Need Career Advice
I just started as a volunteer a few months ago and I am hooked. For the first time in my life I know what I really want to do for a career. I have put in a few applications in a few cities where I live. When I found out that the City of Arlington was recieving between 700 to 1,000 applications and picking the top 30 I was devastated. I am 31 years of age and in relatively good shape. I have a great driving record, clean criminal record, but I have changed jobs frequently in the past. I feel like my employment record could be used against me but, I had no idea what I wanted to do before now. My question is, what are fire departments looking for in an individual? Will they work with you despite some downfalls you may have had in your past? What is the best approach in landing a job? Any advice for this rookie would be very helpful and greatly appreciated. Btw this is a great forum.
You need to ask yourself a few questions.How bad do you want it?Are you willing to be patient?Are you willing to sacrifice in order to obtain this career?And are you willing to relocate?
Many states now require quite a bit of training and certifications.If you want to stay in your area,find out what's required to get hired.Ask them what their minimum requirements are.You're not too old to start,but I'd get enrolled in as many fire and EMS classes as you can.In my area,there are waiting lists to get in certain classes.Most career fire departments are looking for people that are serious about this career and have educated themselves prior to hire.If you truly want this job,you might have to relocate to an area where their are more paid departments to increase your chances.
It took me awhile to make it and it's worth the hard work and dedicated time!Good luck.
It's hard to say what gets one person hired over another. Sometimes it is test scores, CPAT, the oral interview, being in the right place at the right time...sometimes it's all the factors rolled into one!
You have to be persistent. 4iron has some good advice about taking classes in advance.
If you do make it to to the interview phase...be honest. Some career opportunities have been lost because people have embellished their resumes, used the I word a little too often or made themselves sound like they are God's gift to firefighting!
I understand what you're going through. I'm trying to get on at a municipal department as well.
Would you be so devastated if there was one position and 33 people applied? It's the same odds.
Anyway, applications received doesn't represent the amount of people you're REALLY competing with. You can probably discount half of that thousand after the written and physical. A lot of people never show for the written or fail the physical. Make it past those first two steps and you're in the running (and now it's down to a 1 in 16 chance). That's where your background and interview skills come into play. Never, ever lie on the application or in the interview. If they find out, you can forget about it. Dishonestly isn't tolerated well in the fire service.
If you can pass the written and physical, but can't sell yourself in the interview, it doesn't matter if you're the best firefighter in the world. Work on your interview skills. There are several good books out there. There used to be a lot of good info at eatstress.com, but I couldn't get it to pull up when I tried it a minute ago.
For larger career departments, they generally will run you through their own academy, so gaining fire training may not be as important as college fire science classes or EMT certification.
Stick with it, try hard and don't give up--you'll make it.
Need Career Advice
You guys brought out some great points I have taken in consideration. I realize its going to be a long road ahead but, will be well worth the effort. I really appreciate the advice.
Never give up hope. keep plugging
You never know your luck, You might get in on the first try