Category: Resume

How to Pay for CDL Driving School

how-to-pay-for-CDL-driving-school

In today’s job market, the decision to earn a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) is almost a no-brainer.  Every day, the need to ship goods all around the country grows and qualified truck drivers are in increasingly high demand.  To keep up with the demand for truckers, trucking companies are offering more and more incentives to attract drivers like higher pay, sign-on and other bonuses, and shorter routes for more regular schedules.  These opportunities can be yours if you earn your CDL. But how do you pay for the training?

 

Depending on the school and region that you get your CDL, it generally will cost anywhere from $3,000-$7,000.  Other factors that can affect the cost are how much time is spent in the classroom and on the road, the reputation of the school and whether or not the class includes board for the duration of the class for students who need it.  

If you don’t have thousands of dollars to pay for your schooling up front or don’t want to spend years pinching your pennies to save for it, there are several options available that’ll help you make your dream of driving a truck a reality.

 

Financial Aid

Many schools offer financial aid to help pay for a CDL for those who qualify.  They may offer private grants, federal grants, scholarships, and if you are a veteran who is eligible for the GI Bill, you can use those funds for your training.  Some schools allow you to finance through them, but get all of the facts before you sign. Their interest rates may be extremely high compared to your local credit union.

Take Out a Loan

If you have good credit and have something of value for collateral, you may be able to take out a loan from a bank or credit union.  If you do this, be sure to shop around for the best rate. However, taking out a loan can be extremely risky. What if you’re halfway through your training and you realize that becoming a truck driver isn’t for you?  Now you’re left with a loan to pay back and if you can’t, you risk your good credit and losing your home, car, or whatever you used for collateral.

 

Shorter Course Duration

There are schools that offer less expensive, speed courses to get your CDL.  Sure, this can save money but quickie CDL training is less desirable to employers who want to hire drivers who know what they’re doing.  If you’re taking a two-week course, you’re not going to get the same thorough training that you would in a more comprehensive course. It also means you’re not getting much driving time.  It’s important for your own safety as well as the safety of others, that you get extensive training before you hit the open road on your first job. Trucking companies don’t want truckers who speed through a short course; they want drivers who have taken the time to learn.  Training from a good, comprehensive training program will help land you a better job and be a better driver.

 

Paid CDL Training

Paid CDL training is company-sponsored CDL training.  These schools are usually owned and operated by trucking companies who will pay for your schooling as long as you agree to work for them for a period after you’ve been certified, usually 6 months to a year.  Some may require you to pay them back during the contract period in which you’re working for them or some may have you pay up front and they’ll reimburse you upon completion. Companies who do tuition reimbursement may not pay you a lump sum when you’re done.  Instead, they may pay you $100-200 a month until it’s paid off which can take a long time.

If you don’t want to be locked into a contract, pay upfront and be reimbursed after you’ve earned your CDL.  You could possibly lose your reimbursement but have no obligation to work for the company if you change your mind.  However, getting locked into a contract with a trucking company shouldn’t automatically be a bad thing. When you earn your certification, you’ll be a rookie.  Any company who hires you is taking a chance that you’ll be a safe and productive driver for them. It’s a good idea to stick around for the first year and not only learn the ropes but to show potential employers that you have longevity.

Paid CDL can be a great option.  The company is investing in you, and they want their drivers to be able to do the job well and to drive safely so they’ll take the time to train you properly.  If they’re not doing that, they’ll lose money on their investment.

The company will also be training you on the equipment you’ll be be driving and teach you their own procedures which will make your first day on the job go much more smoothly.  

 

Be Sure

Do plenty of research to determine if driving a big rig is for you.  While it’s difficult to be certain until you get behind the wheel and on the road, if you can look closely at all of the angles ahead of time, you might save yourself some money.  There’s ample information online about the ups and downs of life as a truck driver. If you know someone who drives a truck, ask if you can ride along for a day and get a feel for what it’s like.  Driving a truck is not an easy job but it can be rewarding and lucrative.

 

Before you decide which route to take, research the trucking companies in your area with a good reputation and that you plan on applying at when you graduate.  Do they have their own trucking school? If you choose their school and they pay for your CDL, you’ll be hired when you’ve successfully completed the course.

If you choose to pay for it yourself, check out several schools thoroughly before you commit to one.  They’re not all the same and you should choose your school by what you’ll get out of it―not merely your CDL but the individual attention and ample classroom and driving time they have to offer.  Classroom time is important too but driving a big rig is something that requires hands-on learning.

