Do you like the idea of driving semis, big rigs, or other commercial vehicles, hauling cargo across the city, state, or country? If you want to pursue trucking as a career, there are some important steps you need to follow.

Getting into the trucking industry isn’t necessarily a difficult process, but it certainly takes some work. To start, you want to find a trucking school that will help you earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and get you moving down the path to employment in the industry. But don’t just choose the first trucking school you come to; do a little research and find the school that best fits your needs. Some trucking schools tend to move faster than others; some offer trucking training that may better suit novices, while others move swiftly and are even competitive between students.

Once you settle on a trucking training program, leap into the program with both feet. Immerse yourself in the trucking world, learn about the industry. Don’t rely only on the trucking school curriculum to best position you in a career; do some outside reading. Check out blogs like Trucking Truth, and check out message boards or social media groups devoted to trucking. Don’t be afraid to speak with trucking companies and employers, and get your name out there in advance of earning your CDL. Get a little advice from the trucking industry before you enter it; find out how you can better position yourself for a trucking career, and use that advice to grow into your position.

After the weeks of study and practice are complete, and you have successfully finished your trucking training program, you can move into the next phase: earning your CDL. Be sure you are ready to pass the CDL exam, and do some extra outside studying to ensure you’re on the right track. Concentrate and focus on what you need to accomplish to make your trucking dreams a reality. And don’t forget to add in some, if not all of, the endorsements. Endorsements are really just additional reasons to hire you. Take the additional testing and give yourself chances at employment a little boost.

After you have finished and passed the CDL exam, you are ready to pursue a trucking career. See if your school has job placement options, and if so, don’t hesitate to take advantage of them. Return to those trucking industry employers you spoke with earlier, and let them know you’re in the market for a job in trucking. Maybe you don’t get any solid leads, or maybe you get lucky and someone is in need for a new driver. Either way, your name is out there and you’re ready to pursue employment.

As you conduct your job search, scour trucking job boards and apply everywhere you can. Don’t be afraid to consult social media to try to find job openings and to let some of your trucking industry contacts know that you are looking for a job (what did you think you were doing hanging out on those trucking sites, blogs, and social media pages? Networking!).

Breaking into trucking is just like breaking into any other field; you have to have skills to get in, and it can take time. The better you position yourself at the outset, the more likely you are to nail down a trucking job quickly. Of course, it may just take time. Don’t get discouraged if the trucking companies aren’t breaking down your door to hire you. Be persistent and don’t be afraid to use novel measures to get the trucking industry’s attention. You probably aren’t starting your own trucking company right off the bat, unless you happen to have the capital laying around, but even if you do, have the resources, you probably want a little trucking experience working for a few companies first.

But preparation is key to taking your trucking career into your own hands. Do the work, put in the extra time, do the little things that make a big difference when you’re starting a trucking career.