10 tips for recent CDL school graduates
Posted: April 18, 2019
You’ve worked hard and made it through CDL-A school, but now what? Most trucking companies require experience, so it can be frustrating when you’re a recent CDL driving school graduate with no experience under your belt. Not only will you need to find a trucking company that will hire CDL-A graduates with no experience, but you’ll also want to choose a driving job that’s a good fit for you. We’ve put together 10 great tips that you should know if you’re about to start, are currently in or recently graduated from CDL school. This information will not only help you find the best trucking companies to work for as a new driver, but it will also help you get set up for success in your new career.
1. Research is important - Don’t wait until you have your CDL-A to start looking at the best trucking companies around. Talk to other drivers to learn more about the companies they work for. Check out each trucking company’s website and social media to get a feel for the driver culture, coverage areas and any additional factors that are important to you when choosing a potential future employer.
2. Knowledge is everything - It can be easy to have an idea of what a driving job will be like before you become a new driver. Make sure you’ve done your research on what it’s like to be a truck driver and the lifestyle changes you’ll have. Young drivers sometimes tend to quit companies when the job doesn’t meet their expectations. Job hopping can look bad on your resume when you’re trying to get a trucking job with a company that requires more experience.
3. Have a plan - It’s helpful to have a plan even before you start CDL school. Make a list of companies you’d like to work for and become familiar with their hiring requirements. Some trucking companies only hire new drivers from their approved list of CDL schools. You can find Averitt’s list here: https://bit.ly/2I9K8th
4. Find a driver training program - Teaming up with a company that offers a driver training program is a great way to get more experience and get an idea of what it’s like to be a full-time truck driver. At Averitt, all our training programs are tailored to your experience level and include paid benefits and on-the-job training with an experienced driver trainer.
5. Safety first, always - It’s important to remember that staying safe while you’re on the road should always be your priority. Obviously doing so will help keep you and those around you safe, but having a clean driving record is also beneficial for your career. Speeding tickets, moving violations and reckless driving incidents can impact your employment.
6. Use a budget - You’re about to embark on a huge lifestyle change, and it can be expensive to live on the road. A budget will help you see where you’re spending your money so you can make adjustments as you go. Look for ways you’ll be able to cut costs on food and utilize your company’s fuel discount program if they offer one. Averitt provides several money-saving amenities at our state-of-the-art facilities, including showers, laundry accommodations, on-site fueling, free WiFi and safe, convenient parking.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help - If you get into a driver training program, make sure you use your driver trainer as a resource whenever you have questions or need help. Many trainers are happy to stay in touch with their trainees even after they’re off driving solo and want to help you succeed as a new driver. At Averitt, we want you to thrive in your new driving career, so we encourage new drivers to reach out to your fleet manager/leader or other drivers at the company.
8. Consider getting a CDL endorsement - Adding a CDL endorsement is a great goal to set for yourself, and it can help you get better-paying trucking jobs. A CDL endorsement allows you to haul special materials. The most common endorsements include tanker, hazardous materials and combination endorsements.
9. Stay focused - There can be a steep learning curve when getting into a new career. You might find that you have days where you feel like you’re really prepared and others where you’re not feeling as confident. Instead of getting frustrated with things you can’t change, focus on the things you’re enjoying about your new job and the things that you’re good at. Set attainable daily goals for yourself and make the decision to start each day with a fresh slate.
10. Remember that success takes time - Building a solid truck driving career doesn’t happen overnight. It may take you a while to get to know your routes and learn the ins and outs of driving a truck. Don’t get discouraged easily. Instead, take it one day at a time and commit to staying focused on doing your job well and safely.
While there are many reputable training programs out there, we are especially proud of ours at Averitt. We offer a training program for drivers who hold a Class A CDL but don’t meet our full experience requirements. Through this program, you’ll gain the experience you need by working with one of our team’s top professionals – an Averitt driver trainer! You’ll also attend our finishing school to fine tune your backing and turning skills. Military veterans who are eligible for GI Bill benefits can earn up to $1,140 per month tax free at Averitt using your available Post 9/11 GI Bill funds. This is in addition to your weekly Averitt paycheck PLUS up to $4,800 tuition/transition bonus from Averitt (paid weekly)!
To apply or find out more information, we encourage you to visit AverittCareers.com
or call 888-AVERITT.