Photo Credit: James Stevenson
Wildland firefighting is an increasingly competitive career path. Due to the rapidly expanding amount of certificate and degree programs for the field of wildland firefighting, there are more applicants than available positions. As a result, job opportunities in the wildland firefighting field tend to be scarce. However, that shouldn’t discourage you from pursuing your dream of becoming a wildland firefighter. It simply means that you will have to prepare properly to stand out from a crowd of other aspiring applicants. To do so, take a look at these helpful tips for landing a job as a wildland firefighter.
Determine What Type of Wildland Firefighter You Want to Become
After deciding that you want to pursue a career in wildland firefighting, you’ll need to determine what field of wildland firefighting you wish to pursue. Just like doctors have many different specialties that they can go into, so do wildland firefighters. Some of the many different types of wildland firefighters include hand crew, engine crew, smokejumpers, hotshot crew, and helitack crew.
Once you determine what type of wildland firefighter you want to become, you can tailor your education and skillset to suit the requirements of that unique position. By formulating a specialized skill set, you can increase your chances of landing the position of your choice.
Go the Extra Mile
Once you narrow down the position you want to pursue and complete the training and education requirements, it’s time to start reaching out to potential employers. As previously stated, the field of wildland firefighting is highly competitive.
In a sea of hundreds of applicants for a single position, sending out a resume is often not enough to land an interview. Often, it is the applicants that take the initiative to actually reach out and call or even visit a station to express their interest in a position that have a better chance of actually getting hired.
Don’t have much experience? That might be fine. Be sure to add an exhaustive amount of detail regarding the tools and equipment you are familiar with. Go beyond qualifications and think hard about what experience you do have. Then, put it on paper.
Consider Contract Companies
Another tip for landing a job as a wildland firefighter is to be open to contract work. Securing a federal wildland firefighting job can be incredibly difficult, and you may not get hired right away. In the case that you don’t land the federal position that you want, consider being open to working at a private company instead.
When working at a private company, you can get contracted out to aid in fire suppression efforts. For those that don’t have any fire experience, taking up contract work can be a great way to beef up their resume and get their foot in the door. In doing so, you can increase your chances of getting hired for the position you want the next time you apply.
The Supply Cache is a leading wildland fire supply store. Since 1991, we have specialized in providing wildland firefighters with the top-quality gear and equipment that they need to stay safe and effectively suppress forest fires. For more information regarding our innovative products, contact us today.