Lifeguards are swimming experts hired to work on a beach, water park, or swimming pool to prevent any accidents while swimming. They supervise the swimming area for the safety of swimmers, divers, surfers, and water sports players. If you are an aspiring lifeguard, we will provide you with detailed information about the job duties, skills, and techniques that will help you build a stand-out resume.
To begin with, let’s take a look at these three resume sample formats:
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Job Duties of a Lifeguard
Lifeguards are responsible for the safety and security of all swimmers, divers, surfers, and players around aquatics and swimming areas. Here is a list of their complete job duties and responsibilities:
Supervising swimming and sports activities around marine and swimming areas.
Ensuring all the policies and safety guidelines are being followed correctly.
Preventing swimmers from improper actions and behavior.
Rescuing swimmers in case of an accident.
Administering first aid, CPR, or artificial respiration in case of injury, drowning, or any accidental incident.
Monitoring water quality, temperature, facilities, and equipment to prevent accidents.
Cleaning water, refilling the pool, monitoring equipment such as tubes, balls, and sun chairs, supervising chlorine tests, removing its residuals, and maintaining charts and records of water tests.
Instructing new or aspiring swimmers.
Lifeguard Median Salaries
As per PayScale.com, the median salary of a lifeguard is $35,000 per year. Based on experience, it can be increased by 17% to 38% in different phases of your career.
Top Skills for Lifeguards
Lifeguards contribute to the safety and successful operation of pools, aquatic parks, and lakes or rivers at a public camp by promoting water safety, enforcing rules, monitoring swimmers, providing first aid, and responding to emergencies. Let’s take a look at the skills you need to perform the daily tasks of a lifeguard successfully:
- Safety prevention and response: A lifeguard’s primary responsibility is to keep all swimmers safe by preventing and responding to emergencies in indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, waterslides, other water attractions, lakes, beaches, and rivers. Safety is achieved by adhering to safety regulations ensuring that safe, efficient operations are met daily, and constantly surveying the swimmers in the facility through proactive scanning patterns. As a lifeguard, you must apply lifesaving skills like first aid to any swimmer in need of emergency and, in some cases, make sure incident rescue reports are correctly filled.
- Maintenance of safe water conditions: Maintaining a clean area is also essential for safety. If you work at a pool, you must keep the water’s pH balance safe by treating the collection with appropriate chemicals. While some companies ask you to measure, record, and report all chemical readings, others don’t. So if you’re going for a pool lifeguard position, knowing how to maintain the pool water in safe conditions can be helpful. You may also be expected to assist with daily startup and closure procedures, including trash removal and towel and equipment collection.
- Communication and interpersonal skills: Since a lifeguard’s job revolves around people, strong communication and interpersonal skills are essential. You’ll be interacting with swimmers by welcoming and assisting them, enforcing facility rules in a firm but positive manner, and sometimes providing swimming lessons. Meanwhile, your communication skills will come in handy working with coworkers, remaining calm and courteous under pressure, needing high levels of patience, tact and diplomacy with clients to diffuse difficult situations. Collecting accurate information, resolving conflicts, and communicating repair, replacement, and maintenance needs are also part of the job.
- Physical endurance: Possibly one of the most critical and demanding skills every lifeguard should have is meeting the adequate physical stamina and strength to perform the job. You must be able to lift 50 lbs repeatedly throughout an 8-to-10 hour shift while working in temperatures that may range anywhere from 40-to-120 degrees Fahrenheit. You must also be able to sit, stand, and walk for extended periods while monitoring and ensuring swimmer conditions are safe, and keeping an effective scanning pattern of the entire bottom of the pool zone. And you must be able to rescue swimmers if necessary, which means having the ability to tread water for two minutes, do a 50-meter swim (if guarding for shallow waters), or a 200-meter swim (if protecting deep waters).
- Quick problem-solving: As the person responsible for safekeeping swimmers, you must be able to evaluate and select among alternative courses of action quickly and accurately. You must be effective in handling problems in stressful, high-pressure situations, including anticipating, preventing, identifying, and solving problems as necessary. As a lifeguard, you are expected to act immediately to secure the safety of swimmers in an emergency.
Educational Requirements for Lifeguards
Let's talk about academics and training. For a skill-based job like a lifeguard, you should have several training and certifications to get the job. Look below at the expected educational and professional qualifications you’ll need:
DegreeAlthough there is no requirement of any higher education degree to be a lifeguard, having a high school diploma or GED is required. In the case of positions that accept younger applicants between 16 and 18 years old, you must be currently working toward your high school diploma or be enrolled in a GED program to be considered.
CertificationsYou need a lifeguard certification, CPR/AED, and first aid certification to qualify for any lifeguard job. The most popular lifeguard certifications can be obtained from the American Red Cross, your local YMCA, and Ellis and Associates. As for the CPR/AED and first aid one, the most popular is the 1-Year Provisional Certification Course for First Aid/CPR/AED by the Red Cross and the one offered by the American Heart Association. However, the American Lifeguard Association provides courses on all areas needed to get a job as a lifeguard.
Lifeguard Resume-Writing Tips
Building a good resume is your first step towards getting a job. Below are some tips to make the best one:
- Dive in with a great career objective: Starting your resume with a strong career objective statement is essential. It's better to give a personal touch every time, according to the employer’s profile.
- “ALA certified lifeguard with six years of experience of working in open waters of the beach. Ensured the 100% safety and security of your guests utilizing my expertise and experience in your water park.”
- Float on your skills: Certifications, skills, and expertise; mention all these in relevant order.
- Keep it factual: Don’t lie. If you don’t have the skills to get a lifeguard job, don’t make any up. Remember that you will be in charge of people’s lives.
What is USLA?
USLA or United States Lifesaving Association is a nonprofit professional association for lifesaving in open waters in the United States of America. Intending to "Establish and maintain high standards of professional surf and open water lifesaving for the maximization of public safety," USLA has taken lifesaving in open waters to new horizons. It has been estimated that a beach maintained by USLA has a potential risk of drowning as low as 1 in 18 million. They are responsible for training, creating awareness on beach safety.
What do I need to carry with me as a lifeguard, from my first day to every day?
You need to have copies of your certifications with you on your first day, in addition to any IDs including your driver’s license, social security ID, and passport (if you’re working abroad). For every day work, you need sunglasses, a CPR mask, sunscreen, lifeguard whistles and a proper uniform. Additionally, you need a towel or two, a hat, a sweatshirt (if the weather changes quickly, like in Chicago), and depending on where you work, some area maps for yourself and the general public.