You’re ready to dip your toe into the job market and secure your next lifeguard job. Before you dive into the deep end, you need to know how to write an amazing lifeguard resume.
Safety and caution are the priorities in your chosen profession and you have to be able to convey how serious you are about your role literally guarding lives. Your attention to detail should help you as you begin to put together the lifeguard resume and cover letter that will win you your next job.
This guide breaks down each section in your lifeguard resume and offer samples and helpful tips that will allow you to:
- Get your resume into the hands of a person with the power to hire
- Insert creativity into a standard resume format
- Choose the best skills and attributes to highlight
- Design an eye-catching, easy-to-read document
What does a lifeguard do?
Some may think being a lifeguard is all fun in the sun, but you know a lifeguard’s job is a serious one in which you hope you never have to use your skills. It’s your job to ensure the safety of swimmers and patrons in swimming areas. That means your eyes are scanning the water at all times. You must have excellent focus skills to survey the water and make sure swimmers are safe, but you also observe water conditions and notify swimmers of warnings when necessary.
As a lifeguard, you must be in top physical condition and be able to swim long distances. You have specialty training in rescue techniques and are certified in CPR, first aid and automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Aside from your technical training, you must be able to maintain a calm and proactive attitude in emergency situations.
Lifeguards work at indoor or outdoor pools, beaches and amusement parks that have water facilities. They may work seasonally or year-round.
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How to write a lifeguard resume
What should a lifeguard put on a resume? The basic structure of a lifeguard resume does not differ from any other resume. It should follow a standard format with the following sections:
- Employment history
Of course, the content will be different, but the primary purpose is the same. Your job is to convince hiring managers that you are the right person for the job. Not only is your focus laser-eyed, but you are personable and stay calm in times of trouble. How do you convince a hiring manager that’s true? By using examples from your work history and strong descriptive language, without crossing the line into bragging territory.
Get out that thesaurus. Or go to Synonym Finder or a similar site to vary your word use.
Lifeguard resume profile example: Highlight your bright personality
What is a profile on a resume? This 3- to 5-line paragraph, also known as a summary, is really much more than a summary. It’s how you explain to the hiring manager why you are the person for the job. Personality plays a role in your job as a lifeguard and this is your one chance to show it off on your lifeguard resume.
Describe your finest accomplishment as a lifeguard. In your career, you may be best served by relating a story about a rescue you accomplished or a swimmer you helped.
Use this basic outline for your profile:
- One general introduction sentence about who you are
- One or two sentences describing a career highlight
- One sentence on your professional personality and work style
You can combine these sentences or add more description if you have more to say. You can also expand your lifeguard profile if you have space.
Getting past the Applicant Tracking System
Applicant Tracking Systems are applications that use algorithms to scan, sort and rank resumes. Most employers use these systems to make the difficult job of hiring new employees just a bit easier. There’s no foolproof way to ensure you get past this gatekeeper, but there are definitely some techniques that will help.
Employers input keywords and phrases related to the job so your best bet is to carefully analyze the job listing and highlight all the attributes your prospective employer lists. Then, make sure you include any skill you can honestly claim. Do beware, however, of overdoing it. Recruiters know all the tricks, so don’t try to game the system.
Here's an example of a lifeguard resume profile:
Experienced and dedicated lifeguard, bringing forth valuable experience and a passion for keeping swimmers safe. Adept in maintaining a happy and safe swimming environment for all visitors. Vigilant and professional, with a true understanding of the importance and sensitive nature of this important job. A proven track record of keeping swimmers safe by practicing optimal surveillance of swimming areas and peacefully enforcing facility rules and regulations to maintain swimmer safety at all times.
Employment history sample: A deep dive into your experience
Your lifeguard employment history section is more than a mere listing of your previous lifeguard positions and responsibilities. It is here (in reverse chronological order) that you will offer details that demonstrate your excellence. Think of each bullet item as a chance to display a skill, personality trait or accomplishment that builds your case for employment.
The American Pool Lifeguard lists the following as necessary traits for excellent lifeguards:
- Love the water.
- Be a social butterfly.
- Happily help others.
- Be a team player or rise to captain.
- Always be on time or even a bit early.
