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Unbreaking Trucking

Inspiring insights for the ambitious driver.

How to Spot a Good CDL Job

Written by John Daniels
December 5, 2023

Drivers are a skeptical and jaded bunch (as if there was any doubt). Good carriers always keep that in mind when advertising – They know that drivers aren't easily fooled by lofty promises and big numbers. And even if such an underhanded tactic would work, it'll never bring long term success. The better bet is concise, relevant, detailed information delivered in a readable and attractive format.

But how can you tell a good opportunity from a bad one?

How to Spot a Good Job

Break it down into three sections and ask yourself if the job is providing, A) the bare minimum, B) something that sets it apart from others, C) an exciting and rare value. For instance:

Mandatory (Bare minimum): Dry van OTR route, safety first, 2 years experience required.

Performance (Better than most): 1-2 years of driving experience preferred, but we consider students just out of driving school with a valid CDL for in-house training.

Delight (Going above and beyond): 1 week vacation first year, 2 weeks second year, 3 weeks fourth year, 6 major holidays paid yearly, 401K company match and full benefits

DO look for specific examples. "Our drivers stay with us for an average of 10 years, and our turnover is low for a reason - we ensure they get home weekends, and make sure all drivers get a Blue Cross Blue Shield benefits plan."

DON'T be swayed by general statements: "Our commitment to safety ensures drivers can be proud to work at our company."

What's About Bad Job Ads?

A bad job ad is general, vague, attention grabbing (in all the wrong ways) and occasionally dishonest. As a truck driver, there’s no doubt you’ve seen your share of them.

Bad job ads are usually very short and fail to answer a lot of questions such as:

  • Is this job full time or part time?

  • Is this W2 or 1099?

  • What's my expected weekly average pay?

  • How many hours am I expected to work per week?

  • What kind of trailer is it?

  • Will I be touching freight?

The big problem with bad job ads is that they’re usually too general. They cast too wide a net and in turn end up wasting the time of drivers who are looking for something specific.

A job with little written about it might pique the interest of a driver just enough to hit the ‘apply’ button. Everything that happens afterwards, though, is usually a waste of time.

You get on the line with the recruiter and start asking questions, and quickly come to realize that the vague job ad you saw was for a job that wasn’t worth your time.

Being able to spot a good ad, on the other hand, is a skill - one that will make your life as a truck driver a lot easier. Read on to find out how to tell a good trucking ad from a bad one.

Why it’s important to spot good job ads

As a truck driver, you’re unlikely to stay at the same job for life. The high industry turnover means that there will always be companies trying to grab your attention and recruit you for your much needed skill set.

Since there are so many job ads out there, and so many opportunities, it is only wise that you do your due diligence and stay smart about which jobs you pursue, and which ones you ignore.

Even though you’d think that common sense would prevail, many drivers still fall for dishonesty, vagueness, and false promises - and become embittered in the process. No good.

When in doubt, ask these questions

Anyway, that’s enough preamble - let’s get into the dirt. Next time you look at a job ad, I want you to ask yourself these questions:

  • How clear is the company about the position? - Are all of the relevant job details included? If they’re not, ask yourself why.

  • How transparent is the job description? - Transparent, in this case, is all about how the details are laid out. Is the pay concealed in vagueness, or is it properly laid out? What about home time? Try to look for signs of honesty here. If you were talking to this company one-on-one, would there be any red flags? Be critical, have high standards.

  • Are they making any huge claims or promises? - Sign on bonuses in particular are notorious for coming with a lot of small print.A huge and bombastic hook isn’t always a bad thing - legit companies do this too. Just make sure you’re weighing

  • What information is being highlighted? - For example: A company highlighting their sign on bonus, but not their other job details could be a red flag.

Is the job ad specific enough?

Specificity wins over a general "wide net" approach any day. Essentially, the less targeted and relevant an ad is, the less likely it is to attract the right drivers.

People will tell you to ‘niche down’ when it comes to a lot of things in life, and trucking is no different.

As a driver, you’re an individual with a specific background and your own set of needs and wants. When you see a job ad that isn’t specific about what it offers, consider that it likely is not for you.

Many websites make it hard for you to find jobs that tick all of your boxes, and that’s a shame. That’s why we made sure to build Lanefinder with a killer job search function that lets you find jobs based on your personal wants and needs. Check it out for yourself.

What to look for in a trustworthy job ad

A tight and relevant job title - A good job ad has a descriptive title that sums up the most important elements of the job: The route type, the type of trailer, whether or not the job is dedicated, and so on. It should not feature dollar sign emojis... 💸💰💵

Realistic pay averages - If detecting BS was a job, truck drivers would be the best at it. Companies with good ads understand that they can’t get away with lying to their potential hires by listing an unattainable figure as their weekly pay. Instead, they provide a realistic pay range and details about how the driver is paid.

Type of employment - Is the job 1099 or W2? Solo or team? A good ad makes that information clear and unambiguous.

Trailer types & details - What trailers a driver is expected to haul. Bonus points for detailed information about load types.

Freight handling - How much of the freight is driver touch / how much is live load and unload, et cetera.

A clear operating area - Specifying an operating area is especially important for regional and local jobs.

A map of terminals and HQ - This is huge. Most companies don’t do this, but they really should. As a driver, you shouldn’t have to waste your time applying to a company you wouldn’t want to commute to.

Extra details and policies - For example, for a flatbed position, a good ad would specify how much tarping would be required. This includes information such as pet and rider policies, too.

On Lanefinder, we’ve made it so that all job ads live up to certain standards. We make sure that:

  • The information is presented in a readable way.

  • The company is introduced briefly and succinctly.

  • The operating area of the job is also displayed visually above the ad, which gives drivers a solid indication of where they will be driving.

  • The pay range provided is reasonable, and no space is taken up on extravagant claims.

Find your next CDL job on Lanefinder and enjoy a job search experience that respects your needs as a driver.

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