There are different reasons why truck driving attracts many job applicants for the long haul. It’s an occupation that doesn’t require a college degree or years of training to jump into. What it does require are some specialized skills — how many people could parallel park an 18-wheeler? — and an exceptional truck driver resume to land the best jobs.
Resume.io is here with the right tools to help you create that kind of resume. Our job-winning resources include more than 350 occupation-specific resume guides with corresponding resume examples .
This guide, together with a truck driver resume sample, provides a roadmap to easily creating a bulletproof resume to help truck drivers land the well-paid, stable job they want. Some of the material we’ll cover here:
- What truck drivers do, and where they fit in today’s trucking industry today, along with the job outlook and average salaries
- How to write a truck driver resume to impress hiring managers, starting with the correct structure and format
- How to come across as the best job candidate in each resume section: header, summary, employment history, education and skills
- How to make the best resume layout and design decisions
What does a truck driver do?
It’s no exaggeration to say that without truck drivers, the global economy would collapse. We rely on transportation to put food on our tables, consumer goods on our shelves and yes, toilet paper in our bathrooms. More freight is shipped by truck than any other mode of transportation, by far. And even goods that move by air, rail or sea certainly don’t get to your local supermarket that way.
Truck drivers are a rare breed, capable of spending long days and nights in total isolation, alternating between alert at the wheel or asleep in the bunk behind the front seat. Then they wake up and do it all over again — spending a great deal of time away from home, week after week and year after year.
It’s a job that would drive a lot of people crazy, so the people doing it are usually tough, resilient and hard-working. But it’s a job that isn’t going away.
Job market likely to keep on trucking
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment outlook for truck drivers remains good, with a projected job growth of 6% from 2020 to 2030, which is about as fast as average as for most occupations. Trucking is key to keeping global supply chains moving, so as demand for goods rises, so will the need for truck drivers.
Trucking companies report challenges in hiring and retention because of the job stresses, and many older drivers are retiring. All of these are factors that create openings for new drivers. And while some sectors of the economy are in decline because of online buying, goods still need to get to consumers, and that largely happens by truck.
The great majority of freight in North America moves by truck, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The following illustrates The following illustrates transborder freight between the U.S. and North American countries (Canada and Mexico).
from Nov. 2020
|Total by all transportation modes||120.1||25.2|
|Transport mode||% of total|
Targeting other jobs in the transport and logistics industry? See our dedicated guides listed here below:
How much do truck drivers make?
Truck drivers are usually paid by miles driven, plus bonuses, and the per-mile rate varies by employer. Pay for truck drivers also varies depending on experience and sometimes by the type of cargo. Self-employed owner-operators may also receive a percentage of the revenue generated by the goods they ship.
Median pay for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers in the U.S. was $48,310 in May 2021, according to the BLS. The lowest 10% made under $30,710, and the top 10% earned over $72,730. The takeaway here is that targeting high-paying stable employers is needed to land in that top 10%. And a great resume is a key tool for that goal!
The BLS reported these median yearly incomes for truck drivers in the top industries that employed them, as of 2021:
- Truck transportation $49,100
- Wholesale trade $48,060
- Construction $47,610
- Manufacturing $47,460
How to write a truck driver resume
Let’s get in gear with the framework for your truck driver resume — consistent with the structure for virtually all occupations. Here are the essential components:
- Resume header
- Employment history
We’ll be discussing each section in more detail shortly. For a deeper look into how various resume sections should be constructed, take a moment to read resume.io’s in-depth guide to resume writing here .
Choosing the best resume format for a truck driver
The most commonly used chronological resume format is probably the way to go. In all likelihood, your work history consists of employee positions, so that section of your resume will provide bullet point highlights for each job under the employer heading. These should be listed in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent job and working backwards.
The best way to draw favorable attention to your truck driver job application is with a distinctive header design. For twice the impact, make your cover letter match with the same header and other design elements.
Besides setting your resume apart from the rest, in an inviting-to-read manner, an attractive header places your name, occupation and contact information prominently on the page. Hiring managers can retrieve it readily when they’re set to schedule an interview.
Truck driver resume summary example: eyes on the road
Every resume needs a resume summary — sometimes called a profile or personal statement — where job applicants describe themselves in their own words. Use this as your “elevator pitch” to prospective employers (imagine “selling” your professional image favorably in about 30-45 seconds to a stranger), using confident and assertive language to describe your qualifications and aptitudes. This should be a well-written description of all the reasons you would be a great hire. It does not need to be in complete sentences — for example, you can omit words like “I am” or “I have.”
However, be aware that spelling, grammar and punctuation are vitally important. Hiring managers have said in surveys that English mistakes on resumes are the No. 1 reason job candidates are rejected. If English is not your strong suit, find a good editor to review and revise your resume (online tools like resume.io will also help you streamline the writing process ).
