How to Write a Truck Driver's CV
As a commercial truck (CDL) driver, you may be used to finding work without having to produce a CV. However, as with all sectors, the trucking industry is changing and many companies are now asking applicants to produce a CV. When applying for a new job, you may now find that you need to email your CV in to the employer, or upload it to their website. The fact is that if you want to have the best choice of positions, you can no longer afford not to have a CV.
It can be hard to know where to start when you are about to write your Truck Driver's CV. With so many different formats being recommended, how do you know which one will suit your needs? This is before you even start to think about what you need to write.
In this article, we start by introducing a CV format that will work for most entry level applicants. Next, we examine each section and consider how you can present your information. Finally, we offer some tips on visual presentation once you have compiled your CV.
Do you need help with your Truck Driver CV? A CV writer from Bradley CVs can expertly write a CV for you that enables you to get the interviews that you need.
As CV writers, Bradley CVs recommend that you use a version of the most traditional CV format, the Chronological CV. This is the one that is most popular with employers, because they can quickly and easily see what you have done in your working life. They can find their way around it without problem and, because everything is presented in reverse date order, they can read about your most recent experience first. This is important, because most employers who are advertising a vacancy have little time to spend reading applications.
Employers want to find the key information as quickly as possible, sometimes within the first 30 seconds of looking at a CV. A chronological CV format allows you to get the most important information at the top of the first page, meaning you increase your chances of being noticed amongst the many other applicants.
The sections in the Chronological CV are:
- Contact Details.
- Achievements or Accomplishments (this is optional: five to six accomplishments from school, work and other experience).
- Experience (list of paid jobs and unpaid positions held, with dates and duties).
- Education (details of your most recent education, with optional details).
- Other Experience (optional, depending on what else you have done).
- Other Skills (optional, depending on whether there are skills you wish to list).
- Personal Details (optional).
Your basic contact information should appear at the top of your CV. It is best to present your name, address, telephone number(s) and email address on 3 to 4 lines. Use the name you are commonly called by - don't include a title, such as Mr, Mrs, etc., and don't use a nickname. Middle name initials can be left out, unless this is how you are usually known.
Don't use abbreviations in your address. Always include area codes for your phone number and keep the gaps within cell phone numbers. If you include an email address, make sure it is one that sounds sensible and mature - remember, your Truck Driver's CV should sound professional.
You can use a slightly bigger font than elsewhere in the document to make this visually clear. Centering the contact details is also a good idea - some people will also draw a line beneath, to further improve the presentation.
Profile (or Summary)
Your profile or summary comes next. This is usually around 3 to 6 lines of text that sums up your experience and strengths. A strongly written profile is your first chance to gain an employer's attention. In just a few words, you need to list the attributes that will interest an employer. You should write in 'the third person', that is, as if you are writing about somebody else. It should be easy to read. A profile will:
- Make your CV more focused.
- Encourage the employer to keep reading.
- Show that you have a sense of direction.
- Provide a sense of you as a person.
- Make it easier for the employer to remember you later on.
- Show how interested you are in the job.
- Say what you can offer the employer.
- Show that you're the right candidate for the job.
A summary is similar, except it is more focused on what you want to achieve, rather than solely what you can offer.
So, start by stating which kind of truck driving position you are interested in. If you have undertaken CDL training at truck driving school, state that you have achieved this qualification. If you have been a qualified driver for some time, state how many years experience you have. If you have an unblemished driving record, state it here. This is also the appropriate place to state that you are willing to make long haul trips or undertake particular kinds of jobs.
Achievements (or Accomplishments) Section
This section is entirely optional. If you can think of some accomplishments, it will encourage the employer to want to meet you. Put simply, an achievement (or accomplishment) is an example of how you made a personal effort to produce a positive result. It demonstrates to the employer that you can use your skills or personal qualities to help their organisation. It shows that you are worth having in their crew.
Your achievements can be work related or they be connected to your sports or other interests, community or voluntary activities, etc. An achievement can also be an award you've received, such as recognition for community work or sporting achievement, singly or in a team. Employers and recruiters like evidence of results wherever they are to be found.
Here are some examples of areas you can think about, although there are many more:
- Receiving an award, including safety awards.
- Leading a team.
- Running a group.
