Welcome to the world of being a personal trainer. For anyone who's interested in health and fitness, this job will guarantee you true fulfillment. Your clients will come to you with a goal, and you will be instrumental in helping them achieve it to create a lasting change in their lives. Really, what could be better?
As a personal trainer, you have the luxury to decide. You can go to one of the biggest gyms or fitness centers and get hired as an in-house expert. If you are organized and can manage different aspects of the fitness world at the same time, you can become an independent trainer and run your own fitness business as well.
No one ever said you could only have one resume.
Your resume needs to reflect the route you choose and must attract different employers. If you are looking to build personal clients, you will need to appeal to their needs and wants. If you are looking to land a job, then your resume will be geared toward the business you are most interested.
Introduction & Before You Begin
In this book, we will tell you how to pull together your experience and qualifications in a way that will get you noticed above the rest. You will learn:
- How to prepare your resume so that it works well for the reader
- How to optimize your resume to work well online
- How to create your brand and keep it consistent
- How to maximize your references and recommendations
These are internet websites where you can post a resume and where prospective clients come along and enter search criteria for candidates who interest them. The type of resume you put onto a job board is different than a resume you send for a specific job.
By definition, your resume has to be generic, but it still has to be geared to the industry and the general way in which personal training works.
This resume and the one you submit for a specific role are based on the same information but need to look different. You might also add things to a job board resume that you would not include in a resume for a specific job.
For example, you might add a recommendation sector where you quote past clients extolling your virtues as a trainer. Draw on the information in the text for these different resume types.
The ideal world and the real world
You’ve probably noticed there is a big difference between what you should do and what you actually do.
In theory, we should all have a resume we can draw on at any time, in practice most of us only update it when we need to and, then we sort of update the last one.
Throughout this book, we will point out what we should do, and we will focus intensely on what is practical, and what isn’t. You can take either route; both will work.
Just think for a moment
Your resume has one job, and that is to get you to the next step. For the record, the whole process is a series of just getting to the next level. Step One; get your resume noticed. Step Two; Get an interview. Step Three; Ace the interview. You get the idea.
A resume is designed to get you a job, but a bio is a document that says what a fantastic person you are. These two are entirely different. What you are doing in a resume is matching your skills to the job you want to have.
Following what you should do, you should start with what you wish and desire. What are you looking for in a job?
Where would you like to be in five years? What are your long-term goals?
Your resume should reflect what type of job you really want to get.
A resume’s job is to show the hiring manager how you are the perfect person for their job opening.
In a resume, your skills need to match the specific needs of the company.
Don’t lose sight of the long-term commitments
As a sports trainer, you have taken a vocational role in the world, and there must be authentic reasons why you chose this over all the other things you could have done. Write down the answers to the following:
- Why did I decide to become a personal trainer?
- What do I most enjoy about being a personal trainer?
- What do I least enjoy about being a personal trainer?
- What do I want to spend days doing?
What job are you applying for?
Look at the job ad you plan to apply for and pull out the key needs of the company.
Actual Personal Trainer Ad:
We are looking for Company Personal Trainers to enhance the competencies of our Company Fitness franchise by conducting training programs that will boost franchise club performance in alliance with company brand and core values.
⦁ Build a clientele base through prospecting, conducting fitness assessments, seminars, and class demos.
⦁ Prescribing comprehensive wellness programs based individual client’s goals.
⦁ Motivating and inspiring clients to reach their goals with enthusiasm.
⦁ Keeping clients accountable using a combination of goal setting, and consistent re-evaluations and assessments.
⦁ Embodying the pinnacle of professionalism through actions and attitude.
⦁ Cultivating a safe, enjoyable community between Team Training, Small Group Training, and One-on-One instructions.
This ad is taken from a real advertisement where the company was looking for personal trainers, so check out the words in blue. Boost club performance and build client base are real clues that in addition to the job of the trainer, they’re going to want you to help get people through the door.
What did you do in your current position that helped get people through the door?
