Expanding Your Commercial Driving Resume.

Endorsements and what they are worth to a driver’s career.

If one is in possession of a CDL with a clean driving background, it is nearly guaranteed income.

Depending on the respective job choice that income can be more or less than others, of course. For example, Class A CDL holders tend to earn more than Class B CDL holders per mile and per hour. That is because operating a vehicle that requires a Class A CDL is inherently more dangerous and requires greater skill in most instances. But what if one could advance the caliber of their CDL even further, Class A or Class B?

That is right, I am talking about endorsements to a license!

For example, Doubles and Triples, HAZMAT, Tankers, School Bus, Passenger, or any combination of the endorsements will make a CDL holder more employable. Many well-known trucking companies such as XPO Logistics, YRC, Old Dominion, Saia, and more will not hire drivers for their more lucrative positions without specific endorsements on their CDL.

According to each of the aforementioned company’s job postings on LinkedIn, they all require a driver to have Doubles and Triples, HAZMAT, and Tanker endorsements or be able to obtain within 90 days of hire. The quality of benefits for each company is listed openly on their websites. Each company offers careers with everyday home time, multiple days off per week, paid vacation and holidays, competitive starting pay such as $23.76 per hour for XPO Logistics, and many more. Therefore, one can increase the quality of their trucking life and career by investing in CDL endorsements.

Do endorsements cost money?

Yes, CDL endorsements cost money. The most expensive endorsement being the Hazardous Materials or HAZMAT endorsement. That specific endorsement requires a longer written test and a background check from the Transportation Security Administration, TSA. However, the cost of endorsements, including HAZMAT, is negligible in comparison to the potential for increased wages. The average cost of a HAZMAT endorsement is $100 and the average cost for the other endorsements is around $14.

Simply put, by investing the extra $128 for HAZMAT, Doubles and Triples, and Tanker endorsements one can increase their employment opportunities greatly. Also, consider the fact that even having one or two endorsements on a CDL might set one’s license apart from the competition during hiring decisions. If one wishes to pursue a career in bus driving, endorsements are imperative. A basic Class A or Class B CDL will not be sufficient to operate a commercial passenger motor vehicle. Therefore, expand your commercial driving resume by investing in endorsements.

If you wish to discuss this subject further or have any questions based on this content or other content on this site, please email me a bluecollarcareer.com. Also, see my services page on the menu for other opportunities.

Disclaimer:

This article includes affiliate links which may provide a small commission to me at no cost to you. You can read my affiliate disclosure in my privacy policy.

Sources:

linkedIn.com/jobs

ODFL.com/careers

Saia.com/about-us/work-for-us

Yrc.referrals.selectminds.com

Jobs.xpo.com/US/job

Cdlcareernow.com/articles/cdl-cost

Plumbers: The Unsung Heroes in the World of Skilled Trades.

A Case for a Career in Plumbing.

This coming Sunday call a plumber and tell them that you have a clog in your main line, or you have a large leak in your kitchen sink.

You will find that it is not cheap. That is not a slight to plumbers, it is a nod to their skillful work. Journeyman company and journeyman union plumbers along with independent contractors make a good living because of the skill it requires to be a plumber.

The word plumber harkens images of a goofy, working class individual that may or may not have their pants down a little too low while they work.

Hence the term, “plumber’s crack.” However, in reality plumbers are skilled craftsman who use their abilities to install pipe assemblies, troubleshoot appliance or piping issues, and even weld, solder, or braze. The skillset of a plumber goes well beyond a leaky pipe.

According to the wage rates listed on the Union websites in Chicago, Atlanta, and Las Vegas, a journeyman plumber earns $51.00, $31.18, and $45.90 per hour, respectively. The aforementioned cities were chosen at random. The point is to demonstrate that across the country, there are opportunities to earn a good, livable wage as a journeyman plumber.

If one decides to get into the plumbing game for themselves, the earning potential is great.

 Remember that Sunday trouble call from earlier? When it is your business, you name the price. Someone with guests coming over to watch football on Sunday cannot have a clogged main line. That person will pay you, the plumber, a premium price in order to expeditiously get their system back to normal.

The beauty of beginning a career as a plumber is, like most skilled trades, that it begins with an apprenticeship.

That cliché, “Earn while you learn!”, is 100 percent true. Although, the hourly wage of a 1st or 2nd year apprentice might not have one feeling like the Monopoly Man, consider it an investment in one’s future. Also, consider the fact that union apprentices still collect health, pension, and welfare pay on top of their hourly wage throughout the apprenticeship and into journeyman status.