Also, a resume should be a dynamic document that is tailored to each job application. Generals don’t fight all wars the same; they base their strategies on a careful study of the enemy and the terrain. Likewise, you should not blindly send the same resume to all employers. You should study the employer you’re targeting and craft your resume individually for that company. This is especially important because of what we’ll talk about next.
ATS: The resume auto-filter
Many hiring managers today use an applicant tracking system (ATS) in which a computer program reviews all resumes before they do. These systems look for specific keywords input by the employer that reflect critical job skills required. Resumes that pass the ATS test are greenlighted for review by hiring managers, but those that don’t may be stopped in their tracks before a human being even reads them. To “beat the ’bot,” do some research first. Study your target employer, scour its website and read the job description for the position you want. If it says, for example, “seeking long-haul truck drivers,” and that’s exactly what you are, it would probably be a mistake not to include the word “long-haul” in your resume.
Below is a truck driver resume summary example you can customize.
Hard-working and reliable CDL-A truck driver with 13+ years of experience transporting and delivering freight throughout the northeast United States. Adept at map navigation and proactively adjusting for traffic conditions to ensure uninterrupted trips and timely order delivery. Safety-conscious respect for the road and other drivers underpins a 100% clean driving record and compliance with DOT regulations. Positive relationships with clients generate frequent commendations for exceeding expectations. Qualified and conscientious in providing proper vehicle maintenance and care.
Resume employment history sample: the long and winding road
If you have a long, solid history of truck-driving experience, you have a huge advantage. But even if your work experience is a bit thin, there are work-arounds. As advised earlier, list the relevant jobs you’ve held in reverse chronological order, naming the company, its location and the dates you worked there. Then under each employer, do a little boasting about what an excellent job you did there. Use strong action verbs to describe your accomplishments, and be as specific as possible.
Truck drivers usually keep detailed logs of all their deliveries and the number of miles driven for each one. If possible, scour this information, compile totals and report them on your resume. If you can say how many deliveries you made, how many miles you drove and/or how many tons of cargo you delivered, all the better. Facts and figures are always the most convincing data to provide in descriptions of past jobs, especially if they outline your achievements or milestones. The geographical range of your driving experience (“from Maine to Mexico”) may also be a plus. And if you’ve never been in an accident, or never received a traffic citation, that may be worth mentioning too.
These were the top employment sectors for the roughly 2 million truck drivers in the U.S. in 2020:
• Truck transportation 43%
• Wholesale trade 12%
• Manufacturing 7%
• Self-employed workers 7%
• Construction 6%
Your strictly relevant job history may be a bit lean, perhaps because you’re young, or because you’re changing careers. But even if most of your job history lies outside the trucking industry, you can find creative ways to highlight how past jobs have shaped you for this one.
For example, a job as a security guard may have trained you to be vigilant by night, a warehouse job may have demonstrated your skills in loading and unloading heavy objects, or any number of jobs may have equipped you with excellent skills in customer service.
Generally, your job history should be listed in reverse chronological order. List your last (or current) job first, your previous job next, and so on, putting your first job last. (But if your first job was flipping hamburgers, you can probably leave that out.) The reason for using reverse chronological is the limited eye-time most resumes get (average of six to eight seconds of scanning, before a hiring manager decides whether to move on or not). Put your best foot forward, right off the bat.
Below is a truck driver employment history resume sample you can modify.
Truck Driver at Oriander Trucking Corp. , Albany
January 2013 — May 2022
- Drove on average 5,200 miles per week, 40% on interstate routes.
- Maintained meticulous logs of materials transported, used as evidence in several billing disputes and one case of theft.
- Dependable liaison between the warehouse and clients, always available to answer calls and act promptly with mutually satisfactory results.
- Top-of-the-line customer service and strong working relationships credited with an 18% increase in return customers.
- Track record for staying on or ahead of schedule led to a 12% increase in orders I delivered.
- Performed routine maintenance checks on vehicles to prevent work disruptions or accidents causing financial loss or injury, including two potential catastrophes.
Trucker Driver at Pinnacle Trucking, White Plains
November 2008 — November 2012
- Ran an average of 13 routes per day, accurately tracking all deliveries.
- Outranked other drivers by delivering 79% of orders on time and 18% ahead of schedule.
- Client ratings for reliability and satisfaction averaged 96%.
- Spotless safe driving record earned two awards and project team involvement in developing a new company safety program.
- Carefully secured all transported materials to prevent damages and promptly filed incident reports on any unpreventable risks of compromise.
- Seven management commendations for being a friendly, hardworking, punctual employee who worked well with other drivers and staff.
Truck driver resume education example: on the road already
One undeniable attraction of a truck-driving career is the freedom to go to work with a high-school diploma and just a few months of specialized training. While your grandmother might have told you that you have to go to college, it has become prohibitively expensive for many, and let’s face it: Some people just don’t want or need to.