Who will read your resume?
The hiring manager will definitely read your resume, and the HR or recruitment person will be the one to find your resume among all the other applicants.
Your resume needs to appeal to those two people.
The Hiring Manager
This person will be looking for someone who they believe can do the job and whose outlook matches theirs.
The HR Person
This person will be looking for someone who ticks the boxes — someone who doesn’t contradict the corporate ethos and should be able to do the job.
This step can be achieved by wording your resume well and being aware of what they are looking for by reading the ad carefully.
Do some research
Your next task is to familiarize yourself with how the world of personal trainers presents themselves. Look at the bios of the trainers you know and check out how they show themselves to the world. What impresses you? What leaves you cold?
Read resumes on the job posting sites and read ads because this will give you an idea of how people present themselves, and then you can begin to assess how you will introduce yourself too.
Key Words and Keywords
All industries have a vocabulary they use. You probably already know it but perhaps do not recognize it as a keyword. The wording of the ad will reflect words that are important to the company. These are the main keywords, and you can also think of them as trigger words. When the HR person, weeding through a host of resumes, sees these triggers, they place the resume on the maybe pile.
There are also keywords that words databases use to sort electronically. The search engine will recognize the words and include the document in the search results.
These words could be the same, but they could also differ. You need to make sure your resume includes them. If you post your resume on a website, your full services need to appear on your resume. In this case, if someone is looking for those specific skills, they can easily see what you have to offer.
If you are sending your resume in response to a job posting, it’s wise to use their keywords. It shows the company that you understand their language and by implication, have an idea of their culture.
Before we move on
By know you should know:
- What you are looking for in a job
- What the industry and your prospective clients are looking for when they hire a personal trainer
- What appeals to you and what doesn’t
- What skills and words you need to include on your resume/ bio
In this chapter, we will look at the information you need to have on your resume and the things you’d want to leave out. All resumes have some elements of similarity about them, but you need to know how to make yours stand out.
Gather all the information together
First of all, collect all the information. Creating the perfect resume is somewhat like a jigsaw or Lego. There are blocks of information which will come together to form the whole picture, so start with the visible pieces which are your contact details, any (relevant) social media, your educational credentials, and your skills.
The good news is that with your resume jigsaw pieces you can construct many different looking resumes.
What your resume must have
Contact information is an essential thing you need to have when building a resume. If employers cannot get a hold of you, how will they arrange an interview?
Name, Email Address and phone number are essentials. Your exact address is not, but you should include city, state and zip code.
- Links to your social media accounts if they are relevant.
- LinkedIn and a portfolio website if you have one.
- Don’t include links to social media that aren’t relevant.
- State license number when needed.
For some, this will be probably the most challenging part of writing, but if you follow the tips below, you can build a great summary statement.
- Make it short – a paragraph or two
- Create a professional synopsis of your career accomplishments to date
- Outline your future goals
Read some examples before you write yours. You can find hundreds online. Search for ‘great summary statements resume’.
Put your professional qualifications first, and then list your working below. Don't add the date unless you graduated more than five years ago. Your experience will count for more than the year you qualified.
If you need state approvals or licenses to work list these in this section too.
If you are recently graduated it is appropriate to brag a little. If you made the Dean’s List, just say so.
This list also works backward. It contains relevant jobs for which you have been paid and may include internships.
It is standard to state your job title(s), and the dates worked.
You might also list achievements here. See page xx.
Qualification and Skills
These are the things that make you shine. In the previous chapter, in the relevant example that was provided, we talked about things you have done to get people through the door.
This list describes the things you are proud to have achieved until the present moment. You might say:
Inspired and helped 15 non-runners to complete their first marathon
Last 15 clients combined weight loss = one and a half baby elephants, 10% more than the collective goal
The idea is to pull out the highlights of the things you have done. (in the next chapter we will talk about making these relevant. See page xx.)