Earning your CDL can be the first step to a long and successful career in the trucking industry.  Whether you want to join a large trucking company or you aspire to be your own boss as an owner/operator, it all begins with your CDL training.  With all of the incentives and aids to help drivers afford training, your rewarding career in trucking can be just around the corner.

If you’ve earned your CDL and you’re looking for that first great job, look no further than Trucker Search.  Trucker Search gives truckers a place to post their resumes where they can be seen by thousands of potential employers, as well as search the database of hiring companies themselves.  It’s a fantastic resource for truckers who are just starting out or seasoned drivers looking to find a new job. Start your search today at TruckerSearch.com.

 

What is a HazMat Certification?

what-is-hazmat-certification

To be successful in any field, it’s important to be a hard worker, safety conscious, and versatile.  Versatility in a truck driver is the ability to adapt in order to get a job done, whether it’s taking on a new route, literally going the extra mile, or being able to haul any load.  In order to be able to haul anything, CDL endorsements are needed, each requiring additional testing. The CDL endorsements are T (Double/Triple Trailers), P (Passenger Vehicles), N (Tankers), H (Hazardous Materials) X (Tanker plus Hazardous Materials), and S (School Bus).  Hazardous materials are potentially dangerous cargo that falls into one or more of the following categories:

  1. Explosives
  2. Gases
  3. Flammable Liquid and Combustible Liquid
  4. Flammable Solid, Spontaneously Combustible, and Dangerous When Wet
  5. Oxidizer and Organic Peroxide
  6. Poison (Toxic) and Poison Inhalation Hazard
  7. Radioactive
  8. Corrosive
  9. Miscellaneous

 

Because of their potential danger, hazardous materials need to be handled differently than other materials.  Besides proper handling procedures, drivers need to be trained on what to do if there’s an accidental spill.

Having a HazMat certification makes drivers more marketable. Trucking companies look for truckers who have obtained their HazMat certification because they want drivers who can drive any load, even if they rarely handle hazardous materials.  Typically, drivers with their HazMat certification find jobs quicker and earn higher pay because they are in higher demand and there’s less competition.

Since 9/11, those looking to be certified to haul hazardous materials have faced strong scrutiny due to the increased threat of hazardous materials being used to cause harm to the public. Strict requirements have been put in place.  In order to transport any materials that are deemed hazardous, a hazmat certification is required. HazMat Certification applicants must have:

  • A current CDL
  • Proof of full legal name
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent legal presence
  • Proof of identity and date of birth
  • A Social Security Number
  • A valid DOT medical card

 

And must also:

  • Pass the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Knowledge Test
  • Pass a TSA criminal background check
  • Pay all associated fees

 

These requirements vary from state to state and individual state requirements can be found here. The HazMat test covers Federal and State HazMat regulations, how the various materials are transported, and the proper way to safely load and unload them.  

Failing to pass the HazMat test or meeting the aforementioned endorsement requirements has no effect on a driver’s CDL.  The TSA will notify applicants whether or not they have been cleared after they receive all the information they need for a criminal background test.  A failure can be appealed as long as it is done within 60 days.

Obtaining a HazMat Certification is a great way for drivers to expand their knowledge and open more doors.  Specialized truckers who can handle any job are always in high demand.

For drivers with a HazMat Certification, Trucker Search can be a useful tool in finding hiring companies looking for HazMat drivers.  It has searchable jobs so truckers can see exactly what hiring companies are looking for and it allows truckers to post a resume that includes all qualifications along with any added endorsements.  It’s a web-based service that’s quick and easy to use and a vital tool for truckers in search of great companies to work for. Start your search today at TruckerSearch.com.

 

Sources:

 

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Nine_Classes_of_Hazardous_Materials-4-2013_508CLN.pdf

 

https://www.dmv.org/articles/how-to-apply-for-a-hazardous-materials-endorsement/

 

https://www.dmv.org/cdl/hazmat-endorsement.php

 

https://www.dmv.org/apply-cdl.php

 

Why You Should Consider Sticking with Your First Trucking Company After Your First Year

stick-with-your-first-company

You’re a newbie to driving a truck.  You got your CDL and you’ve found a company willing to take a chance on you and give you a shot.  It’s their hope that they’re making a good investment and they’ve found a new, dedicated driver who’s going to build a long and fruitful career with their company.  

For many drivers, that first company is merely a stepping stone to bigger and better things.  The companies that pay the most money have the ability to hire the most experienced drivers and you, fresh out of truck driving school, are not one of those.  So your plan is to gain some experience with the first trucking company to hire you and then hit the road (get it?).

