So you want to know how to get hired as a firefighter? Becoming a firefighter is a somewhat standardized process and most municipalities follow similar guidelines throughout the selection process. Private industry firefighters are a little different, but you still need to be the best person for the job. It doesn’t matter what step of the interview or hiring process you are currently involved in, our Hiring Tips will greatly improve your chances of landing the job that you’ve more than likely dreamt about since you were a child.
Do Your Research:
You’d be surprised how many aspiring firefighters out there get out into the field without a clue where to start. They might make a call to a state or local agency to try and get some information about becoming a firefighter, but in general they have no idea what to do or where to go. Step one is to start searching for every local municipality that’s hiring for firefighter positions and do a search for private entities as well. State and Federal firefighter careers can be highly competitive and sometimes political. This is why it’s great to NOT rule out private parties. There are a lot of aspiring firefighters that get out into the field and work in private industry for a couple years before getting hired on at a local fire station with a city entity. Make sure you do your research so you know who the Fire Chief is, and have a good background on any potential employers before you ever send them your resume or apply for a position. It’s quite discouraging to have a candidate come into a panel interview and not know anything about the City or Fire Station they are applying to work in.
No doubt about it, volunteer firefighting is an absolutely difficult thing. It’s impossible for most people with full time jobs to find time to volunteer outside of our own busy schedules for a “chance” to network and get noticed by people of influence at the fire station. Bottom line is that even with all the demanding time requirements, volunteer firefighting is absolutely worth it. The amount of exposure you get from being a volunteer firefighter is absolutely huge. You get a large audience of people to not only show what you can do, but put your excellent character and skills on display for everyone to see. It’s one of the most effective way to market yourself and it’s why volunteers are often given preferential treatment when applying for an open position at the state or city level.
This sounds easy enough…. go to school. Unless you know someone (we will cover networking next) getting a degree in Fire Science can be huge! It shows that you are committed to the craft even if you didn’t have someone to inspire you or walk you along the easy route to get into the Fire Academy. With as competitive as firefighting is getting these days, getting a higher education to separate yourself is something that you should truly look at if you have the opportunity. At minimum, it would be a great idea for you to get out and at least get some college classes under your belt in fire science to show that you have the commitment and drive to do what it takes to land your dream job.
Self explanatory, right? Call People at local fire stations. Make contacts. Ask family and friends if they know any firefighters you can possibly introduce yourself to so you can become involved in their lives. If you haven’t volunteered, get out and find a way to work your way into the fire station and talk to people. Make your presence felt. Introduce yourself to high ranking firefighters in every state or city municipality that you know is going to be hiring in the next year. The last thing you want is someone passing on your application because they have absolutely no idea who you are. Networking is big in any industry and firefighting is absolutely no different. Successful networking is often times the difference maker in landing any job that you want.
Get Prepped Appropriately: While this is the most basic tip, it’s also the best. Nothing matters if you haven’t gotten yourself in shape for the physical exam, studied for the written exam and done your research on live fire training. If you don’t know what to expect when going through this process, it’s going to be a surprise to say the least and you will be kicking yourself for not knowing what to expect. Always being informed will set you above your peers in a great light, and also be the reason that your peers look to you for leadership when they show up unprepared to a live fire training examination.