Getting your first trucking job is no small feat.
I mean, it’s all too often that new drivers get a response from companies that sounds something like this:
“Sorry, we can’t hire you until you have 2–3 years of experience.”
Of course, if everyone says this to you, how are you supposed to get those 2–3 years of experience? You’re stuck in between a rock and a hard place, and actually becoming a trucker might seem impossible.
That’s why we’re writing this article. Your first trucking job shouldn’t be impossible to get. Difficult? Sure. Your first time doing anything is going to be a little bit tougher.
Luckily, we’re going to break down your fast track into the trucking industry. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Get Your CDL License
The first step to becoming a trucker is to, well, get the license that allows you to become a trucker. That’s your CDL.
Unless you’re brand new to trucking, you know that the CDL (commercial driver’s license) is the license that is required to operate large vehicles for commercial vehicles in the US.
To get your CDL, you need to do the following:
- Be at least 21 (18 to drive intrastate)
- Submit your state’s CDL application and pay the fee
- Provide proof of identity (social security, driver’s license, etc)
- Provide proof of residency (state and national)
- Submit a completed medical exam
- Pass a vision test
- Pass a CDL knowledge exam
- Get your CLP (Commerical Learner’s Permit)
- Wait a minimum of 14 days to schedule your CDL road skills exam
- Pass pre-trip inspection
- Pass the road skills and driving exam (you need to bring your own vehicle)
- Pay the feeds to your new CDL
- Congrats, you’re now a licensed CDL driver!
I know, I know, that’s a lot of hurdles to jump through. But if you use the CDL for your career, it’s a necessary process that you must go through. Plus, you’ll get to go to the next step of the trucking initiation process, finding a job!
Step 2: Start Applying
Great, now that you’re a licensed CDL driver, there’s only one problem left to tackle: you have no experience, and your career options are very limited.
Every trucker has to deal with this at some point because every trucker starts out with no experience whatsoever.
The first thing you should do as a brand new trucker is applying to every possible CDL carrier job that you can find. You have to accept that your first trucking job might not actually be your dream trucking job, but that’s okay. Like we’ve said before, trucking is a marathon, not a sprint.
If you treat your job search like it’s my “dream job or bust” before you’ve even started looking, you’re making life much tougher for yourself. Any career you do, whether it’s trucking, sales, or even working at a grocery store starts out with some sacrifices.
Plus, those initial jobs won’t be nearly as bad as you might think, and many will offer great perks of the job like health benefits and perhaps the ability to be home every single night.
So, the lesson here is simple. Apply, apply, and apply again!
There’s a national trucker shortage, and trucking companies are always looking for new drivers to join their teams and help them grow.
Step 3: Other Things You Might Need to Know
This is the most important thing that you need to know about getting your first trucking job:
Getting your first job with no experience is an obstacle, but not a barrier.
If you struggle to find a job at first, don’t be discouraged. Keep looking, keep applying, and remember that your first job doesn’t have to be your last job.
Other options are independent contracting, starting your own company, or just taking what you are offered. For new truckers, the last option might be the best.
Settling today so that you can seal your first job is not going to mean that you’ll forever be stuck with low-paying, taxing jobs. It’s okay to not win right away.
This isn’t the last time you’ll hear this on this blog, but I’ll say it again:
Trucking is a marathon, not a sprint.
Are you looking for a trucking job? Well, you’re in luck, we’re looking for drivers!
If you’re a newer driver, you need to apply to Legacy! We will train on the job, and we’ll help you become a key asset to our awesome team.
Happy job hunting!