Those trucking companies that hire entry-level drivers tend to have a high expectation of failure.  In fact, many of them lose 90% of new drivers in the first year. But you’re not one of those either.  You do your job well and understand that there will be bumps in the road (get it?) but you’re gaining experience that will only further your career.

In a sea of quitters, you made it, you prevailed.  Now, a year after you began, you’re considering moving on but should you?  If you leave after a year, you become a newbie all over again at a new company.  Does it make sense to leave a company where you’ve proven yourself only to be back on the bottom rung needing to prove yourself all over again?  

When you started middle school, you were the little guy who didn’t know where anything was or what to do but eventually, you proved yourself and made to 8th grade.  King of the hill. Life was good. Then what happened? You went to a new school with different rules and you didn’t know where anything was. You were a lowly Freshman.   At the bottom again.

That’s what it’s like to go to a new company after a year.  You become a Freshman and have to prove yourself all over again.  Of course, this isn’t to say that not moving to a new company is always the right decision.  After all, what would’ve happened if you stayed in 8th grade?  You would’ve been stunted. And it would’ve been weird for the other kids.

At your first company, you exceeded expectations so why not see where it goes?  Companies that hire entry-level drivers aren’t inherently bad companies to work for.  They may very well value those who make it through their rookie year and reward them with some great opportunities.  If you can do the job safely and efficiently, you’ll begin to gain respect. After a year with your first company, they will look at you differently.  They’ll realize that you’re less of a risk and are dependable. They’ll know they can depend on you to do the job efficiently with minimum issues which means you’re maximizing their profitability.  After a year, you’ve worked out all of the kinks, learned all of the procedures and tricks and you can give your employers smooth, on-time deliveries.

Once you’ve proven yourself with a year of dedicated service, you should receive a decent increase in pay as well as the opportunity to earn some hefty bonuses.  Working your way up the ladder and earning a reputation as a good producer can open you up for better jobs whether they are specific jobs within the company or simply be trusted with better routes.

Ultimately, only you can make the decision to stay or go.  Because many people move on after they’ve gained some experience, you may think it’s what you’re supposed to do.  Don’t make that assumption. Weigh all your options but remember you may already be in a position where you are highly valued and can make a successful and profitable career.

Trucker Jobs Galore: Why the Old Way of Finding Trucking Jobs is Terrible and Why It’s Time to Embrace the New

trucker-jobs

Nobody likes looking for a job.  After hours of compiling or updating your résumé, you turn to the internet.  You Google “trucker jobs”. Google returns an infinite sea of job sites.  Okay, you take a deep breath and pick one of the more popular jobs search sites.  You input your criteria and after a few seconds, you get a list of jobs. As you peruse them, you realize that many of them require licenses you don’t have or you’re overqualified for many of them or that many of them aren’t even for truck driving jobs.  Frustrated, you pick up the help wanted section of your newspaper. Nothing. You make a list of major trucking companies that you know and begin viewing each of the websites, finding their careers section, and uploading your résumé to each one.  Within a half hour, you get up and walk away from your computer, resisting the urge to throw it out the window, as you go outside to contemplate your life choices.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Trucking Companies are Desperate

Today, trucking companies are in a scramble to find truckers to fill openings.  According to a 2017 truck driver shortage analysis by the ATA, in 2016, there was a shortage of 36,500 truck drivers, and if that rate continues, that number is expected to swell to 174,000 by 2026.  

It’s not just Amazon that is driving the demand for drivers.  Online shopping has always been a boon for small retail companies by allowing them to compete on a level playing field without the expense of brick and mortar stores, but now big retailers like Target and Walmart are finding success with huge increases in their online sales.  This shortage is causing shipping costs to skyrocket, and consumers are beginning to incur those costs in the form of higher prices for goods. While this is bad news for consumers, it is good news for truckers. Many companies are desperate for driver and will offer higher pay and better benefits to their drivers.

Life on the road isn’t always an easy one and long hauls can be physically and mentally demanding and keep you away from your family for long periods of time.  This is one of the biggest reasons that potential truckers are turned off. Fortunately, the shortage is making trucking companies rethink the way they do things, and many are now offering shorter runs so their truckers can be home with their families more.  Retailers are opening more warehouse “hubs” so hauls are broken up into shorter legs.

The high demand has also caused salaries for drivers to skyrocket too.  The U. S. Labor Department says the median salary for truck drivers is around $44,000, but many companies today are hiring at $80,000+ to fill trucking positions.  When salaries in most industries have remained stagnant over the last several years, trucker salaries have been going up 8% to 12% yearly.  Along with sign-on bonuses, 401Ks, and other benefits, the time is ripe to make a great living as a truck driver.  If you’re not a licensed driver yet, some companies are even offering to pay for potential employees to take the course that is required for a CDL license which can cost as much as $8,000.

