Q. I'm a trucker driver. Or I was, for over 15 years. Now I am not because I got laid off over a year ago. I enjoyed some time off, collected unemployment, and figured I’d have a job by now. The unemployment extensions have kept me above water, but just barely. I have been looking for a job, but all the job search stuff you write about doesn’t seem to work for people with my kind of job. Plus, all the online applications ask for my social security number. That doesn’t sound right. Is it a scam? It’s time to make some money, and get back to work. Do you have advice for regular jobs?
A. Looking for any job from truck driver to human resources professional to company CEO is a challenge in this economy. Believe it or not, most of the job search methods are the same for any type of job, and there are some adjustments which might make the process more effective.
First, identify all the resources available to you for job search help. You will need to use all avenues including online job boards, industry and networking events, etc. for your search to be successful. Many job seekers choose to use one method at a time, and then see what happens. You need to follow multiple paths to make things move ahead.
You have filed for unemployment insurance, so you are getting financial support. Have you used their services and support to write a detailed resume? In your line of work, the information around dates, certifications, and any awards for attendance, or safe driving all matter. Ensure the accuracy of this information. I am sure you are aware that you can buy a copy of your Department of Transportation Records for about $40 online. You need to make sure all information matches.
Be careful with your social security number. This information is used to identify your driving record and proceed with caution on how you use it. If you find an organization which feels like a scam, or presents you with placement opportunities they want to charge you for that, don’t pursue it. I also encourage you to file complaints with the Better Business Bureau if you feel mislead.
Were you part of a union in any of your jobs? Unions can often help current or former members to find new opportunities. Even if you were not a member of a union, these connections can support your job search. I encourage you to meet with leadership and other members. They will have a host of information, and be able to introduce you to other people who may have lots of information to share about job leads and other professional connections.
Many people think networking only applies to senior business people, but it is vital to every job seeker's success. Networking is connecting with others to learn more about what the marketplace looks like, and to see who else you should reach out to. It applies to you.
Make sure you network, use Craigslist, look at the job boards, and talk to everyone you know about others they know in the transportation business.
There are many kinds of driving jobs, paid in many different ways, and in this market, it will take perseverance, and plenty of referrals to get you to the right hiring organization.