Break In Employment - Prepping For Paid CDL Interview/acceptance.

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Jason's Comment
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Been doing the research of the various companies and providing a comprehensive 3 year work history seems to be the standard.

I have a clear break for about a year after I left my last job of 10 years. I need to know what I should prep or expect to cover the gap...or is it even possible?

I was in IT and the work morphed from support to sales at which point I bit off more than I could chew and finally had to bow out. (I am NOT a salesman!) I gave 2 weeks notice. I just took a long break; spent a lot of time helping my aging folks on their 'farm' (200 acres). So much so that I ended up moving back in. Crazy at my age, but it made sense. I've been out of the loop long enough now, retraining in IT would cost almost as much as going to truck driving school (which I can't afford) and I still may not find work. Let's all IT plan B.

Will corporate take into account the fact I was with last 'big' employer for ~10 years before taking a long break? (I assume recruiters would say yes, but it's that face to face interview that really matters.) What proof should I prepare? Note from parents sounds pretty cheesy. Should I just gloss over getting in over my head and just focus on helping out my medically challenged folks in their time of need?

I'm heading to the DMV tomorrow to take my 3 tests and get my CLP. Just need to sort this out and I can start applying. Shooting for middle of January if I can. I'm still working full time at a Factory now. Planning on applying Jim Palmer, Prime, and then I'm not sure.

Got some other questions- but need to sort this out first. Thanks in advance for your attention.


Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.


Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.


Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Old School's Comment
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Jason, the 3 year verification is something that came about after 9/11. The purpose is to keep terrorists from getting into big trucks like they did with airplanes. You just need to be able to document what you were doing and have a way they can verify it. Some companies will accept notarized letters from your friends who can say they know you were helping your aging parents.

This is a fairly easy hurdle to get over, but it may vary on what the different companies will accept. A conversation with each recruiter should help you sort out what they need to get you on board. Just be straightforward with them and most of them will figure out a way to work it out. If you're still having trouble let us know and we will try to help. Prime is probably one of the most strict companies concerning employment verification.

Larry B.'s Comment
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I wanted to add to this forum. My girlfriend and I have been researching companies for the past 4 or 5 months and we narrowed it down to Wil-Trans/Jim Palmer. Looking to go through the CDL training and ultimately end up teaming. We really liked everything about the company and those sharp new shiny black trucks that come loade. Here lies the problem. My girlfriend hasn't worked for the past 12-13 months because she has been taking care of her elderly mother at home doctor trips, etc, etc. Her mothers doctor said he would give her a notarized letter stating all she has been doing this past year. Her sister is now living next door to their mother and is going to assume the responsibilities and my girlfriend is ready to hit the road. BUT with the "no employement" for past year Wil-Trans has denied her. We have been talking to this recruiter for over a month, sent all necessary documents, done the phone interviews and now it's a no go. Girlfriend was devastated because both are ready to hit the road. She called PRIME the next day and explained the situation and they said they could possibly work something out. So what gives? 1 says yes and 1 says no. I know each company has there own rules and policies but man. I just wanted to present this because Old Skool mentioned that PRIME was one of the toughest. Hopefully we can get in somewhere.


Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Darrel Wilson bought his first tractor in 1980 at age 20, but, being too young to meet OTR age requirements, he leased the truck out and hired a driver.

Through growth and acquisition, Wil-Trans now employs over 200 drivers, and has a long-standing partnership with Prime, Inc. to haul their refrigerated freight. The family of businesses also includes Jim Palmer Trucking and O & S Trucking.

Aubrey M.'s Comment
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What I gathered from my recruiter is that they pretty much go with their gut as it is their butt on the line if you don't pan out as an employee. They want people they know will be invested in the company and follow through with the training; work history is one way of assessing that with a stranger. Basically, you have to convince them you are not just doing this on a whim or trying something new to see how it pans out. You have to have the attitude that you're going to be a trucker, and you're either going to be an asset to this company, or go with another who see's that in you. Switching companies often or not working for a period shows no commitment, loyalty, or investment in a company, and if you're looking at paid/free schooling, then they are investing big bucks in new hires. Contracts and court judgements mean little at the end of the day as far as actually collecting money from students who bail.

