Saturday, February 15, 2014

How NOT to get a seasonal firefighting job

Yes, it's seasonal hiring season once again.  At least it gives me something to write about.  Here are a few examples (all of which I have encountered more than once while reviewing applications) of what not to do if you want a job.  Enjoy.

Picture from here
1.  Call up and immediately start interviewing your potential supervisor, demanding to know his or her fire qualifications.  Especially do this if you have minimal experience and the person hiring you has been fighting fire longer than you've been alive.  Make sure to mention that you really want to be a smokejumper and are only using this job as a stepping stone.

2.  Write down your dad as your only reference.  Indicate that this is a professional reference.

3.  Ignore spell check because you know better.  Spell "personnel" as "personnelle."  Misspell the name of the last place you worked.  Don't capitalize anything, even the names of your references.  Misuse words, such as stating that you are a "pleasurable" individual rather than "pleasant."  Include the name of the four year university you graduated from, so they can be proud of your writing skills.

4.  Include the information in your application that you don't want to work on a helitack crew because you "get bored hanging around a helibase".  Forget that this is in your application and apply to a helitack crew.

5.  Get a copy of the position description and cut and paste the duties in it into your work history, because paraphrasing is really too much work.

6.  Say that it isn't OK to contact your previous employers.  Because that's not a red flag at all.

7.  Discover the fine line between keeping in contact with potential employers and pestering them.  Cross it.  Multiple times.

8.  Badmouth previous supervisors.  Say that you want a job on a different crew just because you want to get off your old one.  Say that you want a job on the helicopter, but you get motion sickness, so can you just drive the truck all summer?

9.  Apply places without doing any research.  When called, act bewildered, like you've never heard of the place (because you probably haven't).

10. Include on your application that you are writing a book about your firefighting experiences and that you expect to get some good material from this season.  Expect that your potential boss will be overjoyed to be included in your literary efforts.


  1. Heh, heh. This is great, obviously comes out of hard-won experience! If only it could be an attachment to all seasonal application forms --- BEFORE they apply, (But then where would you guys get your annual grins?)

  2. Yes, ha ha. Applications like these must help you weed out the illiterate, the crazy, the hopelessly narcissistic, and the apparently clueless rather quickly!

  3. I have had to review resumes for positions that opened at my company, and it's astounding what some people submit in hopes of getting hired. I admit to sharing some of them with co-workers because they were just that entertaining.

  4. HAHAHA-back when I used to have a position that included interviewing, I would be amazed that the illiteracy I'd find. (did I spell illiteracy right?) :: snicker ::

    Some people are just dumb as rocks. I blame the dependency educational institutes give to spell check, and the laziness of students who don't bother to use it.

    1. I would never have done any of these things back in my seasonal days...and we had to use typewriters and wite out!

  5. Have you done all of these things for real?! LOL and learn, right??

    1. No..I would be mortified! These are all applications I'm looking at, trying tp hire people.

  6. LOL! Thanks for the morning coffee laughs:)


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