Many truck driving jobs require you to fill out a job application, either in person on online. So you might wonder why you need to have a resume. First of all, putting together a resume helps you see your own strengths and weaknesses before you begin the job search process. This can help you identify what might keep you from getting the job you want so that you can address the issue and remove any roadblocks. For example, if you put your resume together and feel that you are short on job experience, this might be an incentive for you to stay at your present job for another six months. Or, you might think of other related experience that would help round out your profile. If you have worked with farm equipment, completed diesel mechanic school, or if you spent some time working the docks before you got your CDL, this is all useful experience to list.
Experienced drivers will also need a resume to move into a management position. For management jobs, your resume should focus on your length of service in the industry. Also talk about what makes you different from the other applicants. Let your future employers know how much time you’ve spent working face-to-face with customers, how you’ve found ways to save money, and what you do to work more efficiently.
For truck drivers at any level, putting all your information together on your resume will help you save time when you go to fill out job applications. Make sure you look up and write down all the information you will need, like addresses and phone numbers of previous employers, as well as the dates you worked for them and the kind of jobs you did.
In addition to the information you choose to give employers, most hiring managers will also do their own research. They will look up your driving record and your criminal record. One other critical piece of information is your DAC report. The DAC is a lot like your credit report, but it is only for commercial drivers. It meets Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requirements that employers provide drug and work records on their employees for at least three years. Whenever you show up for a company’s orientation, that company has a responsibility to record you as an employee in the DAC system.
What this means is that if you accept a job offer and show up for orientation, but after an hour, you realize this company is the wrong fit for you and you leave during your first break, that company can then report that you quit with no notice on the first day of work. This will make you look like an unreliable worker to potential employers.
Once you have the job, make sure you give two weeks’ notice in writing before you quit. You don’t have to write a long letter of resignation reaming your boss, a simple hand-written note will do. If you want to be extra-careful, consider stopping by a bank to have your resignation notarized so that you have proof you wrote it.
Another damaging piece of information to appear on your DAC is refusal to take a drug test. Even if you go into work on Monday morning determined to turn in your nicely notarized resignation note, if your boss greets you first and tells you it’s time to do a drug test, do it. Take the test first and then quit. Leaving instead of testing will show up on your DAC as refusal to take a drug test, which may make employers think you knew you would fail.
Safety and motor vehicle violations will also show up on your DAC. So will insurance claims. Some drivers choose to keep extra cash on hand to settle any minor incidents that might occur without involving the insurance company. If the incidents are fixed and not reported, they don’t show up on the DAC. If you get too many claims, then insurance companies start to take a closer look at you, which could increase the cost to cover you, and could hurt your chances at getting a job.
After you’ve been driving for a year or so, or whenever you’re thinking about looking for a new job, take the time to review your DAC. A company called Hire Right maintains these records. You can request a free copy of your own DAC or call 1-800-381-0645. If you find incorrect damaging information on your DAC, you can dispute the record and the company will investigate.