Firefighters live by the slogan: “always ready.”

We depend upon them to be there at a moment’s notice and to use their skills to save us when in crisis.

This is a challenge to say the least!

As a firefighter, you will be called upon to address a variety of dangerous situations.

While undoubtedly stressful, this vocation also carries with it a sense of pride and satisfaction – the feeling that you put in your best effort to save lives and structures.

Many children dream of being firefighters and perhaps you were one of them.

So now you have the training, but how to land the job you’ve always wanted?

That’s where we come in!

In the following article, we’ll help you follow the necessary steps to create a professional firefighter resume that is sure to gain the attention of station chiefs and hiring managers.

How to start

As with any type of training, we begin with the basics and essentials.

Summary

  1. Resume Template
  2. Formatting
  3. Writing Your Resume Summary
  4. Areas of Expertise
  5. Writing Your Work Experience
  6. Writing Your Education Section
  7. Additional Sections
  8. Resume Points to Remember
  9. Resume “Don’ts” to Remember
  10. Some Helpful Tools

Let’s begin with a sample firefighter resume to demonstrate how all the resume pieces fit together. Then we will break each section down to really drill into how to write the best firefighter resume you possibly can.

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Firefighter Resume (Text Version)

Contact Info:

Tiffany Reed
TReed@email.com
(404) 654-9001
Atlanta, GA 30311
linkedin.com/treed

Summary Statement:

Firefighter: Experienced, resourceful, and driven firefighter. Proven ability in handling high-pressure situations and making sound decisions effectively. Provides education to community members by leading engaging workshops that educate the community on fire safety. Collaborates with stakeholders including law enforcement and medical staff to respond to emergency situations. Serves as a leader by providing guidance and training to team members in order to increase work productivity.

Key Accomplishments/Areas of Expertise

  • Fire Safety & Prevention
  • Leadership
  • Emergency Response Procedures
  • Problem Solving
  • Vehicle Operation
  • Anlaytical Thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Community Relations
  • Hazmat Training
  • Dispatch Operations

Professional Experience:

Atlanta Fire Department | Atlanta, GA
Firefighter | May 2016 – Present

  • Facilitate fire safety and prevention programs for local communities 
  • Observes compliance with federal regulations for fire safety at all times
  • Respond promptly to emergencies and assist victims in high pressure situations
  • Provide leadership and supervision to a department of 15 firefighters

Augusta Fire Department | Augusta, GA
Firefighter | August 2014 – April 2016

  • Administered first-aid support and assisted EMT staff in providing medical treatment to victims
  • Extinguished fires quickly and effectively to prevent injuries
  • Conducted local community inspections to assess compliance with federal and state laws

Clarke County | Atlanta, GA
School Resource Officer | January 2013 – August 2014

  • Maintained knowledge of codes and policies related to fire safety
  • Collaborated with local law enforcement officers to respond to emergency situations
  • Assessed fire threats and successfully assisted fellow firefighters in reducing safety fire hazards

Education

ASSOCIATE OF SCIENCE IN FIRE SCIENCE

Albany Technical College, Albany, GA
December 2011

Training & Certifications:

Fire Inspection, Fire Science Management, Fire Investigation
Emergency Medical Technician 
CPR & First-Aid Certified

Formatting

Good firefighter resume writing is dependent upon a good understanding of resume formatting.

A resume is more than just throwing your former jobs onto a page.

It takes form and structure to get an effective result that will impress potential employers.

A great firefighter resume is all about demonstrating your value as a candidate.

In the competitive job market of today, good formatting will help your firefighter resume overcome the various obstacles standing between you and the position.

Many employers now use scanning bots to evaluate resumes before they even get seen by human eyes.

The bots look for keywords and language that are especially relevant to the position in question.

So part of formatting is making sure your resume is scannable.

After the bots, a hiring manager will only spend 6 seconds looking over your skills and experience, but proper formatting, language, and relevant skill and experience will make the reader sit up and take immediate notice.

We also recommend using reverse chronological order. This layout choice will present your best skills and experience first on the page, which is what you want.

Then proceed backwards through your career to your first relevant position.

Select a professional font for your resume – nothing outlandish or fancy.

Watch your white spaces and make sure that your text, columns and lists are oriented and spaced correctly.

Doing these things will serve to make your resume highly readable.

Fashioning Your Resume Summary

So what makes you a good firefighter?

Why should a station higher you?

You will answer these questions in your resume summary.

The summary comes first on the page before any other content. It is your introduction, or rather an introduction to your skills and expertise.

In 2-3 sentences, sum up what qualities make you excel at what you do.

Be specific, not general.

A well-written resume summary will build interest in the remainder of your resume, so it’s important to get it right!

