Resumes First Impressions
Letís say you are in the process of applying for a firefighter job or any job. What factors play into the hiring panelís first impression of you? Naturally, your physical appearance. Your choice of words, eye contact, and your handshake are also very important. But you may have overlooked the most important factor in making a good first impression Ė your application and resume.
I can't tell you how many times we've seen applications with misspelled words, poor grammar, and sloppy organization. It certainly gives me a negative first impression of the candidate, before Iíve even had the chance to meet them in person.
Putting in that extra effort to build a solid and well-crafted resume could be the deciding factor in getting hired. And having reviewed thousands of applicantsí resumes in my lifetime, Iíll provide you a few tried-and-true tips on writing a strong resume.
Unfortunately, the sad truth is that most resumes are poorly done. Many applicants will simply copy a generic business-style resume format, which usually features paragraphs that drone on and on about accomplishments and experience. This is not very well-suited for EMS/firefighter/paramedic jobs due to the high volume of candidates vying for the same positions. Reviewers only have a few moments to look at your resume before you walk into the room, so you need to grab their attention immediately.
I'm a huge fan of the one-page resume for entry-level hires; donít even bother with a cover letter or a resume folder. Save a tree by being concise and don't make the job panel send out a search party to find your good stuff. Try imaging that the reviewer wonít spend more than 60 seconds looking over your resume. Hit them with your major qualifications and experience right away on one page.
Here are a few other points to consider:
Here is how I would suggestion organizing your resume:
Now that weíve covered how to construct a balanced resume, we must not forget about another key element: presentation and delivery. Donít even think that you can go into an interview and hand over your resume for the job panel to review on the spot. This upsets the normal flow of the interview. Be sure to FedEx or hand deliver a hard copy of your resume to human resources before the interview. Don't fax it.
And with the onset of technology, many departments have made applications available online. However, this new method leaves you susceptible to a whole slew of challenges. Make sure to double check spelling and grammar before clicking that Ďsendí button. There is no excuse for sloppiness or mistakes just because you apply online or through email. Also, make a copy of your online application before sending. Iíve talked to many candidates whoíve submitted online applications, but couldnít remember the information they had put down six months later during their interview.
These resume tips will ensure that you are starting off on the right foot when applying for a job. After all, competing against other candidates and going on interviews make the application process hard enough as it is. Donít give a bad first impression before you can even get your foot in the door.
Remember, absolutely nothing counts 'til you have the badge. Nothing!
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