How to Get Your First Job as a Truck Driver

Not too long ago, you needed to have experience if you were to get a job as a truck driver. That has changed thanks to a shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. There was a shortage of 61,000 drivers in 2018. This is according to a report by the American Trucking Association (ATA). 

In the same report, ATA’s Chief Economist Bob Costello noted that figure had gone up since 2017. He also projected a rise that could hit a shortage of 100,000 drivers in the next five years and 160,000 drivers by 2028. 

The shortage has been attributed to different factors. One is an aging driver population with some drivers opting to retire early. Others are the federal requirement that interstate truck drivers must be 21 years old and above and a lack of diversity in terms of very few women and minorities being in the business. There is also a retention problem. The average annual turnover rate for long-haul truck drivers is over 90%.

What Next After Truck Driving School?

The factors and circumstances above add up to a chance to get a truck driving job without experience which was a mandatory experience. Doing the following will help you to increase your chances of landing a job:

1. Apply, apply, apply

Put in your application to as many carriers as possible. This is assuming that you have successfully gone through training and have your Commercial Driving License (CDL). If you haven’t, you can find guidelines here. The more places you apply, the sooner you will find a job.

2. Target the mega carriers

Mega carriers are the big trucking companies that have very large fleets. You are more likely to find a job with them. Mega carriers are also some of the best to work for in terms of the pay package and benefits.

3. Get related experience

Apart from driving trucks, you can get experience driving other types of commercial vehicles such as dump trucks that belong to construction companies. You can also get experience with the plow and gravel trucks that belong to townships or County Highway Departments. There are also the service trucks owned by railroad companies and the delivery trucks owned by lumber yards. A CDL allows you to drive all these greats. Get behind any that you can for the sake of getting seat time for the experience and to be able to put in your application.

4. Apply to independent brokers/owner-operator

While mega carriers have the strength of number, as a beginner, you don’t want to count out independent brokers/owner-operators. Put in your applications with them too. Search online for associations in your area and see if there are openings in the career pages.

5. Become an apprentice

Several trucking companies run apprentice programs. Some of the mega-companies like Bison and Arnold Brothers have finishing schools that take in newly licensed drivers. Getting into one gives you experience and a better chance of getting a job with the company.

6. Take what you get

While you may have a definite idea of the trucking companies you want to work for, don’t be discriminating with the opportunities that come your way as a beginner. Even as you send out applications, take jobs you can get for the experience and keep updating your resume. Even a little commercial driving experience gives you a better chance than a driver who has none at all.

Very Good Chances Getting Truck Driving Jobs

With the current shortage of truck drivers, your chances of getting a job are much better. Send out those applications including for apprenticeships and take any job you can get driving a commercial truck in the meantime.