Josh Sauberman

Firefighter Resumes & Applying to Jobs

One of the nice things about applying to firefighting jobs is that you generally fill out a government prepared application focused on the facts, and that information shoots straight into a content management system (CMS) that handles all the formatting and checking of basic requirements. Every application looks the same to the HR person responsible for sorting and organizing the hundreds (sometimes thousands) of applications that firefighter openings pull in. This makes their jobs not only easier, faster and more efficient, but it helps them avoid potential biases toward variables like age, gender, and how professional your resume looks.

While we know these things shouldn’t matter, sometimes they do. Age and gender aside, your resume can be a massive reflection of the candidate a municipality may perceive you to be. Quite often hiring agencies will see your resume well before they’ll ever see your face or shake your hand. I have never seen a fire department allow a resume in place of a completely filled out application, but quite frequently they ask for it in addition the standard documents they request.

Should you make it to the oral board or a Chiefs interview, you’ll definitely need a resume. Going into an interview without one (or multiple depending on how many interviewers there will be) is shortsighted and foolish. Additionally, if you’re not in a fire career yet, it means you’re probably working somewhere else or looking for a job. You must have a good resume.

Here are some great firefighter resume templates in Word format. I built these and they’re available free to download and edit. I hope you find them useful and helpful.

I also suggest preparing a “brag book” or collection of high quality photocopies of your certifications.  This can be helpful in an interview or simply when you need to reference them for applications.  Also, having them scanned into a comprehensive PDF file is smart as it allows you to attach one complete file to an application done online.  Anything that makes it easier for the hiring agency to hire you is good.  Why have them open up 10 separate attachments, when you can have everything in one?

Another thing I do to make the job of applying easier is this: I maintain a comprehensive list of my entire background in a text file. This list includes the following sections:

  • Employment history (format shown below)
  •     **** Note and explain any gaps in employment
  • Volunteer & Other Activities
  • Education
  • Certifications & Licenses
  • Additional relevant info
  • References
  • Address History
  • Employment application history (important when you get to backgrounds)

I am a PC guy so I use notepad, but whatever you choose to use, I suggest a plain text editor.  A plain text editor allows you to quickly cut and paste without having to worry about formatting conflicts being carried over from one program (like Word) to another.  Below is an example from my employment history showing how I organize it.

Bay Medic Ambulance 08/15/2009 - 03/15/2010
(925) 689-9000
1485 Coventry Rd., Concord, CA 94518
EMT/ Ambulance Driver
$10.50/hr.  ($420 weekly/ $1680 monthly/ $21,840 annually)
Duties included:
- Emergency care and transportation of the sick and injured
- Prepared complete records/reports related to emergency medical care, vehicle and equipment operations during operational period
- Operate ambulances, emergency vehicles and equipment safely.
- Maintain familiarity with maps and related road networks within the service area.
- Participates in scheduled and assigned training classes.
- Perform station duties as assigned.
Reason(s) for leaving:
Note your reason here.
Nesar Abdiani, Director of Operations; Ali Abdiani, President
(925) 555-1234  **(often this will be a direct line)

This approach may not be necessary for everybody, but as your background grows, a list like this becomes more and more valuable. The key is keeping it up to date. Don’t get lazy! Keeping up on it will make many tiresome applications much easier in the future, if you don’t have to go digging for all the information every time. And the easier it is for you to fill out apps, the more apps you’ll fill out.

Now go get that job!!

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