PRO TIP: Remember that your summary is not a personal introduction. Keep your language relevant to the position you’re seeking. Do not include an objective either. The summary should strictly be about your top skill areas.

Now let’s have a look at an effective summary and one that is not so effective:

Yes!

Experienced, resourceful, and driven firefighter. Proven ability in handling high-pressure situations and making sound decisions effectively. Provides education to community members by leading engaging workshops that educate the community on fire safety. Collaborates with stakeholders, including law enforcement and medical staff, to respond to emergency situations. Serves as a leader by providing guidance and training to team members in order to increase work productivity.

No!

I am a pretty good firefighter. I’ve done workshops in the past. I am there for emergencies when I get the call. Of course I am also good at working with the other fighters and do my best in tough situations.

The first summary is a good breakdown of the candidate’s strong points and experience.

We can see this is a competent firefighter with leadership qualities and initiative.

The example uses power words like “collaborates” and “provides”, which help convey ability and action.

The second summary is too casual in its language and vague in its details.

Generalities won’t do!

The reader is hard pressed to try and determine the candidate’s true value. No tangible skills or expertise are presented.

Remember that your potential employer will only know what you show them.

So get specific about your skills!

Expertise and Accomplishments

It’s a good idea to complement your summary with a list of your Key Accomplishments, or Areas of Expertise.

This list comprises your best skills, which is what your firefighter resume is all about.

Format your list with bullet points.

Example:

  • Fire Safety & Prevention
  • Leadership
  • Emergency Response Procedures
  • Problem Solving
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Community Relations
  • Hazmat Training
  • Dispatch Operations

Do you see the two types of skills listed?

One is Hard skills, the other is Soft skills

Hard skills are related to your profession – the things you know about firefighting and what you can accomplish.

Soft skills are related to your temperament and natural skills on the job – things like critical thinking, leadership qualities, and attention to details.

When you get your list compiled, read over it again and make sure you haven’t left any important skills out!

PRO TIP: Keep your expertise list balanced between skill types. You want your potential employer to recognize that you have a well-rounded skill set. Hard skills are pretty easy to think of, but soft skills can be challenging. Take enough time to consider what personal qualities you’re bringing to the table.

(See below for a helpful table of some suggested hard and soft skill ideas to inspire you in writing your skills section.)

Creating Your Work Experience

Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of your experience as a firefighter.

How many firefighting positions have you held?

How long were you at each position?

What were your day to day tasks and responsibilities?

If you have several jobs in your background, this section will comprise the majority of your firefighter resume.

For layout, you will use the previously mentioned reverse chronological order.

This means that your first position entry will cover the job you just left, or the one you are still at currently.

As you lay out your work history, be sure to include:

  • The company name
  • Where the company is located
  • What job you performed there

Dates of employment are important to include, as they give potential employers an idea about your ability to hold down a position.

However, you may choose to leave dates off your resume.

Perhaps you only worked a short time at a certain job or maybe waited a long period before seeking another position.

If this is the case for you, then leaving dates off your firefighter resume will certainly make it read better.

But you should be aware that missing dates will spark questions during an interview. They’re going to want to know all about periods of employment and gaps between jobs. So be ready with answers!

After creating a heading for the entry, use 3-5 bullet points to list your day-to-day tasks at the job.

Include special accomplishments or awards as well.

Use power words in your bullet points to convey action and competence.

Examples:

Yes!

Atlanta Fire Department | Atlanta, GA | Firefighter | May 2016 – Present

  • Facilitate fire safety and prevention programs for local communities
  • Observes compliance with federal regulations for fire safety at all times
  • Respond promptly to emergencies and assist victims in high pressure situations
  • Provide leadership and supervision to a department of 15 firefighters

No!

Atlanta Fire Dept. | Atlanta, GA

  • Talk with people about fires and safety
  • Follow the rules
  • Speed to emergencies fast and help out people
  • Spend time with other firefighters and show them the ropes

The first example entry depicts a competent professional firefighter with solid experience in safety and leadership.

This is a candidate who appears trustworthy and ready to respond to emergency situations without hesitation.

Relevant power words are used to further demonstrate ability.

The second example is quite poor and ineffective. While the candidate may be competent enough as a firefighter, there is nothing in the bullet points to give the reader confidence.

There is simply not enough detail to form a cohesive impression of the candidate’s skill level.

The language is also unprofessional and unfocused.

PRO TIP: Your work experience section should demonstrate your skills in action. Each entry should show how you’ve used your relevant skills in the position. This allows the reader to imagine you fulfilling the duties of the position you’re seeking.

About Bots

Let’s review the situation with employers and scanning bots.

Bots function through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). They search your resume for keywords and relevant language.

Sometimes, scanning bots can prove to be a major obstacle in the progress of your firefighter resume after it is submitted.

