Here are some of Captain Bob's top oral board Interview
Letís say you are in the process of applying for a
firefighter job. What factors play into the hiring panelís first
impression of you? Naturally, your physical appearance. Your choice of words,
eye contact, and your handshake are also very important. But you may have
overlooked the most important factor in making a good first impression Ė your
application and resume.
I can't tell you how many times we've seen applications
with misspelled words, poor grammar, and sloppy organization. It certainly gives
me a negative first impression of the candidate, before Iíve even had the chance
to meet them in person.
Putting in that extra effort to build a solid and
well-crafted resume could be the deciding factor in getting hired. And having
reviewed thousands of applicantsí resumes in my lifetime, Iíll provide you a few
tried-and-true tips on writing a strong resume.
Unfortunately, the sad truth is that most resumes are
poorly done. Many applicants will simply copy a generic business-style resume
format, which usually features paragraphs that drone on and on about
accomplishments and experience. This is not very well-suited for
EMS/firefighter/paramedic jobs due to the high volume of candidates vying for
the same positions. Reviewers only have a few moments to look at your resume
before you walk into the room, so you need to grab their attention immediately.
I'm a huge fan of the one-page resume for entry-level
hires; donít even bother with a cover letter or a resume folder. Save a tree by
being concise and don't make the job panel send out a search party to find your
good stuff. Try imaging that the reviewer wonít spend more than
looking over your resume. Hit them with your major qualifications and experience
right away on one page.
Here are a few other points to consider:
Donít list your education as the first item on the
resume. Thatís for business/corporate interviews. You should highlight your
key work experience right away. EMT certification. Bam. Firefighting
experience. Bam. Apparatus operation training. Bam.
|Your experience doesnít necessarily have to be listed
in chronological order. Try building your resume with the most pertinent
experience and information at the top of the page. I remember one candidate
telling me that his paramedic certification and firefighting experience were
his best qualifications. Yet he listed it at the bottom of his resume where
it can be easily overlooked. |
|You should include the dates of qualifications and experience on the
right side of the page where it can be easily referenced. This allows for
more freedom when formatting the order of your resume.
|Then supplement your qualifications with education, course work and
other secondary extracurricular information at the bottom of the page to
balance out your applicant package. |
Here is how I would suggestion organizing your resume:
1284 Main St.
Kensington, Ca 94588
Phone: 510-286-5890 e-mail:
achieve a level within the fire service.
Firefighter Fire Department, CA 2-00 Present
Duties include but are not limited to fire suppression in structural as
well as wild land environments and emergency medical services under
highly stressful emergency conditions. Also, fire prevention, public
education, vehicle and station maintenance under the supervision of a
Captain, always focusing on providing quality customer service.
Engineer (Acting) 2-03 Present
Firefighter Fire Department (Auxiliary) 3-99 2-00
Perform in a probationary capacity under emergency situations, fire
suppression, emergency medical services, also fire prevention, public
education, vehicle and station maintenance.
EMT Ambulance Service, CA 3-99 2-00
Perform under emergency situations; emergency medical services under the
direction of Redondo Beach and L.A. County Fire Department Paramedics.
Vehicle and station maintenance and Code-3 driving.
INSTRUCTOR Emergency Response CPR 3-03 Present
Adult, Child, & Infant CPR training for the community as well as for the
Owner/Operator Pool Company, CA 5-97 2-00
Service and repair of residential and commercial pools and spas
according to County Health Department specifications.
EDUCATION: (is space is needed to keep on one page, these can be placed
in two columns)
EMT Defib and Combitube certified
Red Cross certified CPR Instructor
Federal Red Card System Member
Driver/Operator State certified
Class B Driverís License
If you have space left using a size 12 fount on the first page you can
Member of State University Track and Field Team.
Member of State University X-Country Team.
Volunteer for Hubbs Institute White Sea Bass Population Restoration
Volunteer for Red Cross on various projects
Thatís all you need. Nothing more, nothing less. Keep it simple.
Now that weíve covered how to construct a balanced resume,
we must not forget about another key element: presentation and delivery. Donít
even think that you can go into an interview and hand over your resume for the
job panel to review on the spot. This upsets the normal flow of the interview.
Be sure to FedEx or hand deliver a hard copy of your resume to human resources
before the interview. Don't fax it.
And with the onset of technology, many departments have
made applications available online. However, this new method leaves you
susceptible to a whole slew of challenges. Make sure to double check spelling
and grammar before clicking that Ďsendí button. There is no excuse for
sloppiness or mistakes just because you apply online or through email. Also,
make a copy of your online application before sending. Iíve talked to many
candidates whoíve submitted online applications, but couldnít remember the
information they had put down six months later during their interview.
These resume tips will ensure that you are starting off on
the right foot when applying for a job. After all, competing against other
candidates and going on interviews make the application process hard enough as
it is. Donít give a bad first impression before you can even get your foot in
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Fire "Captain Bob" Author, Becoming A Firefighter
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