If you have achieved some work-related event make sure to state it here. If you run marathons or are a champion weightlifter, add it. If you won a gold medal in your sport, this is a skill that will add a little extra pizzazz to your application.
Things you do not have to have
All a resume needs to contain is the applicable information. Anything that is not applicable can be left out. If you worked as a chef before you became a personal trainer, you do not need to include it.
You also do not need to include any personal details. Specifically, do not include:
- Salary information – this is not the appropriate place for that discussion
- Your social security number – they do not need it at this point
- References – when someone wants references they will ask for them
- Current business contact information
- Personal information including age, marital status, sexual orientation
A word on references
There are two situations where you might allude to testimonials rather than references. These are a little different from references, but they do have a place:
A job board resume
For a job board resume, a testimonial will differentiate you, and show your employers you understand the personal side of the business.
A resume for prospective personal 1:1 clients.
In this type of resume, your testimonials will prove that you deliver results. Prospective training clients will need to know that you can turn them into an Olympic champion.
In both cases, you will not state the name of the person giving you the credibility and nor their contact details – even if they are one of your references.
Testimonials are personal and helpful:
“With the help of (your name here), I was able to kick off the pounds finally.(Name) helped me set the goals and encouraged me even when I wanted to give up. I would never have lost that last 5 lbs without him/her.”
Before we move on…
In this chapter we have learned:
- What information you do need for creating a resume
- What information is useless
- What you can use
- To gather all the information together in some format. It does not matter whether it is in notes, envelope backs or on a computer file. The information is there, waiting to be used.
How to Make Your Resume Pack a Punch
In this chapter, we are going to discuss how to put the information together in a way that is dynamic and interesting. Have you heard the phrase seen one, seen them all? Nowhere is this truer than when reading resumes.
You Have Six Seconds to Catch Someone’s Attention, Use Every One.
How to appeal to your audience
To appeal to an audience, you have to know who they are. Not personally but in outline terms. For personal trainers, you have three types of audience.
Specific Job Resume
When you are applying directly for a job, and you know the audience is the organization. When you assume that an HR person, the hiring manager, and potentially other people involved in the hiring decision look at your resume.
These people are looking to check if you have the skills they need. Also, they want to know you’ll fit in their environment, and they need to know everything that’s special about you.
Resume to attract personal 1:1 client
These people are individuals who are looking at what you can do for them.
All they care about is how you can help them achieve their goal.
Your credentials are important, but really, it’s a reflection on them. You can imagine them telling their friends “my trainer is a….”
Job board audience
The audience board is like a little mix of these two. You might be scouted by an HR person looking for employees or be looked at by a potential 1:1 client.
Of all the resumes this is one that is focused solely on you, and you’ll need to explain all the benefits you bring to a potential employer.
Once you know your audience, you can begin to craft your resume text in a way that is going to appeal to them. See the difference between the following skills:
“Worked with clients to build a personal fitness program taking advantage of all the fitness center offerings including the pool, weight room, and steam room.”
“Constructed individual workout programs reflecting each client’s personal goals and physical ability and desired outcome.”
In both cases, you did the same work, but in the top one, your clients kept coming back to the gym.
In the second example, the focus is on the client. Your experience, which appears on your resume, has to be aligned with who is going to be paying for your services.
In the first example, the employer is the company. In the second, an employer is a person.
Creating sentences that make sense but use keywords
Remember the work you did on keywords: Your sentences need to include these words. A search for the keywords in “personal training” reveals the following as the top 20 keywords.
|gym||bodybuilding||gyms near me||exercise|
|lifetime fitness||personal trainer||cardio||exercise bike|
|snap fitness||aerobic||fitness studio||the gym|
|crunch fitness||world gym||ab exercises||aerobic exercise|
You cannot and do not want to include ‘gyms near me.’ Instead, integrate all the other words in your text. The key is to work the keywords into the narrative in a way that is both natural and normal.
‘My goal is to help clients achieve their lifetime fitness goals through a combination of work in the gym, aerobic exercise, and nutritional guidance.’
