Fire Engineering: How to Write an Impressive Resume
Fire engineers have always been highly sought after in the UK. This demand is set to rise further, thanks to an ageing workforce and new legislation on fire safety schemes.
However, not enough fresh faces are coming through to fill vacancies. In July 2020, there were only 291 chartered fire engineers for EWS1 inspections, as per the Fire Protection Association. The talent gap has left employers vying for new recruits.
With the demand superseding the supply available, it’s safe to say that there are plenty of opportunities for qualified fire engineers out there. So, if you are looking to kick start a career in fire safety, now is your time to shine.
Every great career move starts with an incredible resume. A well-made resume is a self-marketing tool: it lets you showcase your skills to a prospective employer. But its perks do not end there.
5 Benefits of a Well-Written Professional Resume
Despite the current labour shortage, employers want to hire the best candidates for each open position. Resumes are the first step in their search. They will usually green light an in-person interview only if they like what they see on paper.
An appealing resume sets you apart from the crowd and lets recruiters know why you’re suitable for the job. It also:
#1. Allows You to Make a Fantastic First Impression
In most cases, employers will first meet you through your resume, which is why you need it to make a lasting impression. While average resumes will likely end up in the rejected pile, a powerful one will take you further in the application process.
#2. Gives You a Competitive Edge
Recruiters receive a flood of resumes almost every day. More importantly, they only spend a few seconds running through each one. Unless your resume catches their eye, you’ll lose out to someone with a better sense of design.
A tailored resume enables you to outshine your competition. When hiring managers come across a resume they like, they might slow down and flip the pages instead of tossing it aside. This gives you a better shot at landing your dream job.
#3. Offers a Firm Footing for the Future
Whether you’re just starting out in fire engineering or thinking about switching careers, your first job holds significant weight. Get that initial position right, and all else will fall in place.
A new job provides extensive learning opportunities: a scope to leverage a robust professional network and tap into fresh prospects.
A compelling resume can help in this regard. If you put out a lacklustre resume, chances are you’ll secure a lacklustre role that kills your interest in the industry. Hence, it’s worth going all out and investing in a well-written resume.
#4. Makes You More Confident in Your Accomplishments
In many ways, your resume is a highlight reel of your career. Most people don’t realise what they have achieved until they see it written out on paper. You will inevitably feel more confident once you see how far you’ve come.
Self-confidence is crucial to your job search. It puts you in a positive headspace, where you’re ready to believe in your full potential. Moreover, it motivates you to keep going and take risks, regardless of roadblocks and rejections.
#5. Saves You Time
Crafting a riveting resume can help you save time in the long run. For starters, you won’t have to start your LinkedIn profile from scratch. Simply copy and paste your resume details, and you’re good to go.
A resume can also come in handy when you’re preparing for an interview. Employers usually use resumes to explore a candidate’s skill sets or past job experiences. Since you already have those points listed, you’ll only have to practice elaborating on them.
8 Tips to Write an Impressive Resume
A well-written resume is non-negotiable. Sure, it isn’t your only asset in job hunting- but it is certainly the means to an end.
Given the stiff competition in the fire engineering industry, you will want your resume to stand out. Since a weak resume can effectively remove you from the running, you must pull all the stops to make it sing.
You may think it’s difficult to condense your experiences and qualifications into a few pages. However, there are many ways you can write a convincing resume without breaking a sweat.
Here are eight resume writing tips to help you set the ball rolling.
#1. Keep it Short
This is a cardinal rule of resume writing. Generally, your document should not exceed one page, unless you have a good reason for it, such as an extensive career or highly relevant qualifications.
A great way to keep things concise is to only include recent, relevant experiences. Try to stick to the jobs you have held in the past decade. Adding more can make your resume look cluttered and busy, drawing attention away from suitable competencies.
#2. Pick the Right Format
Choosing a resume format comes down to deciding what you want recruiters to focus on: your expertise or your career progression.
In this regard, there are three basic formats you can pick from: reverse chronological, functional/skills-based, and a combination of the two.
