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Thread: LA City FD

  1. #21
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default Resumes

    The LA City HR web site said that they will accept resumes, but they are discouraged. These postings from candidates that have used them brings new light to the process:

    I read the website the same way Capt. Bob did- not to bring supplemental paperwork such as resumes. However, when I checked in with the personnel counter, the clerk asked if I had a resume to include. She said she would accept them if we had them, but they didn't want us walking into the interview with them because the clerk would pass it on directly. She directed me to go get my resume from my car and bring it in. So, I'd bring one to give to personnel.

    The two people on my panel reviewed my interview before I entered the room, and when I walked in one of them said 'it looks like you've been preparing for this for a long time.' To me that meant that they looked at it, knew that I wanted it, and had put a lot of time and effort into preparing for it. It's true that they grade you on the interview itself, but I honestly felt that having them see my resume played in my favor...

    This website www.lacity.org/per/lafd_intprep.htm tells you all of the do's and don'ts. My buddy took a resume and he said in the beginning of his interview they were reviewing it. Bring a resume.

    You donít want to pass up this opportunity.


    Whatís the first impression the job panel has of you? Your physical appearance? What else? Your choice of words, eye contact, and your handshake? If you guessed any of these, you missed the most important point!

    The all-important first impression is your application and resume, before you ever walk into the room! I canít tell you how many times weíve seen applications with misspelled words, chronological order wrong, and we havenít even seen the candidate.

    Most resumes are poorly done. The business resume format is not the best for firefighter candidates, because with the high volume of candidates, the raters only have a few moments to look at your resume before you walk into the room.

    Iím a one-page resume guy for entry level without a cover letter, not in a binder or folder. Do not give us a book. We will not read it. The board does not have enough time. A candidate faxed me his resume for review. The cover letter for the position he was applying for stated, ďAttached is a ďbriefĒ description of my qualifications.Ē I laughed out loud because he had sent me a book. The printer ran out of paper. Save a tree, the raters will not read these volumes. Donít send me on a treasure hunt to find your great stuff. Hit me with your major qualifications starting with your experience on one page. Write it believing the raters wonít go past the first page. You can put any supporting details, documents, certificates and letters of recommendation following the first page. Keep it simple.

    Many people start their resume with their education. For me, I like to see professional experience jump right off the page. Hit me with experience, bam! Fire fighting, bam! Some kind of training, apparatus operator training, fire school, whatever it is. Hit me with that experience. And that doesnít necessarily have to be in chronological order or fire service experience. So many of the resumes I see, I find the important stuff way down at the bottom of the first page. Because thatís how it falls in chronological order. It starts with some education up here, some college, whatever, blah blah, experience, now weíre down at the bottom of the page where I might not see it.

    I was reviewing a candidateís resume and in chronological order his paramedic certification was at the bottom of the page. I asked him, ďWhat are the most important items on your resume? He said, my Firefighter 1 and Paramedic Certification.Ē They were at the bottom of the page where they might be missed. We put those items on top so those are the first things that hit you. We put the dates on the right side of the page where it can be referenced. Once you put the dates on the right-hand side of the page, you list your experience in order of importance, not just in chronological order. This makes a big difference.

    My suggestion for a firefighter resume format: Name, Address, Phone number & e-mail address, professional experience, education, volunteer and community service. Thatís all you need. Nothing more. Nothing less. Keep it simple.

    Make a photocopy because you never know when youíre going to that job interview. I talk to people who have put in applications and resumes, and six to eight months later, they donít have a copy and donít remember what theyíve put down.

    After seeing revisions of his resume to the following format, a candidate wrote, ďCaptain Bob, wow, what a dramatic difference. Much easier to read and pleasing to the eye.Ē

    Hereís a sample format:

    Carl Mcfly
    1284 Main St.
    Kensington, Ca 94588
    Phone: 510-286-5890 e-mail: Iwantafirejob@aol.com

    OBJECTIVE: To achieve a level within the fire service. (As Steve wrote this is optional. We really don't read it)


    Firefighter Fire Department, CA 2-00 Present
    Duties include but are not limited to fire suppression in structural as well as wild land environments and emergency medical services under highly stressful emergency conditions. Also, fire prevention, public education, vehicle and station maintenance under the supervision of a Captain, always focusing on providing quality customer service.

    Engineer (Acting) 2-03 Present

    Firefighter Fire Department (Auxiliary) 3-99 2-00
    Perform in a probationary capacity under emergency situations, fire suppression, emergency medical services, also fire prevention, public education, vehicle and station maintenance.

    EMT Ambulance Service, CA 3-99 2-00
    Perform under emergency situations; emergency medical services under the direction of Redondo Beach and L.A. County Fire Department Paramedics. Vehicle and station maintenance and Code-3 driving.

    INSTRUCTOR Emergency Response CPR 3-03 Present
    Adult, Child, & Infant CPR training for the community as well as for the professional rescuer.

    Owner/Operator Pool Company, CA 5-97 2-00
    Service and repair of residential and commercial pools and spas according to County Health Department specifications.