The union apprenticeship game may not be for everyone. In that case, there are many hungry, non-union small businesses out there who are desperate for honest, hardworking individuals. If one is willing to dedicate 3-5 years to the trade, then success awaits as a journeyman, master plumber, or independent contractor. For veterans, see my “Land a Career with Six-figure Potential Straight out of the Military!”, article under the “veterans” category. As always, please share your thoughts with me via comments or my contact info listed on this site.

Disclaimer:

This article includes affiliate links which may provide a small commission to me at no cost to you. You can read my affiliate disclosure in my privacy policy.

Sources:

Local525.org – National Service and Maintenance Agreement Wage Sheet

Plumberslu130ua.com – Wage Rates and Fringe Benefits and Payroll Deductions

UA72.org – LU72 Wages and Fringes Addendum for the 2017-2021 LU72 CBA

Owlguru.com – What Do Plumbers Do (including their typical day at work)

Write a resume for the job you want, not the job you have.

Simple tips for a greater chance at an effective resume.

Tailoring a resume to each individual job that one applies to is imperative to getting an interview. While I was in the military, I was fortunate enough to attend a resume writing class taught by a former pentagon employee and current attorney. The main thread throughout the class was all about tailoring one’s resume to the specific job desired, not to the entire career field.

Building a resume based off one’s Military Occupational Specialty Code, MOS, can be challenging.

The language that is used in the military world often does not transfer to the civilian workforce. One must choose the correct language to use when transferring their skills to a resume after military separation.

As I mentioned in a previous post, applicant tracking systems or ATS are a common tool that employers use to eliminate unqualified candidates. If a resume does not contain specific key words listed in the original job posting, the resume may not make it through the tracking system. For example, if the job posting states “Package Delivery Drivers must have excellent customer service skills as well as driving skills.”, one should list “excellent customer service and excellent driving” in the skills portion of the resume. The words excellent, customer service, and driving are all key words that could help a resume match up well enough to make it through the applicant tracking system.

Graphics or pictures may cost you a chance at an interview.

Key words are not the only thing that can foul up one’s resume in an ATS. Many people think fancy borders or graphics make their resume stand out to an employer. That may be true with a hard copy handed to an interviewer, but it will be unreadable to the ATS. Do not miss out on a job in which you are qualified because you had a picture on your resume.

For the people out there transferring career fields, hope is not lost.

If direct “hands-on or hard skills” skills do not transfer, soft skills might be valuable to list. For example, if one is moving from the trucking industry to the machining industry, they may want to list safety, leadership, or problem-solving as part of their skill set. Those two industries may not have hard occupational skills that align, but quality traits of an individual are valuable in the career change. Soft skills are more like characteristics of an individual. Therefore, one should think of their best defining qualities that make them a good employee and list them on a resume. This is especially true if there are no transferrable occupational “hard skills.”

Unfortunately, many qualified candidates slip through the cracks as “unqualified” simply because their resume did not make it through the ATS.

If you wish to receive assistance transferring your skills from military service to a civilian resume send me an email at the address listed in the “Contact Me” section.

Disclaimer:

Some of the links in this article are affiliate links that may provide me with a small commission at no cost to you. However, I have vetted every program in this guide and believe they are the best for generating affiliate revenue. You can read my full affiliate disclosure in my privacy policy.

Sources:

How Employers Use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

thebalancecareers.com

Land a career with six-figure potential straight out of the military!

Skilled trades build our country.

I know from personal experience that the transition out of the military can be tough. The people in one’s life can have many different opinions on the decision to separate. One thing that can make the transitional process significantly easier is choosing the right career path. As service members, we all chose at some point to be part of something bigger than ourselves. After the service, one can continue that mission as part of our nation’s talented, skilled tradesmen group.

The G.I. Bill often gets overlooked as a tool strictly for university or college use.

However, if it is used in conjunction with an approved V.A. Apprenticeship it can become very lucrative. While an eligible veteran completes an apprenticeship, they can receive a monthly housing allowance priced for their respective area. Approved V.A. Apprenticeships cover everything from ironworkers, HVAC technicians, electricians, pipefitters, lineman, and many more!

For this post I have chosen to use lineman as the skilled trade for my example. I have listed detailed, real figures as to what one could expect to earn immediately and after completing an apprenticeship. The beauty of the skilled trades is that once one becomes a journeyman, they can work anywhere. Therefore, if the idea of not living in one place is appealing, then keep reading because this may be for you.

A journeyman lineman in San Diego makes $60.24 per hour right now!

According to a recent job posting from a San Diego utility company, they are paying $60.24 per hour plus a 20k relocation bonus. I have chosen to use San Diego for my first example because it is an exceptionally large military community, from which hundreds of veterans transition out every year. Most of us know by now that the blue-collar world requires a little extra elbow grease. But, just in case someone does not, one can expect to typically work 45-55 hours a week in any given trade throughout the course of a year. Therefore, taking the hourly wage of $60.24 and adding in at minimum an additional five hours of overtime per week, the total annual salary comes out to nearly $150k! Keep in mind that does not include any possible per diem that skilled tradesmen often receive as well as any additional retirement and healthcare packages.

