Frequently Asked Questions for Firefighter Resumes

Creating the perfect resume that brings out the best in you as a firefighter candidate.


This article is going to deal with the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) relating to resumes, based on my experience and opinion. Creating the perfect resume that brings out the best in you, as well as showcasing your knowledge, skills, and abilities, is not that difficult (at least it...


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What do I need to list on a resume? I believe in short and sweet. I believe in using major headings such as objective, experience, education, community service/volunteer work, certificates/licenses, special skills, etc. You don't need to use all of them - just what you need (and what you have to offer in the way of knowledge, skills, and abilities). The next issue will cover what information should be contained in each of those major headings.

Should I pay someone to do put together my resume? Not unless you have extra money you don't mind parting with. If you can use a computer, and are familiar with Microsoft Word, then you should be able to do just fine. Microsoft Word has numerous resume templates in their office software that you can just type in your information and it produces a nice quality resume. I just do it the old fashioned way. I take a blank Word document and start typing away. When I first started testing, I did not have a computer (yes, computers had already been invented and becoming a common site in many households - I'm not that old), so I had to have a friend of mine type one up for me.

Initially that wasn't a problem. Unfortunately, it got to be a pain (more for him I imagine) to have to go over to his house and have him change the objective because I was taking another test, or even just to add a certificate. It was one of the reasons that forced me to buy a computer and also improve my basic computer skills. Why should you trust someone else to do something so important (and critical to your success) that you can easily do yourself? If nothing else, it provides you with more experience in computer usage, which will be another valuable skill to sell during your interview. Even as a firefighter, you should have a basic understanding of computer usage.

If I type up my resume on a computer, how do I print out the copies? Unless you have a high quality laser printer at home, I would suggest going down to your local copy shop to print out your resumes. They usually sell high quality resume paper, and have high quality printers. Using lower quality printers can leave your resume looking less than desirable. If you use your computer to create the resume, just save it on a floppy disk and take that disk to the copy shop and use their computer to print it your resume.

What color and quality resume paper should I use? You can't go wrong by using white, beige, or gray. I would stick to using conservative colors (as opposed to flashy and bright colors). If you were going for an advertising or marketing job that required you to be creative or catchy, then by all means use that neon orange paper. Otherwise, remember that the fire service is still predominantly very conservative. Stick to conservative paper. Also, make sure it is good quality paper and not flimsy like normal copy paper. Good copy shops have racks of quality resume paper to choose from.

How many pages should my resume be? I am a firm believer in keeping a resume to one page, unless you are going for a chief officer position. When I interviewed for my Captain's position, I used a one-page format. While I had enough information to fill two pages, I still felt the necessity to keep it at one page. Why? Because one page is simple, easy to follow, and forces you to "cut to the chase." Too many resumes are extremely wordy and hard to follow. Using one-page forces you to keep only the relevant and important information about you.

I am listing my experience on my resume, what should be the first item under the experience heading? The common way to list experience is to use the chronological method. That means your present job is listed first and then you work backwards, going down the page.

Do I need to list every job I have ever held on the resume? Remember how an application differs from a resume. On the application, you are forced to include every job. The resume allows you to put only those jobs you feel necessary or relevant to the position you are currently going for. At the bare minimum, you should always list a present job (assuming you have one). If you have worked at numerous jobs in your lifetime, I would stick to having no more than three or four jobs on a resume. That way you leave space for other important items such as education or community service.