As our world continues to shrink and expand in a variety of ways, industries, such as shipping and logistics, are having to stay one step ahead of the game. Our industry as a whole is seeing this evolution on all fronts but none so apparent as on the human resources front. Haulage jobs are appealing to a much more diverse group of individuals. Hauliers of today are required to be technologically savvy, patient and have a skill set that can quickly assess and react to any given situation. The job still isn’t for everyone, but here are a few tips that will aide in your success if you do decide to explore this career path. |
Study, Study, Study
It is wise to consider the road as your office, and thus you must know the rules of your office and adhere to them strictly. You, and the rules of the road, must become partners, not adversaries, to get to the top of your game. Know the workings of your vehicle inside and out, as well as what it can and cannot do. Haulage jobs are no longer reserved for the ‘rough and ready’ type. Employers are looking for intelligent, quick thinking and calm employees to put at the helm of their rigs.
The laws of physics must also be respected. Always consider your vehicle’s weight and height before pushing the pedal to the metal. The laws of science always win and challenging them will generally leave you with a red face and a reputation of recklessness. So study the regional and local laws of the various routes you tend to drive the most. The fewer surprises you meet on the road means the faster the journey, which is typically your ultimate goal.
Be the Face of the Industry
Although it may not appear to be so, haulage jobs can be physically strenuous. Sitting in one position for extended periods of time can take its toll on your back, shoulders and neck. It is important to stay physically fit and limber so that your body can handle the endurance test of long haul driving. Eat well, sleep well and stretch both during scheduled stop breaks and while off the road.
It is also wise to consider that you are the travelling advertisement for which ever haulage company you work for. Both your appearance and your behaviour should reflect pride in your work and your employer. This is not to say that you must wear formal attire while driving and hand out business cards at each and every rest stop that you frequent. However, it does require you to look alert and as fresh as possible, always maintain good road etiquette, and don’t give the public cause to curse the wheels you are rolling on!
Become a Road Nerd
Haulage jobs these days are far more dependent on modern technology than they ever have been. On-board sat navs are now regarded as standard equipment and have revolutionised the speed and efficiency of the logistics industry. Learn about the latest capabilities of these technologic advances. Sat navs and on-board dash-cams can be your lifeline when the unexpected interrupts your itinerary.
International hauliers are subject to far greater regulations and rules. Employers highly value those that can speak and read in a foreign language, and can conduct themselves diplomatically in the midst of unfamiliar cultures and customs.
Becoming the King/Queen of the Road
So it is wise to hit the books before deciding to hit the road. Some haulier companies may even allow a ‘ride along’ for potential new employees to get a sense of how haulage jobs really play out. Ask questions and listen to seasoned drivers. Although they too know the rules of the game they are an invaluable source of unwritten information.
Never be discouraged from exploring this career path due to previous stereotypes of truck drivers themselves. If your life can handle the nomadic schedule of a long haul driver, and you have the brains and your wits about you, give it a try. Long haul drivers can make an extremely lucrative living doing this job, which also offers you the chance to explore the country, and maybe some others too! Diversity only adds to the cultural wealth of the industry which, in turn, makes logistics companies more appealing and valuable to shipping industries.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage jobs with available drivers. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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