Hitting the Road to Success

Whether you’ve just started or have recently completed your driver training, there’s a lot to consider when entering your career in this incredible industry! As you embark on the journey to turn your passion for the open road into a rewarding career, there are several key tips to keep in mind when searching for that perfect truck-driving job.

Fine-Tune Your Resume and Cover Letter

Just like any job search, a solid resume and cover letter are crucial. Highlight your CDL training, any relevant experience, and your commitment to safety. Match your resume to the specific requirements of each job application and showcase your skills in a way that stands out to potential employers.

Research Companies

Not all trucking companies are created equal. Research prospective employers to find those that align with your values, career goals, and lifestyle. Look for companies that offer competitive pay, good benefits, and a strong safety culture. Online reviews and testimonials from current or former employees can provide valuable insights into a company’s reputation.

Network Within the Industry

Networking is a powerful tool in any job search. Attend industry events, join online forums, and connect with other truck drivers on social media platforms. Networking can provide you with valuable information about job opportunities, industry trends, and the inside scoop on various companies.

Utilize Job Placement Services

Many CDL training programs have partnerships with trucking companies and offer job placement assistance. Take advantage of these services, as they can streamline the job search process and connect you with companies actively seeking new drivers.

Maintain a Clean Driving Record

Your driving record reflects your professionalism and commitment to safety. Keep your record clean by adhering to traffic laws and regulations. A clean driving record not only makes you a more attractive candidate but also opens opportunities with companies that prioritize safety.

Consider Specialized Training

Depending on your interests and career goals, consider obtaining specialized training or endorsements. For example, hazmat or tanker endorsements can broaden your job opportunities and increase your earning potential. Some companies may even offer additional incentives for drivers with specialized skills.

Be Open to Entry-Level Positions

While everyone dreams of landing their dream job right out of training, consider being open to entry-level positions. These opportunities can provide valuable experience and a chance to prove your dedication to potential employers. As you gain experience, doors to more desirable positions may open.

Prepare for Interviews and Skills Tests

Expect to undergo interviews and skills tests as part of the hiring process. Be prepared to discuss your training, experience, and commitment to safety. Practice common interview questions and review any specific skills tests you may encounter during the hiring process.

Invest in Continuing Education

The trucking industry is dynamic, with evolving regulations and technologies. Stay ahead of the curve by investing in continuing education. This could involve taking additional courses, attending workshops, or staying informed about industry updates through reliable sources.

Show Enthusiasm and Professionalism

During interviews and interactions with potential employers, show your enthusiasm for the job and the industry. Demonstrate professionalism by being dependable, dressing appropriately, and communicating effectively. Employers value drivers who not only have the necessary skills but also embody a positive and responsible attitude.

CDS’s Commitment to Your Career Success

The journey from CDL training to securing your first truck driving job can be challenging, but CDS has your back. With our Job Placement assistance, students can choose from dozens of employment opportunities with national, regional, dedicated, and local carrier companies – and have ongoing job placement with us!

Ready to get behind the wheel? Fill out the form on this page, or contact us to speak with our Admissions Officers today!

Truck Driving Across the Terrains

When driving as an over-the-road (OTR) driver, truck drivers will come across many different terrains that they will have to know how to handle. The four main landscapes that can take drivers by surprise; mountains, deserts, icy winters, and East coast roads. Professional truck drivers need to prepare themselves and their trucks for each situation.

The following tips explain how to handle each situation safely and like a seasoned pro:

Mountain Driving

Mountain driving is unlike anything other terrain an OTR driver will encounter. It is extremely unpredictable. These tips give an idea of what to expect when tackling the mountains.

