What makes you unique?
Why should you get the job over the hundreds of other potential hires?
All of you will meet the same basic requirements and more-or-less the same certifications.
Many have little or no experience; this is why you need a robust and customized cover letter.
Your cover letter for that firefighter position (even if you have no experience) is your elevator pitch, your first chance to sell yourself.
To get to the interview stage, it must quickly point out the following two elements:
- Why YOU (what specific soft/hard skills do you have that will benefit them, and what value can you add to their service) and;
- Why THEM (what do you know about their department; their special equipment or divisions)
Firefighter Cover Letter Basics
- First, each cover letter must be personalized to the specific fire department you are applying to. Generic letters are one of the fastest ways for your resume to be eliminated.
- Address the letter to the Fire Chief unless the ad explicitly states otherwise.
- Your name and current contact information must be clearly visible at the top of the letter. Make sure your email address is professional (not the one that is guaranteed to make your friends laugh). You don’t want to miss out on an interview because the hiring team could not easily reach you.
- Include the position or job title (e., Probationary Firefighter, Career Fire Fighter, Operations FireFighter) as well as the reference or ID number.
- The letter should be 4 paragraphs in length. Use full sentences instead of bullet points, and always triple check to make sure you don’t have any grammatical, spelling or formatting errors.
First Paragraph: YOU Are Their Ideal Candidate. Introduce Yourself and Briefly Explain Why
Introduce yourself, reiterate your name, so it stays top of mind with the hiring manager, briefly mention any relevant experience and pertinent specific successes, and years of schooling (if applicable). It is essential to summarize why this service, and state why you are the right candidate.
Use the next two paragraphs to illustrate these points and your resume to prove them.
Second Paragraph: THEY Are Your Ideal Fire Service. Tell the Hiring Team Why.
What is it about this individual fire department that attracts you to it?
- Do you dream about eventually working internationally with the Vancouver Urban Search and Rescue Team?
- Does your previous skilled trades experience make you a good candidate for the department’s Technical Rescue (Rope & Confined Spaces) Team?
- Do you have your EMR certificate so that you can fast-track to their special Emergency Medical Services section?
- Have you always been interested in Fire Investigations and believe their unit are experts in this field?
Two or three full sentences will show that you have put thought and time into not only learning about their service but also exhibit your desire to become a long-term part of their fire department. Remember, training a new firefighter costs a lot of time and resources. Municipalities want someone who wants to build a lasting career, so they have a good return on their investment by hiring you.
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Third Paragraph: Provide More In-Depth Information about What Makes You The ONE.
What traits, experience or skills do you possess that would make you an excellent candidate? Be detailed and quantify experiences whenever possible. Don’t state that you have a specific expertise, explain where and when you have used it. This is your chance to elaborate on an event listed in your resume that you are especially proud of.
Matching your skills/experience with those in the job description would be a big bonus (their Applicant Tracking Systems particularly love it, find out more about ATS).
Feel free to write a sentence and use bullet points if you have multiple examples of this trait. Two or three sentences should be adequate for this section.
Pro Tip: Firefighter Cover Letter Keywords
Repeating the same language used in the job posting demonstrates that you were paying attention and that you care.
This becomes especially valuable when mentioning CORE VALUES and COMPATIBLE CANDIDATE ATTRIBUTES.
Appeal to their ego by being relatable, you become desirable.
Fourth Paragraph: The Closer
Remind them what sets you apart from the other candidates – be confident, not arrogant.
Show your excitement to learn and grow under their leadership and thank them for considering your application.
Writing a strong firefighter cover letter, customized to each specific department is no easy task.
If you would like help with your letter click here to check out our plans.