Truck Driving Jobs - How to Find Them
When it comes to career choices that always have available job openings, being a truck driver is at the top of the list. According to David Heller, director of safety and policy at the Truckload Carriers Association, there are around 200,000 openings for truck drivers in the U.S. That's a clear-cut opportunity for anyone that is seeking to change careers or looking for their dream job. Unlike other fields that have suffered layoffs due to recent economic downturns, the trucking industry is going to grow by an estimated 20% between now and 2020 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the moment, many companies are struggling to find qualified truck drivers.
What Are the Best Truck Driving Jobs?
The most sought after trucking jobs are those that allow one to stay in and around the local area. These jobs involve driving a delivery truck or van to businesses and/or private residences to drop off and deliver goods. The U.S. Post Office and carriers like UPS are probably the most famous example of this type of work. Another example is a local furniture company that delivers items to customer homes. These jobs operate during standard weekly working hours.
Over the Road (OTR) Work
The majority of trucking jobs are in the OTR category. This means that a driver is going to be traveling for long distances - sometimes thousands of miles. An OTR job can involve driving across an individual state or throughout any state in the country. These jobs require spending days or weeks on the road without being able to go home.
Most Common Trucking Jobs
There are three types of trucking jobs that you will encounter the most when seeking out work in this field: Dry Van jobs, Flatbed jobs and Reefer jobs.
Dry Van Jobs
A dry van is a large trailer that has the advantage of being able to easily be attached to the truck tractor. Dry van trucking is very common and, therefore, expect to find lots of openings for drivers. Companies are seeking drivers that have CDL certification and ability to handle and transport dry goods over long distances.
A flatbed truck is in a special category in that it carries loads that do not fit inside of a container. These loads tend to be large and may be awkward in shape and dimension. Because these loads need to be tied down by the driver, a flatbed job is quite physically demanding. Companies normally want drivers that have experience in tying, securing and hauling flatbed loads.
A reefer truck is the same as a refrigerated truck. Reefer trailers are designed to carry perishable food items that need to be kept at a certain temperature. These jobs involve delivering back and forth to supermarkets, convenience stores and restaurants. Companies look for drivers that are willing to help with loading and unloading. A driver should be able to lift at least fifty pounds.
How Do Owner Operators Find Good Truck Driving Jobs?
Unlike standard trucking company drivers, owner operators must be vigilant about seeking out the next job. As soon as you know the end date for your current job, you should be looking for the next opportunity. Fortunately, there is such a great need for truck drivers nationwide; a preliminary search should yield some very good prospects.
Probably the first place to seek out a truck driving position is to look in the local or nationwide classified section of a newspaper. Some companies are spending good money in order to attract new drivers. Normally, the best jobs will be with the biggest companies that have placed large ads. Circle the ones that interest you the most and contact them quickly. These ads attract hundreds of drivers and you want to make sure you get your name in the application pool before it closes.
Companies also place prominent ads in publications geared towards truck drivers. Pick up a few of these and search for any job listings that are of interest. Some of the companies that advertise in monthly or periodic publications are always looking for drivers due to high turnover.
These days you can quickly search the Internet for websites that specialize in posting truck driving jobs. Keep a smart phone, portable tablet or laptop handy so that you can conduct an online search during your down time. Be sure to keep an updated resume ready so that you can easily send it to a prospective employer.
While you are chatting with other drivers you can mention that you are looking for a job. This can be done in person, on the phone or on an online forum. Fellow truckers are familiar with the best companies and can tell you when these firms are hiring.
Truck Driving School
Keep tabs on your truck driving school if it has a good placement office. Contact them and see if they can offer assistance with companies hiring graduates. If you were a good student, they may be willing to share this information with you.
Find the Best Job for You
There are numerous opportunities for owner operator truck drivers looking for work. The most important consideration from your standpoint should be if the position suits your individual needs. Consider the length of time you are willing to be on the road, the amount of money you need to earn and physical requirements before accepting a position.