This being the case, you may consider an alternative way to format your work experience entries.

One way is to use paragraphs instead of bullet points.

Instead of this:

Atlanta Fire Department | Atlanta, GA | Firefighter | May 2016 – Present

  • Facilitate fire safety and prevention programs for local communities
  • Observe compliance with federal regulations for fire safety at all times
  • Respond promptly to emergencies and assist victims in high pressure situations
  • Provide leadership and supervision to a department of 15 firefighters

Your entry would look like this:

Facilitate fire safety and prevention programs for local communities to educate members on the importance of fire prevention. Observe compliance with federal regulations for fire safety at all times. Respond promptly to emergencies and assist victims.

Another option is to add several bullet points in order to emphasize certain roles.

Facilitate fire safety and prevention programs for local communities to educate members on the importance of fire prevention. Observe compliance with federal regulations for fire safety at all times. Respond promptly to emergencies.

  • Assist victims in high pressure situations
  • Provide leadership and supervision to department of 15 firefighters

Using a paragraph will allow you to include more keywords and relevant language, which is a sure way of satisfying scanning bots.

However, use caution because a paragraph takes longer for a hiring manager or department head to read.

At the end of the day, it’s probably wisest to stick with bullet points alone.

Your Education Details

In order to become a firefighter you obviously underwent significant training.

Here is where you’ll add those details.

The education section is typically the final section on a resume.

If you attended a college or university, include all the relevant details in this section.

Begin with the highest level of education you’ve received.

Example: Master’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, High School Diploma, etc.

List your field of study and the name of the school you attended.

Add your GPA or special academic accomplishments to boost your value as a candidate.

Example:

ASSOCIATE OF SCIENCE IN FIRE SCIENCE

Albany Technical College, Albany, GA
GPA 3.6
December 2011

Also list ways in which you’ve formally grown your education and skills.

Example:

  • Fire Inspection ,Fire Science Management, Fire Investigation
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • CPR & First-Aid Certified

Additional Section

If there is a certain accomplishment, award, or skill that doesn’t fit with the rest of your firefighter resume, then consider adding an additional section.

This can prove helpful if you happen to lack much job experience.

Some of the options are:

  • Awards and honors
  • Publications
  • Noteworthy Projects
  • Social Media Influence
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Volunteer Work

No Experience

None of us begin our careers with extensive experience in our chosen field!

At some point, we’ve had to produce a resume without much work experience on it.

No problem.

There are some formatting alternatives you can try.

For instance, place your education details after your opening summary instead of at the end of your firefighter resume page.

If you lack much experience, your education is going to be your most impressive area of qualification.

You’ll need to list a few jobs you’ve held even if they’re unrelated to your new field.

As you consider your former positions, think of skills you acquired or roles you performed that could help you out in the present.

Since you’ve chosen to become a firefighter, consider what jobs you’ve had that involved similar tasks and mindsets – things like physical labor, focus and concentration, use of tools, equipment operation, and so on.

Even though you might lack direct experience, you probably have more skills than you realize to bring to your new pursuit!

Resume Points to Keep in Mind

First of all, include your contact information.

It’s easier to forget than you think!

Use space well

We’ve shown you how to begin with a summary, follow with your work experience, and finish with your education credentials. Doing this will assure that your limited space is being fully utilized.

Use strong power words

Power words are a tremendous asset for the resume writer. Take time to find good ones! They will help you keep your language varied and impactful.

Use a trusted proofreader

A proofreader will help you catch mistakes in your writing you many have missed. Remember that you want your resume to be as polished and focused as possible.

Resume “Don’ts” to Keep in Mind

Don’t use first person

First person seems natural to use when writing because it feels open and friendly. However, it is considered unprofessional and should be avoided. Keep your language formal and focused on your skills.

Don’t go over one page

Unless you’re a CEO or have occupied other high level positions, you should only need one page to communicate your skills and experience. A single page is easy to read and look over.

Don’t repeat yourself

Repetition is easy to fall into, especially if you’ve been writing for a long period. So keep your language varied and take a break when necessary!

(We’ve put together a handy table of power words below to use for inspiration.)

Don’t use weird fonts or formatting

An odd font choice or creative formatting will harm the chances of your resume being seriously considered. You want your page looking orderly, clean, and professional.

Some Helpful Tools:

Firefighter Resume Power Words

  • Facilitate
  • Observes
  • Respond
  • Provide
  • Administered
  • Extinguished
  • Conducted
  • Maintained
  • Collaborated
  • Assessed

Firefighter Resume Skills List

Hard SkillsSoft Skills
Fire Safety and PreventionLeadership
Emergency Response ProceduresProblem Solving
Hazmat TrainingCollaboration
Dispatch OperationsAnalytical Thinking
Vehicle OperationCommunity Relations