Everyone knows there is a driver shortage right now, and it’s only expected to worsen. If you’ve got the skills, then chances are you’ll be able to easily land a gig. But you don’t want just any gig. You want one that is going to pay well and take care of you.
There are plenty of companies out there that are ready to take advantage of drivers and push them to their breaking point. To to avoid these sharks, you need to know how to sell yourself to companies with a reputation for taking care of their drivers.
If you’re ready to fire up your rig and get your wheels rolling, the first thing you need to do is polish up your resume. Here are seven tips that make your truck driver resume stand out from the crowd.
Tip 1: Go in Reverse!
Trust us, your driving history goes better in the reverse gear. This means your job history should list your latest trucking gig first and the one before that and so on.
Hiring managers want to know what you have been up to lately; at the same time, many do not really care about the sweatshop that gave you your break years ago when there were no electronic logbooks and “the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was up to”.
This will help hiring managers quickly get the info they need without their eyes glazing over and moving on to the next candidate.
Tip 2: Make Yourself Stand Out
Your resume is where you want to point out what separates you from other drivers. Every hiring manager expects that there will be some amount of embellishment on a resume, but it’s important to be 100% honest about what makes you a great driver.
You can do this by listing concrete facts, and trying to never conclude things for your reader. You can list facts such as your driving record, particular models of trucks you have experience driving, etc.
You want to be as specific as possible. So it’s a good idea to say you consistently drove 3800 miles per week as a certified driver, meeting delivery schedule every single time. You want to avoid saying you’re punctual and that you like driving a lot.
You can also bring out statistics like a perfectly clean driving record in the past five years, passing your drug screening tests every single time, etc. Being able to meet company requirements for five years straight, with recognition and bonuses to show is an aspect of the work culture that should hold the pride of place in your resume. Remember that.
You can also demonstrate your record of working overtime and covering for absentee drivers. This will go a long, long way in reassuring the hiring manager who has just had to say no to nine out of ten applications he reviewed this morning.
Tip 3: Looks Matter- Save Your Resume as a PDF
Hiring managers make their first impression of you based on the resume you submit. If you’re going anywhere with your resume, regardless of the goodies contained within, you have to first make sure that it does not lose its form getting there. Saving your resume as a PDF ensures a consistent look regardless of what version of the software they are using.
Even in the oldest and the crappiest phone, the PDF format preserves the form of your document, and shall not appear broken. You have no idea what your hiring manager has got. When your mail shows up in their inbox, they are likely going to want to tap on that file right then and there to see if its the same Mike that they can’t seem to ever get rid of.
That is squarely when your resume is going to be read, not necessarily on some fancy MacBook. So consider that, before sending it in the .doc or .docx format.
Tip 4: Highlight Your Passion for the Particular Opening
A mistake even experienced drivers make is to adopt a cookie-cutter approach. You do not want to send the same copy of your resume to every job that you apply to. It takes hard work, but you have to give the energy and time it needs to optimize your resume for the job at hand.
If you hauled something all the way to the Yukon, you have to make sure your reader will not miss it in your resume. Including how that one trip engendered a passion for a lifetime.
There is an art to doing so, without going overboard. People like connecting on a deeper, more nuanced level, if you may. If you can find one single excuse to make a personal case, you will reduce the apprehension that all hiring managers are born with. If you can find more excuses, consider yourself committed to memory.
Even if you are a newbie with little or no trucking experience, you want to express your interest in the trucking industry and that you are hungry for the job. You can do this by expressing why you got your CDL and why you are interested in the industry.
Regardless of whether you’ve been in the industry for decades or you’re just starting out, you want to make sure that you come across as genuine. This will help you stand out from the crowd.
Tip 5: Specifics and Highlights
Elaborating on the point above, find windows of opportunity to reveal your passion behind driving truck. That will tell the prospective company that you are not in it merely for the money. In fact, when you genuine express your passion, more opportunities will open for you.
Any quick glance at your resume will tell a hiring manager that you drove. Give them some insight into your driving experience and how it has shaped you as a driver.
Tell the recruiter what kind of runs you did, what you’ve learned throughout your experience, and share some of your most trying times and episodes and how they shaped you as a driver. Maybe you were in an accident or perhaps you witnessed one at some point; tell them how that ended up shaping the rest of your life, etc.
Tip 6: Show Your Flexibility
This is especially for some of the younger drivers or the more adventurous drivers. If you can bring in some flexibility into the trucking world of deadlines and scheduling, yours is a truck and everything inside of it. Perhaps not, but you will get to drive it because of the literal reason that there won’t be anyone else to bring as much flexibility as you.
Say you’re willing to do 40+ hour workweeks or maybe you are open to running the rig outside the local circuit – make sure that the hiring manager finds that out. Better than saying, if you can demonstrate a record of having done that, do it. This is reassuring for the recruiter and puts you in a class of your own with your resume on the right side of his desk.
Tip 7: Beware of Appearances and Be Wary
Sometimes even professional writers fail to understand how they are coming across. But with your resume, you can’t afford to make this mistake. You want to address any potential issues upfront in your resume.
For instance, if you have too many jobs in a short amount of time a recruiter may get the impression that you are a company jumper or hiring you may present a problem. If you think it may be an issue, address it in your resume.
In an ideal world, a recruiter would have some idea of what has been going on at their competitors’. This would help them understand your reasons for moving on.
You have to be very careful with passive aspects that may give the wrong impression. Having stuff in there about your versatility and repair work experience is awesome, but make sure it doesn’t teeter upon being habitually tightfisted. There is a reason why your resume is perhaps one of the most critical and nuanced pieces of writing you will have to undertake.
Take Your Time
Your resume is often the only way you can get your foot in the door at a new company. It needs to accurately represent both your experience and what you can bring to the company. Regardless of the amount of time it takes, do not submit a resume that has not currently incorporated each of these tips.
Remember at this… you only get one shot. Once the company files your name and number, saying something like “yet another candidate” or “C grade driver” with your social on it, no power in the world can swap out your rambling story for a sharply edited resume.