How To Apply to Become a Firefighter (page 2)

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Jun 25, 2011


The résumé needs to be formatted in a uniform and concise manner. It should be self-promoting, by focusing on your positive assets and demonstrating that you are an attractive candidate to be a firefighter. One word of warning: don't put anything that is untrue or fabricated on your résumé; false information can be easily identified by fire department fact checkers and interviewers and will result in your disqualification.

Content and Organization

A résumé should be organized as follows:

Contact Information-Provide your standard contact information-name (avoid nicknames), legal address, telephone numbers (home, cellular, and work), and e-mail address, if applicable-at the top of your résumé.

Main Objective-Provide a clear, positive statement about your commitment to become a firefighter.

Education-List your educational information, starting with the most recent. Include college or postgraduate degrees earned, the year the degree was obtained, the name of the learning institution, and the area of concentrated study (major/minor). Include your grade point average (GPA) if it reflects high academic achievement (B+ or higher) and note academic honors. If a degree was not earned, include the number of college credits earned.

Military History-Provide the dates of enlistment and honorable discharge (if applicable), branch of service, assigned location, rank designation, duties and responsibilities, training certificates, campaign service (e.g., Desert Storm) and awards, citations, and achievements.

Work Background-Provide employment history in reverse chronological order (last job first). If you have a wide array of work experience, confine your listing to activities that relate in some way to the work performed by firefighters (communications dispatcher, fire guard, fire safety director, peace officer/security, lifeguard, park ranger, truck/tractor-trailer driver, automotive mechanic, construction trades). For each position listed, include the name of the employer, location, job title and responsibilities, and dates of employment.

Job-Related Life Experience-Highlight special skills, competencies, and achievements (e.g., certified scuba diver, crane operator license) that may make you a valuable asset to the organization you wish to join. Also include any volunteer work that relates to the duties of a first responder and community service personnel (e.g., volunteer firefighter, volunteer nursing, Peace Corps, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Activities, Hobbies, Interests-Include membership in civic and fraternal Organizations, as well as pertinent hobbies, interests, and sports activities that may be considered as a positive reflection of your abilities to perform as a firefighter (e.g., ham radio operation, mountain/rock climbing).

References-At the end of your résumé you may want to include the words, "References available on request."

Note: Do not include your reference information on your résumé unless specifically asked to provide it on the notice of examination or job application. Before providing the names of references to prospective employers, be sure that the persons you name have a knowledgeable understanding of you and that they are recognized as upstanding citizens of the community in which they live.

Tips on Preparing a Résumé

To make your résumé easier to read and understand, try to adhere to some of the tips listed below:

  • Limit your résumé to one or two pages.
  • Avoid folding or stapling your résumé.
  • Use white or off-white paper only.
  • Use quality bond 8 1/2 × 11-inch paper.
  • Use only one side of the paper.
  • Use a plain typeface.
  • Use only one typeface.
  • Don't use italics.
  • Use easy to read font sizes (between 10 and 14 point).
  • Use no more than two font sizes.
  • Keep margins within the 0.75- to 1.5-inch range.
  • Spell and grammar check your résumé.
  • If mailing, use a large (9 × 12-inch) envelope to protect your résumé.
  • If mailing, consider Priority/Certified Mail options.
  • Follow up mailing with a phone call to confirm delivery.
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