  • Fuel -Make sure to go into the mountains with more fuel than normally needed. When going up the steeper grades, trucks will be burning more fuel than average. Additionally, weather can suddenly shift and low fuel can be dangerous. Also, gas stations could be 100’s of miles apart in the mountains.
  • Weather -When driving at high altitudes, the weather can be very unpredictable. Drivers will have to react to the changing conditions. If the weather may be getting worse, have alternate routes planned just in case.
  • Keep brakes cool -Once at the top of the incline, if possible, find a rest area to check over the truck before the descent. This gives the best chance to catch any issues that might happen.
  • Extra room -Remember, any vehicle can have issues, so there is no such thing as too much space. Give people as much space as possible.
  • Speed and runaway lanes -Going downhill with a trailer at full weight can result in issues on a truck’s brakes. Tip: if the decals on the trailer are visible from the mirrors, use the runaway lanes.

Desert Truck Driving

As an OTR driver, there will be a need to cross a desert to complete a load. Unless drivers grew up in these environments, the desert could be foreign. These tips will make sure they don’t end up stuck in the middle of nowhere.

  • Risk of Burns -Many drivers, when making their stops for rest, tend to their trucks as soon as possible. However, doing this without the proper care and protection can lead to first or second-degree burns.
  • Cell Service -The deserts of the United States are the second least populated area.  The chances of having a good cell signal are slim to none. Make sure to have backup plans that do not rely on cell service if lost or broken down.
  • Fuel -Fill-up stations can be few and far between, making it important to be fully fueled up before making the crossing.
  • Temperature Shifts -Most of us think of the desert as unbelievably hot. This is all true, but many forget that the desert undergoes extreme temperature shifts ranging from 100+ during the day to freezing at night. If not prepared, drivers and their trucks could face significant issues.
  • Maintenance -If the truck breaks down in the desert, drivers will have to face extreme weather as well as help being miles away. That is why we recommend double-checking all oil and coolant levels before entering the desert.

Winter Trucking

Most OTR drivers will encounter Winter driving during their careers. Therefore, knowing these tips could save a driver more time.

  • Distance -The road conditions during winter make it perfect for rear-end accidents to happen. Having more space than usual is vital for truck drivers because the stopping distance will be much longer than before.
  • Maintenance ­-Winter maintenance is vital if anything goes wrong. If the truck is stuck, conditions could become deadly quickly. Give a double-check the following systems:
    • Tire condition and pressure
    • Fuel levels
    • Oil and anti-freeze
    • 5th wheel grease
    • Batteries
  • Avoid sudden actions – One of the worst things truck drivers can do when driving on snow and ice is swift, fast movements. If drivers need to stop suddenly, it best to go around.
  • Keeping trucks clean – Be sure to regularly clear the snow and ice from both tractor and trailer lights. This helps other drivers see semi-trucks clearly even in low visibility.

For more tips on driving in the winter check out: Tips to Prepare Your Truck for Winter

East Coast Trucking

We have included the East Coast in our list of terrains because it is unlike any other region in the United States for truck drivers. This area is challenging on truck drivers because of the following reasons:

  • City Driving -The East Coast has the oldest cities in the United States and most were not designed to support modern trucks and traffic. This can make it hard for drivers to route through these cities without damaging trucks.
  • Heavy Winters -When driving on the East Coast, truck drivers have to expect heavy winter weather. That is why we recommend following our winter weather tips from above.
  • Older Roads -As mentioned above, the East Coast is an older region when it comes to infrastructure. Therefore, the road system is older and not designed for the traffic demands and height of trucks today.
  • Heavy Traffic ­-The East Coast has some of the most densely populated cities in the United States. This, in turn, results in some of the worst traffic.
  • Lack of Parking -Since cities tend to be closer together on the East Coast, the number of places where trucks can park is limited. Drivers may have to search for parking longer than they expected.

When driving the East Coast, the best thing to do is plan ahead and have different options if needed.

At CDS Tractor Trailer Training, we do more than just help our students earn their CDL. We make sure that they are prepared to enter the trucking workforce. With the help of CDS, you can be on the road to a new career in just 4-weeks. Contact us today to learn more about our training programs!