I'm posting here to see if someone with more experience in the hiring process can point me in the right direction. I have applications in with just about every department in my state (Louisiana). So far, none of the departments have contacted me for an interview (6-8 months). From what I understand of the hiring process, you can't go wrong until you get to the oral interview, is this true? My qualifications are as follows:
B.S. from an acredited univ.
4 years volunteer experience
97% on civil service written
My degree is in an unrelated field, could this be holding me back? I'm grasping straws trying to figure out where i'm going wrong here, does anyone have any ideas or suggestions that may be of some help?
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Thread: any ideas?
07-08-2003, 09:25 PM #1
- Join Date
- Jul 2003
07-09-2003, 11:40 AM #2
Have you followed in local media (newspaper, online, grapevine) which departments are hiring? Have you sent to departments even if they weren't hiring at the moment? When I got my paramedic certification and was 1/2 through FF1, I began sending letters & applications to nearby towns & cities. My circle got bigger & bigger until I had sent to 25 different places around the state. It was 7 weeks before I had a call for the interview. Keep plugging away, and read up on fire department interviews, frequently asked questions, and so forth. Good luck!
07-12-2003, 11:30 PM #3
- Join Date
- Aug 2002
- San Francisco Bay Area
Also Check the job listings on this and other firefighter web sites.
How to present your unrelated degrees?
I have three degrees in law enforcement. Every time I go to an oral board, they seem to target and spend too much time discussing my law enforcement education. What can I do?
This is a problem that many candidates face with degrees that are not fire related. The board will see this and follow the rabbit down the hole; spending time having you defend your position. How do you even begin to relate a degree in "Romance Languages, Art, Philosophy, Economics, etc.Ē to the fire service?
Don't create the trail. Start listing just your degree on your application, resume and including it in your oral board answer as what you have done to prepare for the position. However, omit the field it's related to, i.e., Bachelor Science Degree (leave off Law Enforcement). Don't bring it up and they probably won't. If they do, tell them you learned how to learn. A study from University California at Berkeley showed that two years after graduation, 60% percent of graduates were in fields totally unrelated to their degree.
An additional question:
I have been facing the same problem about my degree. One Chief told me to bring up my degree, how I have used it and how it brought me to a career in the fire service. He told me to not let the oral board bring up the degree because once that has happened they have already formed an opinion about it. He told me to include it in my history and tackle the issue before it becomes an issue. For example, you have a degree in Law Enforcement. This has allowed you to work with firefighters from another angle and you see how the fire service is and that is more the career path for you. Hope that is helpful.
Reply: Have you tried this approach? It might work for you, but it is our experience that once you open the can of worms, it's impossible to close. The explanation of being in law enforcement has enabled you to be around firefighters is pretty weak. Many would agree that firefighters and police officers are cut from a different cloth.
I still believe not creating a trail they can follow is the best solution. Our candidates who have left off the field from the degree have had few if any problems.
Here's another possibility:
I have 2 Bachelor degrees, one in Finance and one in Accounting. I am currently working as a full-time firefighter with a good size department. You can overcome this "focus" on your degree by accentuating the positive...that you were able to dedicate 4-5 years of your life to obtaining the degree. You sacrificed, set a goal, and achieved it. That is what is important, not what the degree is in. Try that at your next interview, it may help. Being a firefighter was not a life-long dream of mine, I changed my career path. How can anyone fault you for wanting to educate yourself, or choose a different path, one that makes you happy? Good luck.
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