In addition to Old School's advice, I'd say be proactive and demonstrate that this is really what she wants to do. Regardless of Prime's prerequisites, have her go get her CLP with at least one or two endorsements, and study up on the company to know things to tell the recruiter before they tell you. A big one seems to be telling the recruiter why you chose trucking and their company over all the others as well, or over schools. Really, it shouldn't be too hard a sell if she is truly intent on this as a profession.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Jason's Comment
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I got my permit and a new social security card in the mail. Need to square away my Medical card and get my tanker endorsement. I misunderstood something in the manual or GA's permit limitations which is why I didn't take it with the initial 3.

Jim Palmer/Wil Trans shot me down already; no reason offered. Prime is waiting approval. Any gap over 6 mos has to get upper level approval.

Driver Solutions is on the table- spoke to a Recruiter and holding off on application until next week; just waiting to see what Prime says. I'm shooting for mid-January start date so there's no rush (at their end).

TMC is out. After reading Bret's account of 'flatbed' trucking... I'm just too old to get into that. Working at the plant the last 9 months has done wonders for my waste-line, but not much muscle. Spent the last 10+ years sitting behind computers and my body is letting me know I have limitations.

Coverage area is a priority for me. I don't want GA to be my 'home' anymore! I'm so sick of the SE [humidity] in general. Visit? Let it be brief, but I'm ready to go back W/NW. Why Jim Palmer was first choice.

RealDiehl's Comment
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I had the same issue when I tried to get on with Wiltrans and Prime. I was accepted by another company and I have been with them for almost a year. I called Prime a few days ago about possibly working for them once my obligation with U.S. Xpress is complete. I was connected with the same recruiter I spoke with over a year ago when I first applied. Things were different this time. The recruiter was confident Prime would hire me and he pretty much said all I'd have to do is a three day orientation and I'd be all set. I suppose I'm less of a risk now because they don't have to spend money on training me.

If you can't get with Prime right away you could always sign on with another company and try again after a year (if you still want to drive for Prime). I'm considering driving for Prime for a few reasons. ONE of which is because they didn't accept me initially and I'd see it as some kind of redemption. Of course that's not the only reason.

Jason's Comment
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Recruiter said January will be a busy month/crowded classrooms which likely equates to less driving practice per student. I learned to drive on manual so that might help...hard to say. Still waiting on approval.

Been reading some of the diaries and others and i know this life is challenging. I think i always had this stereotype in my head that kept ne from considering it in the past. That i think itll be a good fit.

Chasing Freight's Comment
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Jason, I have been lurking on this forum anonymously for the past year or so. My father is disabled to an extent so there were times where I had to stop working to be at home helping him. Prime turned me down because out of the last 3 years, I spent 8 months unemployed (not consecutive). I reached out and they explained that they're working on making the hiring process a little bit easier but as of right now it is what it is. They are very strict when it comes to employment history from what I've gathered. I applied to Swift and my recruiter has me set up to go to school on the 26th. I asked her about the employment and she didn't even seem remotely concerned. I'm not suggesting by any means that you should go to Swift, I'm just sharing my experience so far and who I've decided on. I've heard from several drivers at Swift and it just seemed like the best fit for me personally and my situation. I also have a terminal about 30 minutes from me so it all just seems to be right. Even if Prime doesn't work out, you will find the right company for you. Whether or not the employment will become an issue at school or right before I leave, that remains to be seen. Hopefully it all pans out for us both! Good luck to you.


A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Big Scott's Comment
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I would suggest calling CFI. When speaking with a recruiter, honestly explain your situation. CFI recruiters won't beat around the bush. They are are 100% honest. I can walk in there and talk to any of them. They want hard working people who will stick around. Every company does. Good luck.

Jason's Comment
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Appreciate the word. Fortunately I'm full time now. Not a dramatic rush.

Actually maximizing the benefits i have since it will take 4 months to get on Prime or anothers insurance after I start the journey. New glasses, etc.

Do truckers use shades? Wondering if i should splurge on some transition is Christmas.

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