Why do you need to know these firefighter CV Basics? Traditionally the Fire Service hasn’t asked for a copy of candidate CVs during the application process.
However, some Fire and Rescue Services have been asking applicants to upload a CV as part of the recruitment process, at the stage that candidates complete the online application form.
This caught a few applicants off guard!
Creating or updating a CV is something that many people find difficult – and you might never have even had to create one before!
Don’t worry, we’re here to help with our Firefighter CV Basics Part 1.
Help – I don’t have a CV! What should I include?!
Your CV is often the first impression that an employer will have of you, and having a great CV will help you progress in the assessment process
It’s essentially your record of achievements to date, presented in a concise and clear way so that potential employers can see at a glance how you could benefit them as an employee.
It includes information on your education and work experience to date, the skills you’ve developed, and your contact details. It also can include details of referees who can vouch for your abilities or character.
CV Screening Software
Sometimes your CV will be read by a member of the recruitment team. But when you’re asked to upload a CV to a job site as part of an application it’s getting common for your CV to be scanned by specialist software to see how good a ‘fit’ you are for the role requirements.
Basically, this software uses artificial intelligence to scan the text of your CV and pick up on words and phrases that are a match to the role requirements.
This is why you have to write your CV in a certain way to ensure it will make it past this stage of the process, and edit the information selectively so that it highlights skills and experiences that are a match to those of the role.
Making it past the Recruitment Team
Even if the FRS uses software and online testing to identify promising applicants there may still be a lot of CVs for the recruitment team to consider later in the process.
The following are mistakes to avoid, as they could result in your CV ending up heading straight into the recycling pile:
- Making your CV too long
- Spelling and grammatical errors
- Poor formatting
- Inaccuracies in employment details
- Using a difficult to read font
- Forgetting to update your personal details
- Not explaining gaps in employment
CVs are a big topic, and there are a lot of conflicting opinions out there about how best to complete them.
We’ll cover these in greater detail in Firefighter CV Basics Part 2 – The Personal Statement, but for now let’s have a quick look at the formatting and what sections to include.
Keep the formatting simple and easy to read! A simple and straightforward layout like the one below is fine:
Address / Phone Number / Email
A brief paragraph summarising who you are, your key strengths and abilities.
For each of your relevant previous/current jobs include:
Your job title
Dates of employment (include start and end date)
Summary of your duties in that role
Reason for leaving (if applicable)
Detail your qualifications achieved or that you’re studying towards:
Name of qualification / subject
Dates achieved / being studies
Grade / Outcome (or predicted grade / outcome)
Detail any relevant training courses you have been on:
Training course name
Some people include details of their references on their CV, but we think it’s best to leave this out – you could even just add ‘references available on request’ at the end. There will usually be a section on the online application for you to add details of references, or you will be asked to supply these later in the process.
Try to keep your CV to two pages maximum. You don’t need to provide information on every single duty you carried out in previous jobs, just a summary highlighting those that are relevant to the Firefighter role!
Keeping the formatting simple will also keep the screening software (if it’s being used) happy, as it may miss details if you have too many formatting details like columns and dividers – although it can be tempting to get your designer hat on and go to town on your CV resist the urge if it’s being uploaded in a situation like this!
Use an easy to read font at a size of 12pt or above – we’d advise something like Times New Roman or Helvetica which are supplied with all major word-processing packages.
Finally, save a copy of your CV in a format that the upload software will recognise, like DOC.X (MS Word) or ideally PDF. Keep another copy in a format you can edit if you need to for the future!
We hope you’ve found these firefighter CV basics useful – look out for our next article covering how to write a great personal statement!