A Better Way to Search

There are many ways to look for a trucking job.  You can search print ads, bulletin boards at truck stops, help wanted ads in trade publications, social media, and driver application events.  You can search online job sites but they don’t do a very effective job filtering out jobs you wouldn’t be interested in and you may find yourself sifting through a lot of jobs that don’t meet your qualifications.  All of these ways take up a lot of time and lead to a lot of dead ends. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way that you could post your résumé and have interested companies contact you? Or what if you could search a database of only trucking jobs available in a region you choose?  

There is!

TruckerSearch.com allows you to search for trucking jobs and have trucking companies search for you.  Only trucking jobs and only what you’re looking for. Fill out an application with your relevant information, and TruckerSearch will match you with companies looking for you.  It couldn’t be faster or simpler.

If you’re tired of spinning your wheels and want to get back out on the road, go to TruckerSearch.com and find your dream driving job!

Truckers: What Should Be on Your Resume?

trucker-resume

With the current shortage of drivers in the trucking industry, you may be thinking that you can merely snap your fingers and you’ve got yourself a gig.  Perhaps. But is the job you really want? Does it have the hours you want? Does it have the pay you want?

The truth is, it may not be that difficult to land a job as a trucker right now but these are typically the lower-paying jobs that few really want.  The jobs that have high pay and good benefits are still highly competitive and if you want one of those jobs, it’ll take some work that includes a good resume.

A hiring manager could post a job and receive 2 applicants or 200.  You don’t know. Assume there are 200, and ask yourself this question:  

Will my resume rise to the top of the pile?   

Style

They say that you can’t judge a book by its cover and while this is true, it’s often the cover that catches our eye and prompts us to pick up the book and read the back to see what it’s about.  This is what the style of your resume is for. A plain black and white list of your accomplishments, no matter how outstanding you may think they are, will be lost in a sea of other plain, black and white lists of accomplishments.  

Use color but very little and don’t use anything too bright.  Dark blue, hunter green, or grey can add a professional look but should be used sparingly, such as a line separating your identifying information from the rest of the resume or an outside border.  It’s important not to distract from the information on the resume. Color should only be used on paper resumes, however. When applying on online sites such as TruckerSearch, resumes should be black and white only.  A color that you choose on your computer may not look the same at the other end for the hiring manager so it’s best to not risk it looking bad.

Use legible fonts.  Again, if you’re using unusual fonts, the hiring manager may not receive them the same way so you should stick with popular fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Verdana.  Keep the size at 12 points but you can make headings 14 so they stand out a little or make them bold, italicized, or capitals.

Make sure there is some white space.  If everything is crammed together, it will be difficult to read.  At the same time, double-spacing will make it seem empty and resumes should be kept to one page, if possible.  

Opening

After your contact information, include a brief 2 or 3 sentence summary of who you are and what you can do for the business at which you’re applying.  These sentences shouldn’t be too detailed, simply a couple of your main selling points.

Example:  

Truck driver with over 15 years of experience making on-time deliveries operating reefers.  Proficient in light truck repairs and maintenance and possesses CDL as well as HAZMAT certification.  

Of course, all of these things should be highlighted within the body of the resume as well but the short opening paragraph should entice the hiring manager to read further.  

Body

Here’s where you put the meat of your experience and qualifications.  List your experience in reverse-chronological order as your latest experience is usually the most relevant.  Read the description of the job you’re applying for and make sure that any of those experiences or qualifications that you possess are emphasized in the resume.  You want them to know that you’re the applicant they’ve been looking for.

Be specific as much as possible; don’t speak in generalities.  A hiring manager wants to know what you can specifically do, not what you can generally do.  Highlight your strengths.  Ask yourself how you will benefit the company.  It’s not just about your experience and qualifications (although be sure to include all of those!), it’s also about what they can expect from you.  On time. Safe driving record. Ability to lift cargo. Good customer service skills. Math skills. Have you trained anyone? What types of vehicles can you drive?  They need to know you’re everything they’re looking for and more.

After your experience and qualifications, include an “activities” or “interest” section.  You may wonder why this would have anything to do with a job driving a truck but it does. If you do any kind of sports or weightlifting or running, it will show them that you’re fit.  Long hours spent in a truck can cause health issues and they want someone who isn’t going to be out sick all of the time. If you’ve done a martial art in the past, include that. It shows that you are disciplined.  Include any volunteer work you do. It shows you care about your community. Be selective, however. The activities section should be brief.

