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  • Writer's pictureSergey Bort

Sealing the Deal: How to Ace Interviews and Prepare for CDL Truck Driving Jobs

Updated: May 20

Sealing the Deal: How to Ace Interviews and Prepare for CDL Truck Driving Jobs

If you are seeking commercial driver's license (CDL) truck driving jobs, you are in luck—now is the right time to look for a new opportunity. For qualified drivers, this is an excellent job market that offers a ton of opportunity.

However, it’s still important to complete adequate truck driver interview preparation to give yourself the best odds of landing new CDL truck driving jobs.

Today, GP Transco will teach you everything you need to know about trucking industry job trends, commercial driving skills you should emphasize on your resume to successfully land a new role and even the best trucking career advice.

Understanding the CDL Truck Driving Job Market

In case you’ve missed it, the United States faces a serious shortage of qualified truck drivers. Because of this, you are in a good spot if you are seeking a new position. In fact, it is estimated that there’s a shortage of 80,000 truck drivers.

If this trend persists, there will be a shortage of 160,000 by 2030. In other words, companies need drivers, which is good news for folks who have fulfilled the necessary truck driving job requirements.

Currently, employers are seeking drivers who don’t need to undergo CDL license preparation courses and already have their licenses. They’re ideally looking for folks with prior trucking industry experience, too—at least one year for good measure. You should have more than that if you want to be an outstanding candidate.

Another key qualification companies will look for is a driver with outstanding safety records. You’ll also have to fulfill technical requirements, such as being 21 years or older, willing to submit the last 10 years of driving records and meeting medical qualifications. The job is taxing on your body—you need to be in good shape to get it done.

Let’s circle back to the value of having a Commercial Driver’s License. Employers are happy when candidates already have this license since they won’t have to complete CDL license preparation and are ready to hit the road.

Because of this, one of the best truck driver resume tips is to emphasize that you have your CDL (if you do). This will show potential employers that you’re ready to begin ASAP.

Brushing Up on CDL Training Tips

If you've had your CDL for at least a year, it's important to keep your skills sharp. Whether you're driving within your state or crossing state lines, it's smart to stay up-to-date with the latest regulations and requirements as these can change frequently.

One suggestion GP Transco has is to enroll in a refresher course. You can also make use of free practice exams to prepare for any endorsements or job-specific requirements. For instance, if you plan to work with hazardous materials, you’ll need to complete special training to gain that endorsement.

Remember, it's important to stay informed about any changes in regulations, and this varies from state to state, so learn what your state specifically needs before making arrangements.

Crafting the Perfect Truck Driver Resume

So, you’ve freshened up on your CDL knowledge. Now, it’s time to craft a perfect resume to help you land CDL truck-driving jobs. The good news? Getting your CDL was the hard part—this one is easy.

You’ll want to include some essential elements on a truck driving job resume. For starters, make sure potential employers have multiple ways to reach you. It’s wise to include a phone number and email.

You’ll also want to include any previous experience that you have, as well as any additional certifications, endorsements or skills. Another wise addition is references. This is helpful because potential employers can quickly call a reference to gain insight into your performance in past roles.

Here are some of the best tips to highlight relevant experience, skills and certifications on your resume:

  • Section your resume so that experience, references, contact information and education/training are all easy to read.

  • Include statistics. Did you have an excellent accident-free record? Are your deliveries on time 97% of the time? Highlight this on your resume.

  • Don’t forget to include endorsements, especially if you’re applying for a role where these are crucial.

You may want to have different versions of your resume depending on what you’re applying to. For instance, for long-haul trucking, you will want to highlight skills different from those you would have for short-haul trucking.

Mastering the Truck Driving Job Interview

You’ve submitted your resume to countless employers and now have an interview on your calendar. Pat yourself on the back—applying to a new role takes a lot of energy. Now, it’s time to ace the interview.

Here are some questions you can expect to hear when you’re interviewing for CDL truck driving jobs, and here’s how the team at GP Transco recommends you reply to these questions:

Question: What’s one unexpected challenge you’ve faced on the job, and how did you handle it?

a. Answer: This is your opportunity to show how you’re adaptable. The life of a commercial truck driver includes an element of surprise, so use an example of when you’ve dealt with something unexpected but were still able to deliver outstanding results.

Question: Share one of your greatest successes as a truck driver.

a. Answer: Here’s where you can share a story of your most successful experience in your career. For instance, you can boast about an excellent on-time delivery rate or share an outstanding safety record.

Question: Why do you believe you fit this role well?

a. Answer: Again, you can share your past experiences that have equipped you with the experience necessary to do a great job in this role.

You’ll also want to ensure you present yourself professionally when interviewing. This means wearing business casual apparel, such as khakis, an ironed button-down shirt and gently used close-toed shoes. You won’t want to wear jeans or a T-shirt, as these are too casual for an interview.

Grooming is also crucial for success. Make sure that your hair is neat—and yes, that includes facial hair! If you are interviewing in person, it’s smart to avoid any strong fragrances, too.

Be confident, look people in the eye when they speak to you and lead with a firm handshake.

Once you have those basics down, you can focus on showing off your knowledge of the trucking industry and safety standards. Doing a mock interview with a friend or family member is a good idea. This will help you get used to speaking about your experience. If you can use anecdotes that are supported by statistics, that’s especially great.

Do this, and you’ll land the best truck driving jobs.

Essential Skills for Aspiring Truck Drivers

Of course, you’ll need to be technically efficient to land a commercial trucking job. In other words, you’ll need to know how to handle the machinery safely. You’ll also need endorsements to work in a more specialized trucking situation.

However, soft skills such as communication, time management and stress handling are also necessary to help you excel. Without these skills, you’ll have difficulty excelling in your role.

Just because you’ve landed a new role doesn’t mean you’re done educating yourself. You’ll experience the most success if you continue taking courses, earning more endorsements and learning more about best practices.

Preparing for Life on the Road

Truck drivers with CDL licenses have a very unique lifestyle. Because of this, a little preparation goes a long way in ensuring you’re set up for success in your new role. Here are some of the best tips to help you prepare for your new life on the road.

First, take your PTO so you have time to rest and rejuvenate. You’ll also have to get used to being alone the majority of the time (unless you’re working with a partner).

It’s wise to get used to listening to music or a podcast. You should also keep healthy snacks on hand so you don’t reach for unhealthy food when you’re in a crunch. This will help you maintain your health.

Ready to take your trucking career to the next level? Check out opportunities with GP Transco!

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