Ok you’re a certified personal trainer. Now what? How do you get a job? Even before that, how do you present yourself to your future employers in a way that helps you get head of all the other personal trainers? One of the easiest ways to jump ahead of the pack is to have a good personal trainer resume. This is actually one of my pet peeves about most fitness certifications; they spend way too much time on the “Albert Einstein” science stuff (the stuff you’ll never use!) and they neglect the real life “this is what you need to know to make a living” information. That’s what I want to discuss here. Thanks for Lyn Reebenaker for suggesting this topic
The first thing you need to know is that the managers at most of the big chain gyms – Bally’s LA Fitness, ect. – probably are not expecting you to have a personal trainer resume. I say this because many big chain health clubs hire trainers because of their looks and secondly, their perceived ability to sell gym memberships. Also, most of the people who walk in the door of a gym looking for a job will probably say “Are you hiring personal trainers?” without having a resume.
That said, when you enter a gym with a resume, you automatically go to the font of the line – at least in the eyes of anyone who knows anything.
What to put in your resume?
A personal trainer resume won’t be really different than a resume in any other field. It will have areas for your name, address phone number, email and website (if you have a website. Tip. Eventually you should! Here is how I made my websites. It’s easy!).
The resume will also contain sections for you to place your:
- Work experience (if you have any)
- Education (HS, college etc.)
- Certifications (list any fitness certs you have)
- CPR/AED certs. In this section, say “CRP and AED certified” Tip: You need to have a CPR and AED cert if you are serious about being a personal trainer. Some gyms will not hire you if you don’t have these. Click here to find CPR/AED classes in your area.
- Fitness organization affiliations (IDEA, ACSM, etc). If you are not a member of any fitness organization (besides the organization you are certified by) leave this part out.
- Special skills you have (computer skills, sports training skills etc). If you graduated high school with perfect attendance, list that. If you have completed the Iron Man Triathlon list that too.
As for work experience, list any work experience you have – even if it is not related to fitness or personal training. Smart gym owners/managers recognize that being a good personal trainer takes more than just a certification. Having real world experience in almost any field can be an asset to you.
Serious personal trainers should also have a website. Just follow these steps to make your website and it will be set up in about an hour.
Tip. You do not need to list your gender, age, birthday or marital status on your resume. It’s illegal for employers to ask these questions. Women, do not have to tell employers if they are pregnant when they apply for a job. Employers are not allowed to ask about this either.
Also, don’t worry if you are are over 40 and want to be a personal trainer. As you will see in the post I linked to, being older can actually work in your favor.
Tip. it’s good to list multiple items in bullets form. This makes for easy reading. for example, you might list:
- Completed Iron Man Triathlon in Hawaii 2011
- Graduated high school with a GPA of 4.0
- Made it to finals of Ultimate Ninja Warrior
In addition when you describe accomplishments keep it short and to the point.
Where can I get a resume?
I you are a Windows user, a great place to find templates for resumes is Microsoft.com. The resume templates you’ll find there are all formatted for you. All you have to do is fill in your information. Find a template that you like and download it to your desktop and save the file as “my resume” or something like that.
Another option is to Google phrases like “good resume” or “fitness resume” or something like that and see what comes up. Then, when you find a resume that you like, copy the way it looks into your word processor (Word, etc.) and add in your information.
If you are making your own resume, make sure the font size is 11-12. Times New Roman is also a good font for resumes. Remember, larger fonts and font sizes make your resume more pages. Ideally, your resume should only be 1-2 pages long.
Tip. After you have your resume made save it as a PDF file. That way, if you ever have to email your personal trainer resume to an employer, it will look exactly the same on their computer as it looks on your computer. Both windows PCs and Macs let you save files as PDFs.
What if you have no experience?
We all have to start somewhere and its possible that you may have no personal trainer work experience – or, no work experience at all. This is not a problem for your resume. Just remove the “work experience” section of the resume and focus on the other areas. The person interviewing you will see that the work experience is not there and may ask you if you have any experience.
If they do ask, be honest and say you don’t yet have any. If it were me, being asked that question I might turn it into a joke and say something like like ” I’m basically Tabula Rasa right now, so you can train me the right way”. (Tabula Rasa means “blank slate.”)
Showing off your good and friendly personality is actually just as important – or more so – than the resume. This is because personal training is a people business.
If the job is between a smart guy who’s a dud personality-wise and a someone with a good personality who may have less experience, many big box gyms will probably chose personality over education.
Bottom line. don’t be afraid to say to a gym manager “I have no experience”. If you have a good background, they will train you. If they say “sorry your under qualified“, forget them and move on. Eventually somebody will hire you and you will get that experience.
Check out my ebook on personal trainer questions and answers as this will give you real world experience on the questions your clients will ask you.
Tip. When you do get hired, don’t let them give you clients without experience. Make sure you receive training first. Ask to “shadow” their smartest trainer for a few weeks (the smartest is not always the person who has the most clients).
Read this horror story of a persons first day as a personal trainer to see the stupid stuff that some gyms do to new personal trainers.
For those who are seeking more insights into the business of fitness and how it relates to personal training, see:
I think these resources will help personal trainers whether they are working in a gym or starting their own personal trainer business.
Resume vs CV
If you have a college or other background, instead of a resume, you may want to create your Curriculum Vitae (or “CV”). This is basically an smarty pants resume that’s used in the education world and other professional fields. The CV lists not only your experience but your accomplishments. Again you can check the Microsoft website for templates on CVs.
If your just starting out, forget the CV and focus on the resume.
Again, don’t worry about not having a lot – or any -personal training experience. The fact that you enter the gym with a resume will speak volumes about your professionalism and it will help you stand out from all the others who do not have a resume. If you have any questions about what I wrote or topics I may have missed, feel free to leave a comment below and I will be glad to help you. Also see my post on how to be a personal trainer for more insights.
What do you think?