Resume’ tips for EMS

Everybody needs a resume’. Even in EMS. They aren’t complicated to make, and keep updated.

Make one:

There are plenty of templates on Microsoft Word, and plenty of places on the internet to download templates.

Heck, a resume’ could be done in Notepad. We won’t judge you.

Get a real email address:

There are many, many places to get free email addresses. Use one that actually uses your name. Try to be grown-up and adult about email addresses. Frankly, when I see an application with an email address of something like “”; I’m not going to bother sending you an email, much less letting your paperwork clog my desk.

Make it look nice:

Look, colors and fonts are creative and can make your resume’ stand out. But too much is just too much.

I’m not giving a resume’ with pink or purple text or fancy fonts more than one glance.

Know yourself and how people view you:

Employers can, and do, call previous employers to verify references and work history. But previous employers don’t verify anything past dates employed, job titles, and eligibility for rehire.

Make one:

Again, just make a resume’. I would much rather have a stack of one-page resume’s to look at, as opposed to a stack of 8-page computer-generated applications.


And please, one page only. Two pages max if you publish or write articles, or if you are a committee member at a national or state organization.


  1. If I can be so bold, I’d like to chime in here:

    List all pertinent certifications and professional licenses in a section entitled “Certification and Licensure.” Include the name of the certification, the issuing authority, and the certification number and expiration dates, as they are applicable. These are the things that get you the second look; if I have two candidates for one job, and one has a resume listing the fact that he’s got his NREMT-P, CCEMT-P, and is an ACLS, PALS, and CPR instuctor, and the other one doesn’t say anything about what certifications he has, who do you think I’m going to call for an interview? The idea of a resume is to make you look desirable, from an employment standpoint, at first glance.

    It’s a good idea for you to keep an updated photocopy of all of your certification cards handy. Every job you apply for in this field will want, at minimum, a copy of your EMT or Paramedic license and your CPR card. Almost everyone wants a copy of your driver’s license, too. Most jobs will want copies of your other relevant specialty certifications as well, e.g. ACLS, PALS, CCEMT-P, PHTLS, etc. If you have these things ready for a prospective employer, you’ll look thorough, organized, and prepared, which, I’m sure we can all agree, are attributes we want in our EMS professionals.

    In Illinois, an employer and an EMS system both require a “Letter of Good Standing,” which outline the fact that you are up-to-date on all of your continuing education requirements and are in good standing with your System and your medical director. We get these letters from our system EMS coordinator. If your area uses or requires this kind of paperwork, it’s a good idea to have a copy or two on hand if you’re actively seeking work. This goes along with having your own copies of your licenses and certifications.

    I think it’s okay for your resume to focus on your EMS and other public safety experience. Typically, if you’ve made a career change or two, I don’t care if your resume itself is limited to your EMS education, clinical, and professional experience WITHIN EMS. You don’t need to showcase your previous careers. I’m most interested in your EMS background. That being said, an additional page, available upon request, listing a minimum of a 10-year employment history is welcome in the event you make it beyond the initial application stages. This page should include the employer’s name, address, phone number, dates of employment, job title(s), and the name of your immediate supervisor. You’re likely to need this information in order to complete a background check anyway, so it’s also helpful to YOU, the applicant, rather than having to look all of this information up.

    Go easy on the job descriptions, as well. I really don’t need anything more than “EMT-Basic,” “Paramedic,” “Critical Care Paramedic,” etc. I know what all of those things are, and what those people do. We can talk more about specific responsibilities and anything out-of-the-ordinary in an interview.

    Lastly: If you were the president of your college fraternity or voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in high school, I don’t care. I’m typically only interested in achievements if you were valedictorian of your EMT or Paramedic class, or if you have other professional recognition, e.g. Paramedic of the Year honors or something like that. Your other accomplishments can actually work against you, depending on how long ago they were. If you’re 30 years old and are still listing your college fraternity presidency on your resume, I wonder why you haven’t done anything else for the last eight years that you want me to know about.

    Hope you don’t mind me jumping on the bandwagon, CCC.

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