The LA City HR web site said that they will accept resumes, but they are
discouraged. These postings from candidates that have used them brings new light
to the process:
I read the website the same way Capt. Bob did- not to bring supplemental
paperwork such as resumes. However, when I checked in with the personnel
counter, the clerk asked if I had a resume to include. She said she would accept
them if we had them, but they didn't want us walking into the interview with
because the clerk would pass it on directly. She directed me to go get my resume
from my car and bring it in. So, I'd bring one to give to personnel.
The two people on my panel reviewed my interview before I entered the room, and
when I walked in one of them said 'it looks like you've been preparing for this
for a long time.' To me that meant that they looked at it, knew that I wanted
it, and had put a lot of time and effort into preparing for it. It's true that
they grade you on the interview itself, but I honestly felt that having them see
my resume played in my favor...
This website www.lacity.org/per/lafd_intprep.htm tells you all of the do's and
don'ts. My buddy took a resume and he said in the beginning of his interview
were reviewing it. Bring a resume.
You don’t want to pass up this opportunity.
What’s the first impression the job panel has of you? Your physical appearance?
What else? Your choice of words, eye contact, and your handshake? If you guessed
any of these, you missed the most important point!
The all-important first impression is your application and resume, before you
ever walk into the room! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen applications
with misspelled words, chronological order wrong, and we haven’t even seen the
Most resumes are poorly done. The business resume format is not the best for
firefighter candidates, because with the high volume of candidates, the raters
only have a few moments to look at your resume before you walk into the room.
I’m a one-page resume guy for entry level without a cover letter, not in a
or folder. Do not give us a book. We will not read it. The board does not have
enough time. A candidate faxed me his resume for review. The cover letter for
position he was applying for stated, “Attached is a “brief” description of my
qualifications.” I laughed out loud because he had sent me a book. The printer
ran out of paper. Save a tree, the raters will not read these volumes. Don’t
me on a treasure hunt to find your great stuff. Hit me with your major
qualifications starting with your experience on one page. Write it believing the
raters won’t go past the first page. You can put any supporting details,
documents, certificates and letters of recommendation following the first page.
Keep it simple.
Many people start their resume with their education. For me, I like to see
professional experience jump right off the page. Hit me with experience, bam!
Fire fighting, bam! Some kind of training, apparatus operator training, fire
school, whatever it is. Hit me with that experience. And that doesn’t
have to be in chronological order or fire service experience. So many of the
resumes I see, I find the important stuff way down at the bottom of the first
page. Because that’s how it falls in chronological order. It starts with some
education up here, some college, whatever, blah blah, experience, now we’re down
at the bottom of the page where I might not see it.
I was reviewing a candidate’s resume and in chronological order his paramedic
certification was at the bottom of the page. I asked him, “What are the most
important items on your resume? He said, my Firefighter 1 and Paramedic
Certification.” They were at the bottom of the page where they might be missed.
We put those items on top so those are the first things that hit you. We put the
dates on the right side of the page where it can be referenced. Once you put the
dates on the right-hand side of the page, you list your experience in order of
importance, not just in chronological order. This makes a big difference.
My suggestion for a firefighter resume format: Name, Address, Phone number &
e-mail address, professional experience, education, volunteer and community
service. That’s all you need. Nothing more. Nothing less. Keep it simple.
Make a photocopy because you never know when you’re going to that job interview.
I talk to people who have put in applications and resumes, and six to eight
months later, they don’t have a copy and don’t remember what they’ve put down.
After seeing revisions of his resume to the following format, a candidate wrote,
“Captain Bob, wow, what a dramatic difference. Much easier to read and pleasing
to the eye.”
Here’s a sample format:
1284 Main St.
Kensington, Ca 94588
Phone: 510-286-5890 e-mail: Iwantafirejob@aol.com
OBJECTIVE: To achieve a level within the fire service. (As Steve wrote this is
optional. We really don't read it)
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
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
EMT Defib and Combitube certified
Red Cross certified CPR Instructor
Federal Red Card System Member
Driver/Operator State certified
Class B Driver’s License
If you have space left using a size 12 fount on the first page you can add:
Member of State University Track and Field Team.
Member of State University X-Country Team.
Volunteer for Hubbs Institute White Sea Bass Population Restoration Project.
Volunteer for Red Cross on various projects
That’s all you need. Nothing more, nothing less. Keep it simple.
Here’s another candidate who nailed it and is on the way to backgrounds:
Capt. Bob! I took my interview for LA City on Wednesday and left with a
background packet! This was my third interview and I felt confident going
in. Your book and your e-mails have helped a great deal. I was told by
another recruit in my Academy that your book was the only advice he could
give. He told me to buy it and read it over and over, since he was getting
hired I listened to him. I read your book multiple times and will continue
to read it throughout this process. You are absolutely right that practicing
your orals out loud with a tape recorder makes a world of difference. I
would just like to thank you for you and your son's dedication to helping us
that are in pursuit of this awesome career. I know nothing counts until I
get the badge, but hopefully I will get this one. Brandon
More interview tools here:
Check out the 101 Inside Secrets How to Get a Badge here:
counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"
Fire "Captain Bob" Author, Becoming A Firefighter
Ask "Captain Bob" Any
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