Like every good story, there’s an ending. But like every great story, there’s a sequel (and hopefully a trilogy and then a sweet movie deal). And just like a book, life’s story is constantly evolving. So, when you close the chapter on CDL school, what comes next? Well, while you might be a little nervous to get started, life after CDL school is awesome! And with a little will and determination, you’re sure to get a great job and continue on your journey.
But, right now, it’s understandable to be a little confused as to where to go from here. You’re fresh out of school, and probably wondering, “who’s going to hire the new kid?” But there is hope. There are many resources out there for you to figure out what comes next.
Life After CDL School: The First Steps
After you’ve taken some time to celebrate the huge success of obtaining your CDL license, it’s time to look for your first job! But, right now, you’re probably considered a novice driver. And that’s nothing to be worried about. Let’s take a look at the next steps in starting your career.
1. Stay Up-to-Date
You are the real life equivalent to a newspaper hot off the press. Once that ink dries, the news is already out of date. And while you have a little more time than newspaper ink, don’t let yourself get rusty. Keep all of your important notes, booklets and practice tests with you. While you begin the job application process, review your notes every once in a while. It will help you in the interview process and on any technical problems. And after you’ve found your dream job (because you totally will), it will be nice to refer back to something so you don’t get out of touch with the important stuff.
2. Finding a Carrier
Knowing when and which carrier to choose is going to be very beneficial to you when you start the job search process. Life after CDL school begins the second you’re handed your license, so reach out to every truck driving position you qualify for and feels like a good fit. Don’t be afraid to negotiate salary and benefits. Some carriers offer schooling reimbursements or mentorship programs to get your acclimated to your new environment. Luckily, if you’ve picked the best CDL program for yourself, you’ll have an easier time than most looking for a job you actually want.
3. Be Ready to Expand Your Knowledge
Your first few months, there will be job training. This training is usually paid, and completed on varied schedules. This ensures that both you and your boss are comfortable with you being on the road representing their company. And, if there are other certifications you are interested in obtaining, go for it (the world is your oyster, right?). There are tons of different endorsements and certifications you can get during or after getting your CDL license. These types of additions to your license will help you stand out from other applicants.
4. Behind the Wheel Experience
When you first start driving with a carrier, you’re most likely going to be driving with a small team of individuals. This will give you greater opportunities to rest and get acquainted with the long hours you’ll complete the longer you drive. Life after CDL school will also teach you to be mindful of your body and learn when you need rest, food, and other relaxation techniques. After the initial training and team driving experience, you’ll begin long distance routes. This is a great way to prove your abilities early on and show your boss what you’re really made of (which is 100% mac truck driving magnificence).
5. Aim (or drive) for Excellence
So, you’ve been driving for a year or two (or twenty) and your life after CDL school has been going pretty well. But there’s always room for improvement. Remember the beginning of your journey from book to big screen? You were fresh out of school and anxious, but excited, about what your career would hold. Well, it’s time begin work on your memoir. Maybe you’re tired of driving such long routes or want a change of pace. Well, return to your schooling days. Check out the resources available to you and look into other opportunities. Maybe you’d like to become a regional driver or continue your career as a recruiter (after all you’re out-of-this-world skills are good enough experience to qualify). Start researching different jobs in your field and shoots for the stars.