Student loan debt has become a widespread crisis, reaching an all-time high of $1.4 trillion in 2019 in the U.S. alone. That averaged out to $35,359 per borrower in 2018, with out-of-state tuition and fees of $26,290 a year at public colleges and $35,830 at private colleges.
So while it might sound heretical to say that college isn’t for everyone, it’s true. Truck drivers need a high school diploma or the equivalent, followed by three to six months of classes at a private truck-driving school or a program at a community college. After completing this coursework, recognized by a certificate of completion, they must pass tests to receive a commercial driver’s license (CDL). CDL tests include both a written exam and a test behind the wheel. Additional testing is needed to qualify drivers to transport hazardous materials. Regulations require CDL holders to maintain a clean driving record and pass a physical exam every two years, and they are also subject to random drug and alcohol tests.
Some of the qualities that all truck drivers must have, according to the BLS:
- Hand-eye coordination: Ability to coordinate hands, legs and eyes simultaneously enables rapid reaction to situations and the road and promotes driver safety.
- Hearing ability: Under federal regulations, truck drivers must be able to hear a forced whisper in one ear from 5 feet away.
- Physical health: Truck drivers cannot have medical conditions that may interfere with their ability to safely operate their vehicles.
- Visual ability: Regulations require 20/40 vision with a 70-degree field of vision in each eye, as well as the ability to distinguish colors on traffic signals.
Applicants who meet all these qualifications can go to work a few months out of high school and start earning money to support their families, buy a car or make a down payment on a home — making a wide right turn around that $35,359 in student debt. A new hire typically undergoes a period of on-the-job training, during which he or she drives a truck with a supervisor in the passenger seat. This helps to familiarize new employees with the type of truck they’re driving and/or material they’re transporting.
The education section of truck drivers’ resumes will ordinarily be short and to the point — usually including high school, professional driver training and the year they received their CDL. List these in reverse chronological order.
Below is the education section from a truck driver resume example.
- Class A Tractor/Trailer Operator Program, Duchess School of Driving, Hopewell Junction
- 2001-2005 Poughkeepsie High School, High School Diploma, Poughkeepsie, NY
CV skills example: steady hands on the wheel
Your resume should include a list of key skills that make you a great truck driver. Obviously, these are professionals who need to be excellent drivers, expert in navigating a large vehicle in all kinds of conditions and terrains. They should have an excellent driving record, a respect for the written and unwritten rules of the roads, and expertise in driving defensively to avoid accidents. They must be meticulous about updating their logbooks, skilled at planning their routes, and professional in their contacts with shippers and receivers. Sometimes they must load or unload their cargo, and they need the stamina and alertness to remain attentive for many hours at a time on the road.
They must also check their vehicles to ensure that mechanical and safety equipment is in good order, and they must ensure that their loads are properly secured. And of course, it doesn’t hurt if they have mechanical skills to deal with breakdowns on the road.
The skills section of your resume gives you an opportunity to point out any relevant talents or aptitudes that didn’t make it into the profile, employment or education section. Think about this carefully, scrutinize the job skills your target is looking for, and tailor your skills section accordingly.
Here are some of the top skills needed by heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, according to O*Net, a major source of occupational information developed by the U.S. Labor Department:
- Operation and control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems
- Operation monitoring: Watching gauges, dials or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly
- Time management: Managing one’s own time and the time of others
- Critical thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems
- Monitoring: Monitoring/assessing performance of yourself, other individuals or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action
- Reading comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents
- Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively
- Troubleshooting: Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it
Check out a truck driver CV sample for the skills section below.
- Excellent Customer Service Skills
- Safety Minded
- Clean Driving Record
- Defensive Driving
- Cargo Handling
Resume layout and design: clean and polished
Just like the truck you drive, your truck driver resume should be clean and professional-looking (and not too tricked-out or gimmicky). Hold it to one page, avoid large blocks of text, and include an appropriate amount of white space to make it easy on the eye.
Be aware that non-PDF formats for resumes may look totally different on the computer of the person you send it to, so don’t use them. Also, be aware that the aforementioned ATS software may weed out resumes with buggy formats, so don’t take that chance.
Your best bet is to use the road-tested resume templates and builder tool at resume.io. Scroll through the options offered there, select a design you like, and customize it with your own information. You can save yourself a lot of grief. For professional drivers, we recommend you check out the simple (timeless classics) and professional (streamlined and organized) template design categories!
Key takeaways for a truck driver resume
- Truck drivers are an essential component of the global economy, and steady job growth is expected.
- A well-written, well-designed resume is the key to promoting yourself as the professional that employers are seeking.
- Be confident and assertive in writing your profile and describing your skills and experience, using strong action verbs throughout.
- Do not fall prey to ATS programs that can deep-six your chances because your resume doesn’t mention the qualifications employers are looking for.
- Study your target and tailor each resume to each job application.
Using the proven resume builder and templates at resume.io will bypass major hazards and put you on the road to the job you actually want.