10 ½ Tips to Finding a Better Trucking Job

By: Kyle Jernigan

If you're looking for a career in the transportation field, specifically as a truck driver, then there are a number of things you should keep in mind. Truck drivers are in high demand with a lot of companies, but the trick to finding a better job with better pay starts before you interview. It starts before you apply. It starts before you make a phone call.

There are a lot of openings, but few companies that are willing to pay a driver the top dollar for their miles. However, if you're careful, and follow these steps, you'll be well on your way to making more money, being home more often, and getting better benefits for you and your family. These days, it's not just about your driving experience that will lead you to a better truck driving opportunity, it's a bigger professional picture that if you make sure to do some of these recommendations, you'll get the job that you've been working for, for so many miles. Take a second, you deserve to know:

1.Make Sure You Have A Job Now. Imagine you're the recruiter. Do you want to hire someone that doesn't have a job? Potential hires are "hotter" prospects when they're currently employed. This means the new company has to make a better offer to steal you away from your current employer. Plus, if you have a job now, you don't have to worry about going without a paycheck.
2.Get Your Work History Together. Most employers will require all necessary info regarding your previous three (3) employers - minimum. Most of them also require your previous three (3) years worth of employers. If you've had several jobs, you'll need to be able to provide the names of the employer and supervisors as well as the phone number and addresses for all the companies. Yes, it's a chore to dig up, but it's worth it. Also, type it up or get it typed up so you have something professional to present to a new employer. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of truck driver jobs hunting.
3.Check Your DAC History. Your DAC driver history is a transportation company's way of checking your driving history before checking your MVR (motor vehicle report). It's a good idea to know what the recruiters see when they're looking up your info. Disputing your DAC can be a chore, just FYI, in the event something is incorrect. However, you knowing what's on there also means you don't go into a conversation or interview not knowing information, about yourself.
4.Check Your Personal Driving History. That's right, your personal driving history. It might show something different - could be good or bad - than what your DAC history or MVR shows. The best way to find all the info, and find it for FREE, is call your insurance company. The company that insures your personal vehicle has access to all of your info and can quickly and freely tell you all the info that's associated with you. Again, you knowing all the available info prepares you for any question you might be asked.
5.Make Sure Your CDL Is Current. Too many drivers try to find a job and realize that their CDL (commercial driver's license) is expired. Just how in the world is a trucking company supposed to hire a driver that does NOT have a current CDL? That's an impossible question that is asked but goes unanswered every day. This is something painfully obvious, but lots of to-be drivers don't have a current CDL.
6.Get Added CDL Endorsements. Yes, it's some extra cost, an extra test periodically, but high dollar freight takes a higher level of insurance which means the driver will be held to a higher standard of knowledge. Tanker drivers make more than van drivers. HAZMAT freight drivers make more than flatbed. Double and triple endorsements mean you can haul more freight, meaning you can make more $/mile.
7.Don't Have Your CDL? If you're going to school or to get training to obtain your CDL, you need to be aware of all of your options. Some of the big companies actually have their own school, will train you a minimal expense, and guarantee you a job when you graduate. However, they do sometimes require you to drive for them for a certain amount of time - which is fair - considering they footed the several thousand dollar bill of you obtaining your CDL. You might also go to an independent school or a lot of junior colleges have CDL training programs. You might have to get a loan or pay out of pocket, but you're on your own in terms of deciding you drive for in the coming months and years upon graduation.
8.Get Current on DOT and HOS Requirements - Both Federal and State. The federal regulations don't always exactly line up with the state regulations. You need to know the different rules of the road and rules of cartage for the freight, truck, time, speed of delivery with regards to the states you're traveling through because regulations can change just by crossing a state line. But, if you know this info in advance, you'll have a more successful driving career, because you'll know info other drivers don't. It might seem boring to research, but exceptionally helpful in a sticky situation.
9.Join Your State's Trucking Association. Every state has one and the dues are usually pretty reasonable. You can stay current on regulations while also learning the whos and whats of your state with regards to trucking. Again, this is info that you never know when it'll help you out. Also, if you get involved - even a little bit, you'll meet a lot of people with a lot of connections to the trucking industry, and that can quickly lead to better employment opportunities.
10.Be Extra Careful Driving. This is THE most obvious thing to keep in mind when trying to get a better trucking job. Think about it, safe drivers, with safe driving histories, get the best jobs. Why? They take their time, do what their asked, and do it without damaging cargo, equipment, or the company's name. You do that and you'll be the one getting the better pay, better home time, and bigger bonuses.
?.Do Some Research. You need to know what opportunities are out there. You need to know the names of the companies that are hiring. Go to your local truck stop and find some of the digest magazines, they're covered with advertisements. But if you really want to know all the trucking jobs info quickly, use the Internet. Go to a search engine and search for some companies or find a site that lists lots of companies that are hiring truck drivers. You can contact them, read about them, or apply with them, all from the convenience of your home. Imagine if you got a list of trucking jobs offers to choose what's best, versus, having to call a company and settle for what they give you. Also, when you interview, get a haircut first, shave, and dress up a little. You only get one opportunity to make a first impression, so be sure to make a great one.

Yes, this is a bit detailed, but it's also truth. Pay attention to some details, some small things, and you'll get big rewards. I've worked in the trucking advertising industry for about 8 years and these are just some of the general helpful hints that recruiters look for that drivers don't pick up on. If you'll cross all your I's and dot all your T's you'll be sure to be rewarded. Best wishes to you in you trucking career!

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