- Reverse Chronological: This format is ideal for people with a long employment history.
- Functional/Skills Based Format: The functional format is meant for people who lack relevant experience (recent graduates or candidates seeking a career change) but want to highlight their know-how.
- Combination Format: The combination format is a perfect fit for candidates with a diverse skill set. So, if you want a senior management role in fire engineering, you can use this format to underscore your leadership and technical abilities.
Take a look at this sample combination resume. It opens with a synopsis of the applicant’s key skills and then fleshes out their work experience in the next section.
#3. Pay Attention to Your Summary
The upper half of your resume is valuable real estate. If you want recruiters to give it more than a quick look-see, you’ll have to hook them in right out the gate.
Think of your introduction as a 30-second elevator pitch. It should quickly summarise your training, accentuate your skills, and reflect your zest for the role. Don’t get too wordy here: you’ll have enough time to expand on your skills deeper in the document.
#4. Focus on Results
It’s always a good idea to back up your claims with results. By using figures and percentages, you give hiring managers a clearer sense of how you benefited your previous employer.
For instance, instead of just saying ‘installed fire systems’, add concrete figures to demonstrate impact. In case you don’t have that kind of data, list the solutions you or your team delivered. The end goal is to show that you made a difference.
#5. Add Relevant Keywords
Many employers scan resumes for the keywords in their job postings. Hence, you may want to study each description for phrases that outline the employer’s vision of an ideal candidate. Try and sprinkle them in your document wherever possible.
So, if you’re applying for ‘Fire and Security Engineer’, you can add keywords like ‘fire safety’, ‘fire management’, ‘fire prevention’, and ‘fire hazard analysis’, among others.
#6. Don’t Forget Soft Skills
Interpersonal skills, such as critical thinking, are crucial to a career in fire engineering. You must be able to solve complex problems, communicate, work in teams, and mitigate risks to public health and safety.
But how do you show these prized attributes in your resume?
Listing them is one way to go. However, you can also frame your accomplishments to showcase soft skills like leadership, creativity, and reliability. This way, you’ll be able to detail how these qualities helped you deliver positive outcomes at work.
#7. Use the Right Language
Contrary to popular belief, a resume is no place to wax poetic. Corporate audiences hardly appreciate flowery language, meaning you must ensure your writing is professional, neat, and tight.
Here’s how to do this with ease.
- Eliminate words that don’t add value to the sentence.
- Look for shorter ways to get your point across.
- Weed out redundancies.
- Skip semi-colons and colons if you’re unsure about how to use them.
- Always write in the active voice.
- Be sure to use strong action words like ‘achieved’, ‘designed’, ‘improved’, and ‘established’ to delineate your duties.
#8. Check for Mistakes
When you’re competing with highly qualified candidates, even small mistakes can cost you. Hence, there is no room for sloppiness on your resume. It’s best to triple-check your work and then have someone else comb through it to catch any lingering mistakes.
A few errors to look out for include:
- Typos: Most recruiters will automatically strike you off their list if they spot a typo in your resume. Typos are equated with laziness- a huge red flag for hiring managers.
- Formatting: Closely review the font, alignment, and spacing on your resume. Related issues may indicate a lack of technical knowledge or attention to detail.
- Punctuation: A missing period may not seem like a big deal, but it can effectively kill your chances of landing an interview. Always make sure your resume is grammatically correct.
The Bottom Line
A powerful resume is your key to a successful career. Once your resume shows a distinctive, goal-oriented professional, you’ll find yourself a step closer to your dream role.
However, know that resume writing is not an exact science. These rules are not set in stone. But although you may have to adjust some of them as per your needs, they can certainly help make your fire engineering resume more streamlined and legible.
About the Author!
George Zitko is the founder and CEO of Zitko, a Cambridge-based fire and security recruitment agency. As an advocate for change, he is a big believer in transparency, partnership, and collaboration. He enjoys playing an active part in people’s career development, be it his own team or the candidates they place.