- Creating something.
- Dealing with a challenge.
- Improving something.
- Making something more efficient.
- Saving an organisation time or money.
- Completing projects early.
- Making something run smoother.
- Identified an easier solution.
- Spotting an opportunity.
If you feel that your achievements are not relevant to your line of work, then do not worry. If you decide to include the ones that you have, they can convince an employer that you are a positive person who will apply themselves to any task well. If you still feel that your achievements do not really make your application stronger, then you can omit this section. Please do give it some thought before coming to a decision, though.
This is your work history section, where you can list all your jobs from the past 10 years. You can give more details for these positions, including your employers' name and town, the inclusive dates of your employment, your job title and a short list of your duties and responsibilities.
For each position, you also need to include the class of your commercial driver's license, endorsements (tankers, doubles, triples, hazardous materials, etc.), the type of trailers you hauled, other equipment utilised (such as forklifts, pallet jacks, etc.).
There are legal obligations within your industry: the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires all truck drivers to provide 10 years' worth of employment history, so that convicted drivers are unable to obscure their history.
If you have periods of unemployment, make sure that you state what you were doing. Likewise, if you walked out of a job or were fired, you are going to have to be upfront about what happened. If you don't, employers can access DAC records that will clarify your history.
Responsibilities may include:
- Collecting, transporting and delivery duties.
- Repairing mechanical faults and resolving other problems.
- Planning the most economical routes.
- Adhering to industry regulations.
- Handling documentation such as invoices and delivery notes.
- Developing and introducing new procedures and practices.
- Making changes to routes to save fuel.
- Any other positive that have benefited your employers.
There are certain skills and abilities that employers are keen to see. They are keen to recruit drivers who can work with little supervision, being self-motivated and responsible. Good physical dexterity is valuable as well as strength, combining with mechanical skills to enable you to make repairs when on trips. Strength and good physical condition is also valuable for loading and unloading.
Education or Qualifications Section
In this section, you can highlight your training, qualifications and education. You should already have mentioned your commercial licence in your profile or summary, but here you can give full details. You may also have other specialist licences too.
Literacy is important, so your school qualifications are of interest, particularly in jobs where you have to do report filing or paperwork submission.
How well did you do with your High School diploma? You do not need to list all your subjects in the education section, but you can list your most recent school and the date you left. If you went to college, list that and leave out the school. Do not include grades if they were not good. Never include exams that you failed as if you passed them, as an employer might check up on these at a later date
Qualifications for being a truck driver include:
- A high school diploma.
- On-the-job training.
- A Class 'D' licence for straight trucks and a Class 'A' licence for articulated trucks.
- Endorsements, such as air brake operation.
- Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) certification for transporting dangerous or hazardous loads.
- The additional training required to become a driver trainer, safety officer or supervisor.
- A trade/vocational certificate.
- A community college diploma.
The advantage of this section heading is that you can present details about your experiences from all areas of your life - providing it says something positive about you. You can write about your experiences in both paid and unpaid work positions, internships, voluntary and community work, and other life experiences such as sporting interests.
If you are writing about voluntary or other unpaid work, you can treat the details in the same way as you have done for your regular jobs. For everything that you write, think what it will say about you to an employer.
Here, you can include any skills that do not fit into your other CV sections. If you've learned or developed IT skills, list the different applications that you're proficient in. You can also list any language skills that you possess.
Many people like to include a few more personal details at the very end of the CV. Views on what you should include are mixed, so some good advice is to avoid including anything that might cause an employer to discriminate against you. Generally speaking, your personal life is no business of the employer's.
On the other hand, your interests can help to build a rounded picture of you as a person. Playing in a sports team or helping out at facility for the homeless or a charity on a voluntary basis is positive information to include. It will add to your integrity and reassure the employer that you are trustworthy.
Footer (Both Pages)
As your Truck Driver's CV is going to be printed off and possibly photocopied, you need to be sure that both pages are identifiable as being yours. It's advisable to put your name, email address and a page number in the footer.
What About Testimonials?
You should ensure that you have two to three testimonials from your trainer or former employers, who can account for responsibility, commitment and willingness to undertake hard work. Do not include the testimonials with your CV, but state in your cover letter that you can provide them if asked to at interview.
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