If the San Diego figures are not convincing enough. I have also chosen to look at an area without much military presence or without many people at all, Montana. According to a job posting in Butte, MT, a journeyman lineman makes $46.50 per hour. Using the same metrics as the San Diego job, the Butte, MT job comes out to around $110k annually.

The most recent San Diego County demographic figures state that the average household income for the county is around $103k per year. The most recent data that I could find, the year 2018, for Butte, MT was listed around $43k per year. Although there is quite the price parity between San Diego and Butte, one can see based on the figures that a journeyman lineman can make an above average living wage.

A typical apprenticeship lasts about four years.

Unfortunately, most people cannot jump right into becoming a journeyman. But that is where the G.I. Bill is advantageous for veterans during an apprenticeship. During the first 36 months of an approved V.A. Apprenticeship, an eligible veteran can claim a housing allowance on top of being paid as an apprentice. It is not uncommon for 1st year apprentices to make between 50-60 percent of journeymen scale. Throughout an apprenticeship, the wage scale typically increases by 5-10 percent every 6-12 months until an apprentice reaches journeyman status. If one assumes the low end of 1st year apprentice scale, in San Diego a 1st year apprentice currently makes around $30 per hour and a 1st year apprentice in Butte makes around $23 per hours. Those figures alone earn an individual around $65k and $50k per year respectively, based on the 40-hour week and 5-hour overtime metrics used above.

Now for the exciting part, the G.I. Bill figures. Va.gov lists the beginning housing allowance at $2850 per month for San Diego and in Butte it is $1284 per month. Those figures are for the 1st scale of apprenticeship wages. As the apprentice wage increases closer to journeyman scale, the V.A. housing allowance decreases. However, taking the figures into consideration, the housing allowance added to the annual apprentice income is $99k and $65k respectively for San Diego and Butte.

All the information can be found on the Veteran’s Affairs website regarding apprenticeships across the country.

The VA website can be tough to navigate. Feel free to email me with any questions on how to find specific information based on apprenticeships in your area. I realize for this article that I only used lineman for an example, but many of the skilled trades are great paying careers. Explore all options!

Disclaimer:

Some of the links in this article are affiliate links that may provide me with a small commission at no cost to you. However, I have vetted every program in this guide and believe they are the best for generating affiliate revenue. You can read my full affiliate disclosure in my privacy policy.

Sources:

San Diego Gas & Electric – Distribution Lineman Job Post

Recruiting.adp.com

Pay rates – 4-year wireman program

Ibew558jatc.com

Indeed – lineman – Montana

Indeed.com

San Diego County Demographics

Point2homes.com

Butte Silver Bowe Salaries

Govsalaries.com

GI Bill Comparison Tool

Va.gov/gi-bill-comparison-tool

Contact Me

[email protected]

Disclaimer:

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links that may provide me with a small commission at no cost to you. However, I have vetted every program in this guide and believe they are the best for generating affiliate revenue. You can read my full affiliate disclosure in my privacy policy.

Having trouble finding the right talent?

The real question may be, is the right talent having trouble finding you?

In the job market today applicant tracking systems have become a ubiquitous tool among employers. Applicant tracking systems are used to keep under qualified candidate profiles and resumes from making it to the eyes of a hiring manager. But, what if, talented employees have their own tracking system? A system that looks for key words in job postings. If a talented job seeker does not like what they see in a matter of seconds, then they may pass on the job posting without a second glance.

Some people browse Facebook when they are bored. I browse job postings.

I do not browse because I am constantly looking to change careers, it is because I am fascinated by the way employers think. For this post, I want to specifically target local trucking jobs. Based on my experience as a local truck driving job seeker and information from my colleagues in the trucking industry, I believe employers are losing talent with their respective job posts. The talent gets lost because it does not apply. Why waste one’s time filling out a lengthy job application, tailoring your resume, and filling out a background check questionnaire if the job does not give you all the details up front? In this post, I will highlight a few key factors that employers could improve upon to land the right talent. I will also, highlight different job posts from LinkedIn as examples of good and bad posts. All the companies will be kept anonymous.

 Talented truck drivers want to know what a company is going to pay.

