The transportation industry is making moves to increase the flow of former military personnel into trucking. From updating policies to waving the CDL training process to partnering directly with specific military career organizations, there are more and more ways for veterans to become truck drivers. If you are looking to transition from military to trucking, here are five tips for how you can make sure you are successful!
Five Tips for Transitioning from Military to Trucking
1. Get involved with a transition assistance program
There are transition assistance programs all across the country. These programs are designed to help find work for anyone who is retiring or separating from the military. The assistance includes training on where to look for jobs and strategies for searching for jobs. They also help you prepare your resume, cover letter, and teach you what to expect in an interview. This can help ease those new experience jitters you may feel when faced with a big change in your life.
2. Find out if you qualify for a waiver
Depending on your experience in the military, you may not have to go to CDL school. This is a huge perk when thinking about transitioning from military to trucking. Basically, if you drove any type of vehicle in the military you can take what is called a Military Skills Test Waiver. This essentially allows you to test out of the CDL training and gives you permission to start trucking. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration made this change recently to streamline the military to trucking transition process, because there’s such a dire need for truck drivers. There are about 30 states on board with this waiver program, and others are quickly joining. Be sure to research whether or not the state you currently live in qualifies you for this veteran to trucker waiver program!
3. Find military-friendly trucking companies
You should look specifically for military-friendly trucking companies. Although the trucking industry is notorious for welcoming veterans with open arms, certain companies do so more intentionally than others. There are many companies out there who advertise their military-hiring programs. Some offer benefits like special training to veterans or a higher starting pay than those coming straight out of trucking school.
4. Focus on your transferable skills
There are certain skills you learn in the military that automatically set you up for success in the trucking industry. Many trucking companies want to hire veterans because of the type of training and skills that are required in the military. For example, many people who train in the military are natural born leaders, and they are committed to their work. They are adaptable, as they face many unusual circumstances if they get stationed overseas. They are disciplined and understand how to work hard, but at the same time have an adventurous spirit and are not afraid of the unknown.
5. Network with others in your shoes
Network with others who are in the same shoes as you. Returning to the United States as a civilian after being in the military is quite an adjustment. On top of that, trying to find a job can be hard, especially for those who didn’t enter the work force prior to joining the military. It’s important to vent about those struggles to people who understand. Once you land a trucking job, that doesn’t mean that all of your challenges facing change will instantly go away. It takes time to get completely readjusted. Find other truck drivers who are veterans and learn together so that you can transition successfully from military to trucking.