How To Apply to Become a Firefighter
There are several steps in the initial application process, including obtaining and completing an application, submitting a résumé if requested, obtaining necessary information about a scheduled examination, and determining if special circumstances apply to you.
Obtain and Complete an Application
Applications for the job of firefighter are obtained in many different ways, depending on the jurisdiction in which you reside. Some municipalities make the application available on their governmental Web site, where it can be downloaded, completed, and mailed in to the agency coordinating the candidate process. Modern methods may allow candidates to fill out their application online. Follow the directions carefully on how it should be submitted. If mailing in the application, consider having it certified with a return receipt requested in order to document its transmittal and receipt.
In other areas, applications may be acquired by visiting fire department headquarters, the local fire station, or a designated municipal office building. Always read the directions for completion of the application carefully before you attempt to fill in the required information. Should you use pen or pencil to fill out the form? Does the application need to be notarized? Is additional documentation (birth certificate, driver's license, résumé, etc.) required to be submitted with the application? And, finally, make sure you place the correct amount of postage on the envelope containing all the forms.
Provide a Résumé, Cover Letter, and References
If a résumé is required as part of the application process, it should be one or two pages summarizing your contact information, main objective, education, military history, work background, job-related life experiences, and pertinent activities, hobbies, and interests. It should always be sent along with a cover letter. The cover letter should be geared to the particular needs and requirements of the fire service position you are seeking. A cover letter allows you to focus the reader's attention on your specific strengths and accomplishments, which are summarized in the résumé.
Always include a cover letter when sending your résumé. It can be just as important as your résumé. The cover letter is organized into several main parts-heading, body, complimentary close, signature, and indication of any enclosures-as follows:
Contact Information-Standard contact information should include your name (in bold letters), legal address, and home and work telephone numbers. This information should come first at the top.
Date of Letter-Spell out the month of the year, as in January 10, 2007.
Recipient Information-Give the name of the person to whom you are addressing the letter and the name and address of the organization.
Salutation-Use the title and last name of the addressee, if available. If you do not have a specific person or office to address, use "To Whom It May Concern" as a salutation. Examples: Dear Employment Director, Dear Mr. Fulton, Dear Chief of Personnel Cummings.
Initial Paragraph-Tell the reader why you are submitting your résumé (why are you interested in becoming a firefighter?), state the name of the position you are applying for, and include why you think you would be a good candidate for the job.
Second Paragraph-Describe your major (not all) strengths and how they are applicable to the position you are seeking. Demonstrate how your skills can be a positive addition to the organization you wish to join. Provide the reader with one or two examples of your qualifications and state that this, as well as additional pertinent information, can be found in your enclosed résumé.
Final Paragraph-Reiterate your interest in becoming a member of the fire service and state your eagerness to hear from or meet with the reader in the near future to discuss a possible future with the organization. State also that you appreciate the opportunity to submit your résumé for consideration.
Sincerely, Sincerely yours, Best regards-One of these closings should appear two lines below the final paragraph.
Signature-Use blue or black ink.
Identification Line-Beneath your signature, type your name.
Enclosure-Type "Enclosure:" or "Encl:" and the word "Résumé," Example: Enclosure: Résumé