the past. Things like DUIs, license suspensions, excessive speeding charges and other driving issues can make it more difficult for you to be seen as a good hire.
If you know you have any issues like the ones listed above on your driving record you may want to be proactive in discussing these issues with any prospective employers. If they happened in the distant past it will be easier to show employers that this is not an issue they have to be concerned with now you are a professional driver.
Watch your record and make sure all charges on the record are removed within the time limit of the issuing state. For DUI the charges often stay on your record from 7 to 10 years, but the specific time does change from state to state. You can also work with an attorney that specializes in expunging your record if you have any past criminal charges. This can be an expensive route but it will definitely increase your hiring potential.
Hire On As A Team /Temp Driver
You may be able to add some experience and work hours to your resume by contacting local small trucking companies and offering to drive as part of a team. You may also be willing to offer to drive as a “fill-in” or temp driver if a regular calls in sick or to add to a company roster during busy times of the year.
While you will not be guaranteed a set amount of work, if you do a good job you will start getting calls more frequently. Usually these jobs are not great pay and very few benefits will be offered, but you will be banking those all important hours in a truck. It also gives you a chance to work with other experienced drivers and get information on the company and the industry as a whole.
When you are applying for any job without a lot of actual real world experience on your resume you need to be flexible and show a willingness to work with the company. This is true if you are hiring on with a large international fleet or if you are hiring on with a local owner-operator with just one truck on the road.
Being flexible means that you are willing to take routes that others may pass on or even work shifts or hours that are not optimal. The good news is that employers do look at this as a commitment to the job and to the employer, which will help you out as you gain seniority. You will find that if you make an effort to do your best on those less desirable jobs better choices will be given to you in the future.
Don’t forget that short day routes working for a variety of different local companies also provides work experience. You may be required to do more physical work in loading and unloading with these types of jobs but they are all references you can add to your work history.