Action Words

Some of the action words that you should include on your resume if they apply are:

Reliable Repair Unload Freight
Dependable On-time Clean Driving Record
Clean Pick up HAZMAT-certified
Conduct Lift Security
Deliver Operate Checklist
Load Perform Delivery Schedules
Maintain CDLA Operator
Transport Record-keeping Customer Service
Verify Safety Vehicle Maintenance


Your resume should be an overview of who you are and what you bring to the table.  It should be thorough yet to the point.

At TruckerSearch, we know there are many great truck drivers out there looking for great jobs.  We make it easy to post a resume for top companies to see. Or search our database for jobs and email them your resume directly.  It couldn’t be easier. So polish up that resume and go to TruckerSearch today!

Why Becoming a Truck Driver May Be Just the Thing for You

becoming-a-truck-driver

Maybe college wasn’t for you.  Perhaps the thought of going into serious debt for the foreseeable future turned you off to it or maybe it was four more years of school that didn’t appeal to you.  What you’re left with are low-paying, dead-end jobs that don’t pay enough to support yourself, let alone even think about supporting a family.

There is another option.  Becoming a truck driver. You, behind the wheel, wind in your hair, no boss standing over you asking you if the fries are done.  

But driving a truck doesn’t pay much, does it?

According to the Wall Street Journal, some private fleet drivers earned as much as $86,000 in 2017, up from $73,000 in 2013.  Currently, there is a shortage of drivers and many Baby Boomers set to retire on the horizon which is driving up the salaries of CDL-trained drivers.  As further incentive, some companies are offering significant bonuses―some in the tens of thousands range―for signing up with them, as well as excellent benefits packages.

I need a special license, don’t I?

Yes.  Typically, you need a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) which can be obtained in a couple of months or less and it usually costs between $3,000 and $7,000 depending on the school.  Federal aid may help pay for the class if it meets their requirements. The good news is that some trucking companies are offering to pay the cost of your CDL training if you agree to work for them when you graduate.

Isn’t it an unhealthy lifestyle?

It doesn’t have to be.  Driving is a sedentary job, as is sitting behind a desk staring at a computer monitor all day.  Trucking companies realize this and are encouraging their employees to exercise more by installing walking paths at their place of business or starting basketball or softball leagues.  Many offer wellness programs as part of their benefits packages that include discounted gym memberships.

Truck stops are beginning to catch on as well by offering healthier food choices so you’re not stuck with unhealthy fast food.  To take things a step further, Carnegie Mellon University has been designing trucks to have all of the comforts of home including small kitchenettes so truckers can cook healthier meals for themselves while they’re out on the road.

Won’t I be away from home for weeks on end?

Trucking companies are becoming more sensitive to the fact that drivers want more time at home so they can have a normal social life or start a family.  Many are offering short hauls that run regionally. Add to that the changes in how consumers buy things and how quickly they expect to get their purchases, many retailers are building more distribution centers to get their products to their customers more efficiently, which means shorter runs for truckers.

It’s lonely on the road, isn’t it?

Long hauls can be lonely.  But many trucking companies are open to truckers bringing a pet with them on the road.  “Bring Your Dog to Work Day” can be every day! For long trips, technology has eased loneliness by allowing them to Skype with their family back home and bring along comforts like Netflix to pass the time.  Truckers are friendly people and participating in trucker forums and other social media may allow you to meet some friends on the road.

Don’t I have to be 21?

Not necessarily.  Currently, if you are under 21, you can get your CDL but you cannot drive across state lines.  You may be able to find a company that can oblige until you’re 21.

On March 21st, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives that would abolish the under 21 rule.  The bill requires that drivers between the ages of 18 and 21 log 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver in the cab.  Many feel this bill is just a common sense way to solve the driver shortage. Passage of the bill would be likely to relieve the shortage and also provide a solution for people who are looking to begin a good-paying career right after high school.  

Won’t trucks be automated in the future?

The keyword there is future.  There are many safety and legal concerns with driverless trucks, and even if these can be overcome, it doesn’t mean that they’ll be completely autonomous.  Truckers may need to adapt to a different definition of what it means to drive a truck but this isn’t expected for many years down the road.

No one claims that being a truck driver is an easy job but with all of the added pay and benefits currently being offered, it can be a lucrative one.  And with TruckerSearch.com, you can post your resume for potential employers or actively search our vast database of available jobs. We make it quick and easy to find a good, high-paying job.  Kick off your career in the trucking industry by going to TruckerSearch.com or call (888)254-3712 and answer the call of the open road!