    EDUCATION: (is space is needed to keep on one page, these can be placed in two columns)

    Bachelorís Degree
    EMT Defib and Combitube certified
    Firefighter I
    Red Cross certified CPR Instructor
    Firefighter II
    Federal Red Card System Member
    Driver/Operator State certified
    Class B Driverís License

    If you have space left using a size 12 fount on the first page you can add:

    Member of State University Track and Field Team.
    Member of State University X-Country Team.
    Volunteer for Hubbs Institute White Sea Bass Population Restoration Project.
    Volunteer for Red Cross on various projects

    Thatís all you need. Nothing more, nothing less. Keep it simple.

    Hereís another candidate who nailed it and is on the way to backgrounds:

    Capt. Bob! I took my interview for LA City on Wednesday and left with a background packet! This was my third interview and I felt confident going in. Your book and your e-mails have helped a great deal. I was told by another recruit in my Academy that your book was the only advice he could give. He told me to buy it and read it over and over, since he was getting hired I listened to him. I read your book multiple times and will continue to read it throughout this process. You are absolutely right that practicing your orals out loud with a tape recorder makes a world of difference. I would just like to thank you for you and your son's dedication to helping us
    that are in pursuit of this awesome career. I know nothing counts until I get the badge, but hopefully I will get this one. Brandon

    You can find the previous LA City Oral Board Tips here: http://eatstress.com/LATip2.htm

    You can find more on testing secrets in the Career Article section from the Jobs drop down menu just above this posting.

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    Fire "Captain Bob" Author, Becoming A Firefighter and
    Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards



  2. #22
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default Relative in the Fire Service

    Iíve heard from a number of candidates whose first oral ever was with LA City where they scored high enough to leave with a background packet. At first their friends and classmates didnít believe them. Then, they were angry because theyíve been testing for years and didn't make the cut. Bottom line these candidates learned how to take an interview!

    This just came in:

    Captain Bob: I have passed my first oral ever for LA city and have received my background packet!It's hard to believe it myself. I managed to make it happen with only 3 weeks to prepare after receiving your program. But if I had to do it all over again, I would have tried to give myself at least 6 months.
    I was married to the tape recorder, sick of looking at myself in the mirror and because of the cramming, started loosing my voice, but in the end, I pulled it off. Captain Bob, I am thankful to have you in my corner! Carlo.

    A relative in the Fire Service?

    Rob was doing a coaching session with a LA City candidate. On his visit to several LA City fire stations, they told him to make sure he mentioned that his two cousins work for LA City! I believe that would not improve your position.

    Question: My father is a thirty-year veteran of the fire department. My grand father was a twenty-six year veteran of the police department. Would it be a good idea to incorporate that information into an answer on the oral exam? Thanks Rod

    Itís tricky. Itís a balancing act. It could hurt you. Too many candidates club the oral board over the head with a dad or other relative who is or has been a firefighter. The panel can interpret this as asking for more points.

    With my son Rob we used it this way: Iíve wanted to be a firefighter most of my life because members of my family have been firefighters. He never said who. If they wanted to know they would ask. They only asked once. That department hired him.

    We approved the way another candidate used his signature story:

    When I was 10 years old, my father as a captain on the Boston Fire Department took me to work with him. That afternoon we got a call. We rolled out with a lot of other rigs to an apartment fire. I saw my dad get off the rig, direct people for rescue and extinguish the fire. I knew right then that I would not be satisfied until I achieved my badge. ó Steve

    Who else could tell Steveís story? No one. He was there. After we worked on this story in private coaching, Steve was able to recreate the excitement, emotion, enthusiasm, and color of the actual event. You were on the rig with Steve; you saw the flames, and the hairs on the back of your neck start standing up. Again, firefighters love firefighter stories. We do. If you can tell the oral board a signature story from your life experience that relates to the answer, it can catapult you past the ďCloneĒ candidates.

    You can find the previous LA City Oral Board Tips here: http://eatstress.com/LATip2.htm

    You can find more on testing secrets in the Career Article section from the Jobs drop down menu just above this posting.

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    Fire "Captain Bob" Author, Becoming A Firefighter and
    Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards


    Last edited by CaptBob; 05-01-2005 at 01:32 PM.

  3. #23
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default Next Round

    With the next round of LA City Oral Boards fast approaching, how ready are you for this or any other oral board that will be 100% of your score to get hired? Especially when you consider this:

    I had an opportunity to meet a high ranking Chief for the LAFD and he congratulated me on passing my oral and told me that only 3% of the people that take the oral will move forward.

    100 = 3
    1,000 = 30
    10,000 = 300

    I thought this would open a few eyes, especially the ones who say; oh I will just wing it! The individuals moving forward in the process are prepared big time, they are married to a recorder, checking themselves out in the mirror and doing whatever it takes. I wonder what the statistics are for the individual who wings it?
    Take Care, Carl

    Psyching Yourself Out?

    Many candidates are thrown in their oral boards because they canít tell or get feed back from the interview panel members on how they are doing.

