Many candidates think they need to include their strengths or career profiles on their resumes. Here are a couple of examples from resumes sent to me for review:
Strengths: Performs effectively within group atmosphere. Continuously strives for improvement by education and work experience.
Career Profile: An experienced Firefighter whose professional responsibilities expanded his knowledge in the areas of fire suppression, emergency medical service, rescue, hazardous material, public relations, public education, fire prevention, and decision making. Qualified by:
1. A proven record of success with progressively increasing responsibilities based upon experience, knowledge, and superior work performance.
2. Strong interpersonal skills and a proven ability to work effectively with individuals in all levels.
3. Excellent communication and time-management skills and abilities.
4. The ability to remain calm and utilize deductive reasoning in critical and demanding situations.
5. Committed t promoting a positive public image of the fire service.
yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah
The first thing I do when I see these types of statements is line them out and write, "Who Cares?" Understand the board doesn't! Candidates who put these on their resumes tend to be anal. This is the type of resume material that belongs on a regular job interview resume. Not a firefighter resume. We don't have time to look at this mindless garbage and it takes away from the stuff you really want us to read.
Now that you have read the above here's more on how to put together a killer resume:
Resumes First Impressions
Letís say you are in the process of applying for a firefighter job or any 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 60 seconds 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:
Here is how I would suggestion organizing your resume:
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 the door.
Testimony from Allan:
Subject: I thought I knew!
Well I'm sorry to say that at 37 years old I thought I knew how to put together a resume. I sent an e-mail to Capt. Bob with a simple question, he asked me to fax over the resume for his review. OUCH, man did that hurt!! It came back with all kinds of "who cares" and scribble marks all over it. Well you know what? I have never had a resume look so good in my life and with two pages and years of classes, I thought there was no way it could be one page. Boy do I still have a lot to learn! I advise you to give Capt. Bob a chance to look at your resume too, you might just be surprised by what
Absolutely nothing counts 'til you have the badge. Nothing!
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