Today is Patriot Day, an annual observance of the lives lost in the attacks of September 11th. This post goes out to all of the first responders who worked to save lives on that day.
Jobseekers looking for positions as first responders should keep a few special considerations in mind while drafting and formatting their resumes. If you fall into this category and you’re looking for a job as an emergency medical technician, a firefighter, a police officer, or emergency support staff (not a emergency surgeon or MD, since those are covered in another article), read on for some tips that can help you create a first responder resume that stands out!
The Basics of Writing a First Responder Resume
Hiring managers in most industries (including healthcare and emergency response) generally ask candidates for resumes that fit the same basic format and accomplish similar goals. Even though the text of your first responder resume will differ widely from that of a candidate in manufacturing or sales, as you learn how to write a resume, keep in mind that your resume (like theirs) will be subdivided into five essential sections:
- Heading, including your name and contact information
- Professional Summary, which outlines in a few sentences your relevant skills and achievements.
- Skills section, which documents the skill sets that matter most to your employers, like clinical skills, software skills, teamwork, leadership, communication and patient engagement skills.
- Work Experience section, which lists and briefly describes your past roles
- Education section, which includes your degrees, certifications, and other training credentials
You can add additional sections to these five, if you like. For example, you may want to include a section for any volunteer work you’ve done, certifications you’ve earned, or awards you’ve won. But these five sections are non-negotiable and should appear in your first responder resume regardless of your experience, target job, or special circumstances.
If you’ve earned any awards or done anything special that sets you apart from competing candidates, make sure this stands out in your document. For example, long years of experience or especially challenging accomplishments deserve a special position or subheading so they aren’t accidentally overlooked.
A few other basic requirements: Your resume should be shorter than two pages, and it should be visually appealing, easy to read, and clearly written. Once you’ve internalized these basic rules, you can make sure your first responder resume targets the employers you’ll specifically need to impress: hospital administrators, healthcare HR teams, and the state or local public servants who staff police forces and fire stations.
First Responder Resume Examples
As you start drafting your own first responder resume, these emergency service resume examples can help you stay on track.
Police officers and detectives are usually among the first to arrive at the scene of an incident that might involve an injury, accident, or crime. If you’re a police officer responding to a call, you’ll have more information than almost anyone else about what the scene might entail—and that information often amounts to very little. You’ll have to make quick assessments and decisions, you’ll have to rely on your experience and judgement to keep people safe, and you’ll have to explain and document your actions in ways that can be used by other professionals within the justice system.
To become a police officer, you’ll need either a high school diploma or a college degree, depending on your area. You’ll also need to graduate from a specific training academy and complete a prescribed amount of on-the-job training. So of course, your first responder resume will have to emphasize that you’ve attained these credentials. You’ll also need to highlight your ability to follow the rules, work as a team, and make smart decisions under intense levels of pressure.
Like police officers, EMTs are often the first to arrive at the scene of what might be an accident, natural disaster, injury, or crime. When they arrive, they need to take in the scene quickly and make fast medical decisions that could mean the difference between life and death.
Firefighters sometimes serve as volunteers, but in larger municipal areas, this type of first responder is typically a paid position. Professional firefighters require what’s called a “post-secondary non-degree award”, which differs from a bachelors or associates degree (though some firefighters possess these academic degrees as well). Post-secondary non-degree credentials for firefighters usually include graduation from a fire academy, completion of written and physical tests, and certification as an emergency medical technician (EMT).
Most hiring managers look for these credentials, and they also look for a certain number of months or years of experience as a first responder. In this field, both education and experience carry weight for the hiring manager, and if you have these qualifications, you’ll need to make sure they stand out in your resume.
Long years of experience or especially challenging accomplishments deserve a special position or subheading so they aren’t accidentally overlooked.
Emergency Medical Technicians
Like police officers, EMTs are often the first to arrive at the scene of what might be an accident, natural disaster, injury, or crime. When they arrive, they need to take in the scene quickly and make fast medical decisions that could mean the difference between life and death. They perform rescues or provide first aid on the site and then often transport the injured to a medical facility. This job typically requires experience, training, courage, and a cool head.
Like firefighters, EMTs usually need post-secondary non-degree credentials before being considered for an open position. In this case, licensing requirements vary widely by state, and you’ll want to place yours front and center in your resume. And, if you’re licensed in another state, future employers will want to know about your plans to obtain updated certification and the dates by which you’ll meet the minimum requirements.
Once you’ve completed your training and obtained experience as a first responder, the prospect of creating a resume shouldn’t scare you. If you can handle these jobs, you can handle anything! All the same, it’s never a bad idea to reach out for extra guidance. LiveCareer can give you the support you need to land the job you’re looking for.