 Yes, it is possible to look up pay on job review sites and get an estimate. But often times the estimates on those sites are low or outdated. That has made myself and other drivers I know move past a job immediately. If a company has a starting pay range of 18 to 21 dollars an hour. List the starting pay at 20 dollars an hour. Do not waste time offering an individual 18 or 19 dollars an hour. In my experience, if the job does not at least say 20 dollars an hour to start, then quality drivers will not apply. That pay still falls in the company’s range and now it attracts a higher caliber of driver. Most quality drivers in the trucking industry know that they will work between 45 to 65 hours a week. With overtime pay, 20 dollars an hour, gets a driver to around 50k a year or more. Talented drivers do not want to work for less than that. That is the low end of pay. If a company can afford 22, 25, or 27 dollars an hour then they should pay that amount.

That old saying, “you get what you pay for”, is true among truck drivers.

 It is no secret that continuously hiring new employees is more expensive than retaining current employees. Pay them more from the start! Do not look at it like they need to prove something. They already proved they are worthy because they were hired. Invest in good truck drivers immediately and they will stay. I know 10-15 different truck drivers in different parts of the industry. If they were offered 27 dollars an hour to start, they would be much less likely to leave. Thus, creating motivation to put in their best work, day in and day out. Therefore, paying a higher wage right away for talent, not only increases the chances of finding talent but it increases the chances of retaining employees due to a higher morale.

Under the search “driver” on LinkedIn, in my metropolitan area, I have selected a few job posts to use as an example for listing pay. One job that I found has been posted for two weeks. According to the profile, it has zero applicants on LinkedIn so far. The job post makes no mention of wage. It also lists that the job requires 2 years of experience. The next job posting that I found was posted two weeks ago and it has 24 applicants. The first item that the posts lists is “$21.00 an hour and up…”. The third posting I have chosen was posted four days ago and has zero applicants. The post makes no mention of wage. 2/3 of the companies I listed are on the Fortune 500 list for 2020. Based on that small sample, one can surmise that listing respectable pay increases the chances of acquiring applicants.

Home time is equally important.

The next thing that most truck drivers look for in a job posting is the schedule. For many drivers, home time is of equal importance to pay. I understand that some truck driving jobs simply have tough schedules, nights, weekends, holidays, etc. However, the job posts need to list those disadvantages upfront. Talented drivers want to know what they are getting themselves into before they apply. Do not waste a talented truck driver’s time by withholding a poor work schedule until the interview. They will tell their colleagues and friends. On the other side of things, if a company has a good schedule, they should list it! For example, morning start times, weekends off, holidays off, etc. are all things that talented drivers look for in a career.

I have listed the same three jobs from above and written how schedules are listed in their respective postings. The first post that I previously mentioned, was posted two weeks ago with no applicants listed on LinkedIn. Their job post makes no mention of schedule or home time at all. The second post, which was listed two weeks ago and has 24 applicants, mentions a Mon-Fri or a Tues-Sat schedule. The post also lists that employees can expect to work more than 8 hours each workday. The third job post that I listed earlier, which was posted four days ago and has no applicants on LinkedIn, mentions it requires a 39-40-hour work week. However, it lists no specific times or days.

Pay and Home Time = Talented Truck Drivers

Do not take only my word for it. Visit job websites yourself and look at the jobs with applicants and the jobs that have none. Research the company’s driver retention history. Talented drivers, of course, want good pay and good home time. But the point that I am trying to make is that a company may not get the chance at good drivers if they do not list pay and home time in their job posts. I am happy to discuss this at more detail via my email listed on this site with anyone looking to acquire more talented drivers.

Disclaimer:

Some of the links in this article are affiliate links that may provide me with a small commission at no cost to you. However, I have vetted every program in this guide and believe they are the best for generating affiliate revenue. You can read my full affiliate disclosure in my privacy policy.

Sources:

“Driver” search LinkedIN – linkedin.com/jobs/search

About The Blue Collar Career Consultant

I spent 5 1/2 years in the U.S. Navy as a welder, aviation support equipment diesel mechanic, and aviation support equipment operator. I got my Class A CDL back in 2012 and I have been involved in the trucking industry in some way ever since. Over the last few years, I have developed great admiration for truckers, skilled tradesmen, and anyone who is willing to get down and dirty to earn an honest living.

While I was separating from the military, I realized that there is a real lack of knowledge regarding blue collar careers with veterans. Primarily, the use of the GI Bill during a VA approved apprenticeship. Many current and separating vets do not realize the trucking industry and skilled trades can be very lucrative.

But my message is not only to military veterans. I have been fortunate enough to work with many talented, skilled workers over the years. I have learned what skilled individuals truly look for in a career. I have also learned what employers can do to draw in that talent.

I love hardworking individuals and I want to help get the blue collar message out there. There is money to be had folks!

Disclaimer:

Some of the links in this article are affiliate links that may provide me with a small commission at no cost to you. However, I have vetted every program in this guide and believe they are the best for generating affiliate revenue. You can read my full affiliate disclosure in my privacy policy.