1. #1
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    Fire304's Avatar
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    Jun 2002
    At the Helm

    Question Firefighting Experience to Civilian Resumes - Need help

    After 18 years of working in the fire service I am switching over to a life in a non-fire career. My question to you is how do you translate your service and experience into something which will get noticed by the HR person (or worse, one of those damned computer screeners) who is looking at your resume.

    Its challenging, how do you explain the complex duties and responsibilities of a truck company Lt into an "operations manager" to someone who has no idea what the job is about (beyond watching Chicago Fire)?

    I've got some ideas and think I'm doing OK, will post them once I'm done, but surely someone else has done this before.
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  2. #2
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    Nov 2009


    Supervisor of one to many people

    Able to think on my feet

    Can handle stressful situations

    Work well with others

    Can handle long hours

    Willing to work day or night

    Great cooking skills

    Will handle any job assigned from mopping floors to supervising

    Can handle mountains of paperwork

    I think the thing is look at the job description and tailor the response so it fits that

    Plus with computers I think most jobs you will get will be by contacts

  3. #3
    Let's talk fire trucks!
    BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Jan 2003


    Just a couple of bullet-points that come to mind:
    • Required to train and supervise personnel assigned to a ladder truck, a position that requires a strong knowledge of strategy and tactics, as well as an ability to think and work independently.
    • Required to make immediate decisions on the fireground, using my knowledge, skills, and abilities to keep my assigned personnel safe while working in conditions that were immediately dangerous to life and health.
    • Promoted to supervisor after meeting strict qualifications and participating in a mutli-layer promotional process.
    Career Fire Captain
    Volunteer Chief Officer

    Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

  4. #4
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    May 2013


    Coming out of colllege I had done a lot of volunteer Firefighting as opposed to a traditional internship so I had to morph those experiences into the busniess world. It's all about transferable skills. Highlighting your ability to supervise, think critically, dedication to an organization, and communicate effectively are things that an officer has. I would highlight those traits.

    I usually reflect on what each job posting wants from the candidate and have my my resume demonstrate those abilities via my experiences. In other words my resume and cover letter change every time.

    For the record, I ended up being hired by a fortune 100 company even though I had under a B average in college and did not have a business degree. I was also promoted 9 months after being hired. My managers have told me my success has come from the traits I first demostrated having to them via my fire service experience.

    My only hope is that one day I can become a firefighter in a professional capacity.

  5. #5
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    May 2013


    Stress the unique combination of ability to work as part of a team while retaining the ability to work independently when necessary. It is a very valuable trait IMHO and firefighters of all ranks do this regularly.
    Stress the amount of competition you faced just getting on the job. Not to mention promotion to Lt.
    Stress the high level of self-discipline and self-motivation needed to be a firefighter.
    Stress the fact that you have successfully managed very strong personalities under the worst of conditions.
    Stress your interaction with the public during fire prevention and fire education activities. I suspect this is often overlooked.
    Stress your ability to keep your head when others around you can't.

    The above qualities should be valued in just about any position you apply for.

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