    You canít know what the panel is thinking. Once you start trying, you will tank your oral board score. Just give your best performance no matter what you think the oral board is doing. Trying to interpret the expressions, attitudes of the panel, what they are writing, etc., is mental masturbation. I had several candidates contact me after their orals where I was on their panel. They would tell me what they thought I was thinking or doing. They were never right.

    Here is an example. We went to a matinee play in San Francisco. There was a fraction of the audience this theater could accommodate. You would have never known it by what took place on stage. During intermission I spotted two of the lead actors. I told them although the audience was sparse the cast wasnít. The energy and enthusiasm were fantastic, as if they were playing to a packed house. These were professionals. They thanked me for noticing.

    Consider doing the same thing going into your oral boards. The door opens and they call you in. The curtain is going up, itís the bright lights of Broadway. Itís show time. You have to grab your top hat, cane and know matter what the audience (panel members) you have to give it your best shot and step it OUT!

    Not floundering trying to remember the lines for your part. Being embarrassed by stage fright that causes you to forget your best stuff, as your mouth goes dryer than the Sahara Desert.

    Visualizing the tones are dropping and on your going on your first call. Everything you have worked for is on the line. Youíre auditioning for the part to be a firefighter. You have practiced and rehearsed for this part havenít you? You know all the lines for your part donít you?

    The raters pick up on your energy and enthusiasm as we did at the play and theyíre saying in their minds, bravo, bravo, we have been waiting for this all week. Theyíre starting to smile. Throwing you lines that you adlib to enhance your performance. Nothing has stumped you. You know youíre going to make the cut for the call back. You have never had an interview like this. The hairs start standing up on the back of your neck and the raters too. You walk off stage knowing you nailed it!

    Havenít had this feeling in your oral boards yet? Well, do you have a script that you have been religiously practicing with a tape recorder? It doesnít surprise me. Ninety-nine percent of the candidates I ask arenít either. I asked a college program recently how many had been practicing with a tape recorder daily? No hands. How about weekly then? Nope. None. O.K. how about monthly? Finally three hands went up out of a total of 40. Then, donít be confused by why youíre not getting high enough on the list to get a call back to play the part of a firefighter. The mystery has been solved.

    You might not have the oral board skills (the oral is still 100% of the score to get hired) to convince the producers (raters) you have what is takes. You see getting this part as a firefighter you have to convince the raters you can do it before you get it.

    For a look at the script to audition for the job of a firefighter job check here: http://www.eatstress.com/workboolette.htm

    Capt Bob,
    I just finished taking the oral interview with LA City and wanted to write a quick note.

    First I want to thank you for the information and tools that you have supplied me with in your Gold Package Program. It worked I scored high enough and have a background scheduled.

    As you have said before oral board is the most important step in the process and the step that is least prepared for. Well I can support your statement. As I watched the recording of my score (reading upside down) I noticed 60's and 70's on the scores of those that interviewed before me. I would assume there were about 25 names on the sheet prior to mine. Again the methods you teach do work. Thanks again for your help Rich

    You can now listen to more here: http://eatstress.com/mp3entryintro.htm

    You can find the previous LA City Oral Board Tips here: http://eatstress.com/LATip2.htm

    You can find more on testing secrets in the Career Article section from the Jobs drop down menu just above this posting.

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    Fire "Captain Bob" Author, Becoming A Firefighter
    Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards and
    It's Your Turn in the Hot Seat


    Last edited by CaptBob; 06-19-2005 at 09:52 AM.

  4. #24
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default Whoís lying?

    The Polygraph Threat. Whoís lying?

    Q. Capt Bob, Does LAFD really conduct background polygraphs?

    CB: Noooooooooooooo!

    Q. I know that they conduct a very thorough background

    CB: Not anymore. The PD used to do backgrounds. Now many are being reviewed within the FD. Starting with the next class, they will do back to back classes until they hire 250 new firefighters!

    Q. So in regards to the polygraph testing with LAFD I am still amazed. After talking with you and others it is very clear that they don't conduct polygraphs. However, I am amazed on how far they carry the threat. I just called my background investigator and he told me that I had put down that I had never done drugs but he said he talked to several of my friends who were with me when I smoked marijuana. I told him that never happened. He said they were with you. I told him either they or you are lying. He said donít forget you are for sure scheduled for you polygraph on August 18.

    I told this to an LAFD firefighter friend (20 yrs on) of mine and he laughed. He said that they will probably carry it out until that day, on which instead of doing a polygraph they'll do the psych/medical/ and he also mentioned an additional background interview with my investigator and a Captain. I know you are busy but I can't help be curious, is this similar to what you have heard?

    Yep. Happens all the time. I posted the following three months ago:

    Is anyone aware of a department that has included in their background information ďAnswers are subject to verification by a Polygraph ExaminationĒ, when it wasnít stated on their job announcement that a polygraph was definitely going to be part of the testing process, and any candidate was singled out and actually had to take a polygraph without all the other candidates being required to take one?

    As of today Iím not aware of a department or candidates who have been forced to take a polygraph under these circumstances. Not one!
    ______________________________ _______________

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    Fire "Captain Bob"


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