I start CDL school April 1, 2017. I have wondered the same thing about do I contact companies now or wait until after I get my CDL. I have talked to several drivers about this subject and there are mixed opinions. I took the chance and started contacting companies a month prior to starting my CDL school. But not until I got my DOT physical, contacted and paid for a private accredited CDL school, passed all my CDL exams (I obtained all six endorsements for my state that I live in) and then I started to apply online to a bunch of companies. I use a Android app on my phone called “Driver Pulse” to track my applications which is hooked up to IntelliApp which is the application process that a lot of the trucking companies use for applicants. One piece of information that is invaluable is the video that RVT has about his questions to ask recruiters spreadsheet. I am not great with spreadsheets so I created a word document with similar questions and I have even added some of my own. But you need to go into this as you would any job interview and be prepared. The recruiters really liked that I had questions for them it proves to them that you are serious and made an effort to understand the industry. One item I learned real quick is all of these trucking companies are very interested in folks especially if they have clean driving records, no criminal background and a solid job history. Most of the companies that will hire new drivers right out of CDL school are super interested in you even if you don’t have your current CDL. Even the companies that require some length of time driving are still interested in you but they just can’t hire you until you have that time in seat.
Now I have a solid amount of companies that I have applied to and I have talked to. I have a rating system on my document in which I can quickly rate the trucking company based on the information they provided me. This way I can weed out the companies that are not a fit for me. Trucking companies need drivers! It doesn’t hurt to get your name out there now if you are serious about driving!