How To Apply to Become a Firefighter (page 3)

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

Sample Résumé

George West 18 Harper Avenue Bronx, NY 10473 718-342-8890

Objective: A position of firefighter in the New York City Fire Department.


Bachelor of Arts Degree in Health Education, 2004, Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY). Summa cum laude. Summer research work at Jacobi Medical Center Bronx, New York 2004.

Military History United States Naval Reserves Airman. Honorable Discharge, 2000.

Work Background Jacobi Medical Center Ambulance Corps. 2004-present. Nutritionist, Wellness Gym. Yonkers, NY. 2000-2004.

Job-Related Life Experience Volunteer Firefighter, Aviation Volunteer Fire Department, Bronx, NY. 2002-present.

Activities College Health Fair Coordinator, 2003-2004. Intramural swimming, 2000-2002.

References: Supplied upon request


Generally, references are not included on your résumé. It is common, however, for fire service applicants to be required to furnish a list of personal and professional references. These people will have to either submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf or be available to provide meaningful information (work history, work ethics, personality, interpersonal relationships, technical abilities, life experience, ambition, education, moral character, leadership qualities, communication skills, dependability, punctuality, managerial capabilities, etc.) concerning you, either in person or over the phone. Be prepared to supply between three and five references in each category. Do not include blood relations on your list of references. A good reference is a nonrelative, who has known you for at least three years and who will substantiate what you have submitted in your résumé. Good references include past and present employers, former teachers or college professors, athletic coaches, clergy and religious associates, work and volunteer-related associates, former schoolmates, neighbors held in high esteem in the community, etc.

Once you have chosen your references be sure to notify them individually to verify that they are willing to provide the reference. Give each individual a copy of your résumé personally and review with them your accomplishments and strengths, relating them to the duties of a firefighter. Talking to your references before they write or speak to the fire department will allow you to confirm what positive feedback will be generated on your behalf. Let them know that you are really interested in the position of firefighter and why you want to join the fire service. Thank them for agreeing to be a reference and for the time and effort required to complete the task.

Personal References

Provide your reference's name, home address, and phone number. If the reference has a relationship with first responder services, provide the person's job title or affiliation with the pertinent organization.

Professional References

Include your reference's name, job title, company address and phone number, and e-mail address, if acceptable to your reference. Try to select professional references from positions in emergency service (fire and police departments, forest service, homeland security, nursing, ambulance service, etc.).

Obtain a Notice of Examination

The notice of examination (NOE) is an informational summary of the minimum qualifications and requirements concerning the firefighter examination you will be taking in your jurisdiction. It is normally formatted and published by the civil service commission or fire department personnel office of the city conducting the exam. An NOE can commonly be accessed and reviewed in person at either of these two places or on their Web sites. Firehouses, post offices, libraries, and civic group agencies are other possible places to find this important initial document regarding the firefighter exam.

General information provided by the NOE is as follows:

Name of Exam: Firefighter

Type of Exam: Phases of the exam-written test, physical ability exam, oral interview, etc.

Exam Number

When to Apply/File for the Examination

How to Apply/File for the Examination

Cancellation Information

Online Web site Information

Written Exam Study Guide: Format and sample questions

Physical Ability Test Preparation Guide and Training Site(s) Information: Overview of testing process and training locations

Civil Rights Protections: Information concerning detrimental practices based on race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Protections: Information about discrimination for qualified candidates with disabilities

Protest Protocols

Special Test Accommodations: Alternate exam dates for disability or religious beliefs

Military Veteran Preference Points

Application Fee: Amount and fee payment (cash, check, credit card, etc.)

Test Date

DUI/DWAI/DWI Stipulations

Illegal Drug Activity/Use Stipulations

List Promulgation

Eligibility List

Exceptions: Age, education, disqualification, etc.

List Termination

Job Functions: Controlling and extinguishing fires, hazardous material incident mitigation, pre-hospital emergency medical care provider, maintenance of firehouse, apparatus, tools, and equipment, enforcement of local fire prevention laws and ordinances, fire safety educational activities, water supply and hydrant inspections, driving and operating fire apparatus, participation in training exercises and drills, etc.

Work Schedule: Normally long work week hours and varied shifts.

Salary and Benefits: Base salaries generally range between $25,000 and $35,000 for probationary firefighters. Benefits may include pension, life insurance, medical and dental coverage, prescription drug plan, paid vacation and holidays, deferred compensation plan incentives, etc.

Probationary Period: Generally 12 months.

Apply for Special Considerations, if Applicable

Some applicants for a position as a firefighter may have unusual circumstances that qualify them for special consideration in taking the written or other exams or in other aspects of the application and approval process. These special considerations may apply to the religious observances of applicants, to applicants with disabilities, to veterans, and to those who may have had a change of address problem. All fire departments have procedures for handling these circumstances and usually publish a special consideration form.

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