Getting attention in 6 seconds flat
Here’s the clue, getting their attention in 6 seconds flat is about them and not you. How do you do it?
i. You present something that looks nice
ii. You say something that will appeal to what they are looking for
In the next section, we will talk about how sentences need to be further organized, and how a great layout influences the way people look at you.
In a resume for a job application – use keywords that will appeal to the company.
When looking for 1:1 client use keywords that will show them what they will receive.
When creating a job board resume focus on the benefits someone who hires you will accrue.
Things to avoid – it’s not what you say, it’s really the way that you say it
As a culture, we are so used to words that convey hype. Buzzwords basically have two effects. Firstly, they can have a direct shorthand effect so that you can get a concept across quickly. Secondly, they can also be volatile and mean very little.
People will talk about being a team player for example. What does that really mean? A better way of getting the same idea across would be to talk about helping colleagues or supporting a team effort or contributing to corporate goals.
The difference is what you did, not what you are. What you need to share with people is the benefits of what they will receive when working with you.
If you are tempted to say what you are, especially in the skills section, an excellent way to think about this is to add a ‘what this means’ statement:
I am a personal trainer
What this means is: I help people achieve their health and fitness goals.
I am a specialist in nutrition
What this means is: I can provide individuals with their optimum diet for weight loss and good health.
The sentences in the far-right column are the benefits, and these are very important to the company and people who might want to hire you.
Clarity over clutter
More than anything else, you want your resume to be clear and precise. It is advisable to use action words. These are words like implemented, achieved, delivered, facilitated, which are all great words that inspire the idea that you made something happen.
Remember to be clear about the effects of what you did. If you were a manager and you implemented a 6:00 a.m. daily call that might be something you did. If you were to say you implemented a 6:00 a.m. call that resulted in the center having an extra ten clients per day at a revenue increase of $y per month, the company is going to be a lot more impressed.
Be clear and make each sentence have a point and work to deliver a message.
One resume doesn’t fit all
No rule says you can have only one. You can have a different resume for every company you apply to, another resume for private clients and a third one for the job boards.
Personalizing a resume for a company means that when you get to the interview, all you need to do is check what you said on the resume, and for what job you have applied for, and you'll already know how to answer the questions.
What you have learned
In Chapter 3 you learned about:
- Addressing the audience in a way which is relevant to them
- How to get attention in the time you have available
- How benefits are better than attribute statements (what this means….)
- How effects are better actions
- Making sure you express what is most important
Formatting Your Resume
In the 6 seconds, you have to get your resume noticed, the first thing that will attract a future employer is how the resume looks.
Using a format
Even if all you do is pick a template from a word-processor or from an online source, searching for a format is really important.
A format will systemically present the information blocks, and make sure the information appears in a clear and concise way.
Search for best- looking resumes, and you will see all sorts of formats which will appeal more or less to you.
They will also indicate where you need to put contact information so that it appears on all the pages.
Search for best- looking resumes, and you will see all sorts of formats which will appeal more or less to you.Tweet This!
Let your creative juices flow
This process is especially important for personal trainers who are attempting to set up their own practices. Essentially, what you are doing is creating a brand. How you present the way you train other people, will become your trademark to the world.
The key is to keep everything consistent across all the platforms you use. It’s advisable to use the same colors and fonts, and include common benefits that speak to any person you would like to train directly.
Besides the resume you might consider:
- Your LinkedIn Profile – besides putting your resume there, make sure the details of your profile line up with it.
- A microsite or website – is a way of telling the world what you can do for them. You do not have to have one, but if you do ensure that, make it consistent.
- Blogs – are a fantastic way of creating interest in your brand. Use the same colors and fonts, but use the blog to express more about your lifestyle.
- Creating a cool document that works online
The chance is that no one is going to print your resume, so you need to be sure that it will work online.
The advantage of this is that you can structure the screen view to get the exact look you need. You can also use colors and effects which would not work on paper.
