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Unlocking the World of OTR Truck Jobs

If you’re looking to build a career in long-haul or over-the-road trucking, you’ll be happy to learn that there are plenty of OTR truck jobs that will earn you a comfortable salary and provide a variety of desirable benefits. That being said, to earn one of these OTR truck jobs, there’s a lot to learn first.


If you want to learn the basics of OTR trucking, you’re in the right place. Continue reading to learn more about the roles and responsibilities OTR truckers must fulfill, the emergence of the industry, the intricacies of the lifestyle, salary information and even tips on how to land OTR truck jobs.



Understanding the Basics of OTR Trucking


OTR trucking, or over-the-road trucking, refers to the responsibilities of drivers tasked with driving across the continental United States to deliver goods. Sometimes, you’ll hear it referred to as long-haul trucking.


OTR drivers are responsible for operating heavy trucks and tractor-trailers with a Gross Vehicle Weight of 26,000 pounds or more. It can be a demanding job because OTR truck drivers are tasked with traveling across the country, not just regionally. (Regional trucking jobs, in comparison, offer more time at home since drivers stay in one part of the United States.)


It’s also important to note that many OTR trucking roles are solo trucking jobs. However, you can also potentially find a team driving opportunity, in which you’ll take shifts driving and have another truck driver in the vehicle to swap off with. Being a team driver is a great idea if you feel you’d struggle with the loneliness that accompanies solo driving.


That being said, it’s an opportunity to earn a great salary and make an excellent career without a secondary degree. You’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy a large amount of independence and see most of the continental United States.


If you are applying to OTR truck jobs, be prepared to drive—a lot. You typically drive 14 hours a day before taking a 10-hour mandated break to rest.


Emergence and Growth of the OTR Trucking Industry


If you are interested in an OTR truck job, you’ll be thrilled to learn that the industry is growing, which means additional opportunities are opening up. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is estimated that there will be a four percent increase in the employment of heavy and tractor-trailer truckers between 2022 and 2032.


The first steps towards the OTR trucking industry as we know it today were taken in the 1980s. The CDL, or commercial driver’s license, was introduced in 1986.


The intention was clear: to make highways safer. Since then, regulations have only gotten tighter to improve road safety. Because of this, a large part of OTR truck jobs is educating yourself on how to be a safe, responsible driver.



The Roles and Responsibilities of OTR Truckers


The main responsibility of folks in OTR truck jobs is to deliver products safely and on time. However, there are also additional responsibilities that you must fulfill in OTR trucking jobs to ensure a smooth day-to-day operation. Here’s what you should know about these duties.


Day-to-Day Operations


One of the reasons people love OTR truck jobs is that every day is different. That being said, there are some overarching consistencies day-to-day.


As mentioned, you can expect to drive for about 14 hours during the workday. However, there’s also a 10-hour break for drivers to rest before getting back on the road, so don’t feel like you’ll have to drive around the clock to succeed at OTR truck jobs.


The main purpose of your job is to ensure deliveries arrive in a timely, safe manner. To do so, you may be asked to track your mileage, perform routine safety checks on your vehicle to ensure it’s up to standards, maintain the truck and even assist with some light administrative work such as trucking logs and compiling your receipts for gasoline. You’ll also likely need to gather signatures to verify that you delivered the products on time and check the freight your vehicle contains to ensure it’s secured properly.


Essential Skills


There are a lot of skills you need to succeed in this job. The most obvious one is a willingness and ability to drive for an extensive period of time while upholding safety standards.


Ultimately, it is a business—your customers are the companies you carry freight for. Therefore, customer service is of utmost importance.


Other important skills include communication to effectively inform companies if their deliveries are delayed, the ability to use navigational tools and reliability, as it is essential for your organization to be sure they can rely on you to get the products to the customer in a timely manner.


One additional thing you need to succeed in this role is a willingness to be alone for an extended period. Unless you opt for a team driving opportunity, life on the road can get lonely.



The Salary Prospects and Benefits of OTR Truck Jobs


Like in any industry, your salary for an OTR trucking role depends on various factors. Some of these factors include experience or cents per mile.


That being said, when you are looking for OTR truck jobs, it’s crucial that you seek out an organization that offers fair, competitive pay. During the interview process, you can ask more about compensation.


For most OTR truck drivers, competitive compensation determines the company they drive with. Seek out an organization that offers transparent pay structures and even some incentives such as mileage-based compensation or bonuses for a job well done.


However, cash compensation isn’t the only determining factor for truck drivers. There are other things to consider when selecting which OTR truck jobs you’d like to pursue. This includes benefits.


Some benefits you should consider when deciding which company you’d like to drive for include health insurance, retirement plans and even paid time off. These perks help provide drivers with a sense of satisfaction and enhance well-being.


Another important thing to consider is job security. If you’re a driver, you want to look for an organization with a great reputation for consistent work, reliable routes and consistent work, giving way to financial stability.


Next up is work-life balance. Balancing life as an OTR truck driver can be tricky. That being said, seeking an opportunity that prioritizes work-life balance is important. To do so, try to find an organization that offers reasonable schedules, effective route planning and sufficient time off.


Last but not least, keep an eye out for a company that has training and advancement opportunities. It’s important to never stagnate in your career as a truck driver. To do so, find a company that offers ongoing training and professional development opportunities.



What’s the Lifestyle Like?


If you are considering OTR truck jobs, you may wonder what the lifestyle is like. Ultimately, it can be a lot of time away from home, but if you work for an organization that offers efficient route planning, reasonable schedules and PTO, you will have a slightly easier adjustment with that.


As mentioned, you may find yourself alone, which can be mentally taxing. Be prepared for this, or opt for a team-driving opportunity to reduce the amount of loneliness that you will experience.



Tips for Securing an OTR Trucking Job


Ready to secure OTR truck jobs? Here are some tips you should know to land a role that you will love.


  • Make your resume as easy to read as possible: Clearly identify your training, certifications and licenses. Also, double-check it for accuracy—no one likes a resume with a bunch of typos on it.

  • Use statistics to explain previous responsibilities: Would you rather hire someone who “drove through several states to deliver a product” or “drove through 15 states to deliver a product?” Statistics make a difference.

  • Add a cover letter whenever possible: If you can, add one to further accentuate what you’ve achieved in previous OTR truck jobs.

  • Demonstrate how you excel in providing exceptional customer experience: Customer experience is an underrated yet important skill for truck drivers. Therefore, if you have customer experience, highlight it on your resume.

  • Offer references: If you have references you can share with a potential employer, mention this on your resume or cover letter so they can reach out if necessary. Be sure to give your references a heads-up so they know they may be contacted on your behalf.


Apply to Drive With GP Transco


If you’re looking for OTR truck jobs and seeking an opportunity to join a company that offers competitive compensation and benefits, look no further than GP Transco. Apply to drive today and learn more about everything a career in OTR trucking can provide.


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