If you do not have work experience as a lifeguard, you should complete first aid, CPR and water safety courses. These all speak to your desire to work as a lifeguard.
Of course, you must clearly convey your ability to ensure the safety of swimmers in swimming facilities and recreational sites.
If you work only during summer swim season and you work in other recreation areas during the offseason, definitely add that experience, especially if you are a swim or rowing coach. Athletic training or coaching a sport such as basketball also add valuable and transferable skills to your lifeguard resume.
The lifeguard resume sample content below gives you an idea of what you are aiming for in your employment history section.
- Served as a dedicated and vigilant lifeguard at three town swimming facilities.
- Supervised swimmers and carefully enforced swimming facility policies and guidelines to ensure swimmer safety.
- Conducted daily checks on swimming areas and equipment to maintain safety and good condition.
- Attended monthly staff meetings and worked well with co-workers.
- Administered first aid and CPR in response to life-threatening situations.
- Coordinated and scheduled swim lessons for varying age groups.
Skills section sample: Your lifeguard toolkit
Why include a skills section in your resume when you have already detailed your experience in your work history? Here’s why: Hiring managers are busy people and may receive hundreds of resumes for each position. They want to be able to quickly scan to see if you have the attributes they seek in a lifeguard. This section of your resume also tells prospective employers what skills you believe are the most important.
Sit down in a quiet spot and brainstorm a list of every skill you believe you have, whether or not it is directly related to lifeguarding. This is your work skills “master list.” Hold onto it and add to it as you move up the career ladder. It will be an invaluable resource as you customize the lifeguard resume you are creating now and rewrite your resume moving forward.
Compare your skills to those required in the job listing and choose from among the matches. Try to balance your water safety and other direct lifeguard skills, also known as hard skills, and your general work and people skills, called soft skills. This section should contain no more than 10 skills, but you can stick with your top five or so. Customizing this section will also help you get past the ATS, but, again, don’t force the matches. Only include the attributes that truly define your work style.
Below is a sample of the mix of skills you may want to consider for your lifeguard resume.
- Surveillance Techniques
- Excellent Swimming Ability
- CPR, AED and First Aid Certified
- Effective Communication Skills
- Leadership Skills
Education section example for a lifeguard CV: Certified to save
This section should be your easiest to compile. It is a simple listing of all your diplomas and degrees. If you are a high school student, list your school and your anticipated date of graduation.
Most states require lifeguard certification courses that include classwork and training in the water. Specialized training is also recommended for different types of lifeguards.
If you have completed a lifeguard training program and are certified in CPR, first aid and the use of AEDs, make sure you note all of this in the education section of your lifeguard resume.
- 2014 American Red Cross, Certified Lifeguard
- 2010-2014 Fox Lane High School, High School Diploma, Briarcliff, NY
Choose the right format for your lifeguard resume
We all know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, yet we are all guilty of it to some degree. That is why, no matter how experienced of a lifeguard you are, you need to make sure your resume looks as good as it sounds. Because you need great focus for your job, you need to demonstrate that through an error-free resume. Make sure you proofread and then get another set of eyes on your document before you hit the send button.
Here are lifeguard resume design and formatting guidelines to follow to ensure you make a great first impression:
- Try choosing a san serif type such as Arial or Calibri for display text and a serif type such as Garamond or Constantia for your descriptions. Or try the opposite.
- Allow your contact information to stand out, but avoid a profile picture
- Use standard one-inch margins all around
- Create white space by varying your line lengths
- Avoid spilling over to a second page
Use a professional email address, not the funny one with the high school nickname your friends call you. [email protected] works well.
Match the design of your cover letter and resume for a unified look.
Use graphics or other distracting visuals.
- Show off your social nature in your profile, since your job requires a lot of teamwork and customer service.
- Customize your resume to help you beat the ATS and show hiring managers that you want the job.
- Your employment history section gives you the opportunity to demonstrate in detail why you are the right person for the job.
- Customize your lifeguard resume for each job.
- Lifeguards need great focus, so you can’t afford errors in your resume.
By using one of Resume.io’s field-tested resume templates, and following these helpful tips on the creation of your resume, you will be on your way to finding the lifeguard job that's right for you.