The disadvantage is that you have to have something that will open on a cell phone as well as a laptop.
Follow the rules but get smart when breaking them
Your resume has to have the correct information in it, but how you pull that together is up to you. If you want to create a flowchart – go ahead. Imagine for a fantastic moment you were a personal trainer to a major film star. At the top of your resume you might put a tagline: ‘Jane Doe trainers to fabulous film star’ or you might add a client section: Personal Trainer to…film star and sports personality. Then after this section, you would follow with all the other information.
Remember 6 seconds is all it takes, if you have some pull like a big name, use it.
Spell Check and Proofread
It is just silly not to use spell check. Do it. Don’t argue.
If possible, get someone else to look over your document. A fresh pair of eyes will see things differently, and this can be helpful in case you misspelled something or used the wrong word.
There are also great websites where you can improve your sentences and check for passive verbs.
They also catch things you might easily miss.
What you have learned
In this chapter we covered:
- The need for a format
- The need for consistency across all your online sources
- How to use the resume builder
- When to break the rules, and create a resume that gets you noticed
Sending your resume to its target
Now you are ready to get the resume in front of potential employers. Congratulations!
You are on the home straight, but there are some last-minute steps you should take before you send it to recruiters.
Is your resume finished?
When did you last read your resume? Reread it. Check if it really says what you want to convey to its future readers.
Convert the file to a PDF when you are happy with it. Do not merely call it ‘resume', but give it a filename which works. Naming it ‘Jones Personal Trainer’ (when your name is Jones)is going to help you identify it easier when you'll need it.
But your resume still needs more details to it.
At this point, you could upload it to a job board site, and attach it to your LinkedIn profile, etc.
If you are sending a resume for a specific role, you will need to create a cover letter that accompanies the resume.
The art of the cover letter
Writing the right cover letter is an art. Even though they might not read it, and go straight to your resume, you need to create one that reflects the expertise you are presenting to your future employers.
You need to write one, but they might not read it and go straight to the resume, so your cover letter will not contain any extra information that doesn’t already exist in your resume.
The cover letter offers you a chance to add a little shine, so make sure that you won't forget to emphasize the points you want to get across.
The cover letter has three sections:
In this segment you tell the reader why you are submitting the resume:
- I am responding to your ad
- I have long been interested in
- I have a recommendation from *
*It’s also essential that you first ask the person who’ll recommend you if they want to appear as a reference on your cover letter.
In this section, you get to sell yourself the way you want. You need to repeat your key
reasons as to why they should pay attention to your application, and you can do this by writing in the first person.
I believe I am practically perfect for this job because…
Keep it short and make sure that it talks to their benefit and not yours.
The letter close
If your application was unsolicited, you could indicate that you will follow up in a few days. In this case, don’t forget to do what you have said, and get back to them.
If you responded to a posted ad, then indicate you look forward to discussing the position.
Technically it is called an assumptive close. You are assuming that of course, your future employers would want to discuss the position with you. Be polite but assertive.
If you submit the cover letter as PDF make it look like your resume from a style and language perspective. If it is in the body of an email, you need not to worry about the style but try to use the same font.
Getting it to the right place
Always follow the submission instructions exactly. You are ruling yourself out if you do not. You are effectively saying “I never bothered to read your instructions.…” Many companies will rule you out on this basis alone.
If the routine is to submit to HR, but you know who’s the hiring manager of the company, you can Cc the manager, so they know you applied.
Submit only what is asked to submit. If they say resume only – when you provide just that. Do not add additional materials unless asked. If the requirements ask for a resume and cover letter, that’s what you send.
What we learned this article
- Creating PDFs
- Creating cover letters
- Following submission instructions
Lastly, always keep in mind that your words value more than you think. In case of a follow-up, even if you do not get the job, you can still be in their consideration, as long as you’re forging a way of communication between you and them. In this day and age, there are only a few companies that will not put the time and effort into replying, so if they don’t get back to you, don’t take it personally.