No One is Hiring - What to Do
“No one is hiring. What do I do now?” I get this question asked of me a lot.
I recommend that any firefighter candidate that is committed to obtaining a job in the fire service should continue to get educated and maintain their fire essential and medical skills. A fire department staff is more apt to give stronger consideration to a candidate that has demonstrated initiative, self-motivation, and a strong work ethic to improve themselves.
Areas to improve yourself include:
- Formal Education – start working on your Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. This education will also help you when you begin the fire department promotion process and begin to lead others.
- Technical Rescue Education – if you have sights on a fire department with specialized rescue, this will give you an edge (a point or two) on the hiring and screening tests. Specialized rescue areas include extrication, hazardous materials, weapons of mass destruction, rope, high angle, confined space, air, sea, and RIT.
- Medical Education – if you are applying at a fire department that mostly runs emergency medical calls, take courses towards a medical degree. This education will also help you obtain jobs in the medical profession (i.e. nursing, ER assistant, physician assistant, etc) while you wait for fire departments to hire. This education will also help when on the job. In some fire rescue departments, rookies are required to contribute right away. With a medical background the transition and learning curve will much shorter.
- Maintain your Fire Essentials Skills – Volunteering at a local volunteer fire department is an excellent way to improve and maintain your firefighting skills. Also, some fire academies offer fire essential refresher courses.
- CPR Instruction – Most fire departments offer free CPR courses to their community. By becoming a CPR instructor, you will able to teach CPR for your fire department since most of the seasoned vets no longer want this community detail.
- Public Speaking – Oh, the dreaded public speech. The day will come when you will have to speak before a community group, school kids and/or parents, or homeowner’s association. Also, the firefighter union, IAFF, is always looking for firefighters who can lead. Did I mention that in order to score high on the oral interview test, you need to have very good communication skills.
Lastly, if this is your dream than never quit, avoid traffic violations, and stay out of trouble.