American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise

Putting together a solid resume can be a challenging task. Many people struggle with writing about themselves and their accomplishments, while others find it difficult to keep things concise and impactful. The key is to remember the person on the other end, who likely has very little time to sort through a stack of resumes to find the best candidates for a job.  

Consider the following tips and strategies when building the perfect resume to take the next step forward in your career: 

  • Keep it short, but meaningful: A traditional rule on resume writing has been to keep it to a single page, though that “rule” has morphed into recommendation” in recent years. If you have had a long career in the fitness industry or have a number of certifications or specialties that are relevant to the job you are seeking, it can be tough to keep it to one page. If you must include a second page, consider using bullets to maximize readability and at-a-glance review. 
  • Customize the resume to each opportunity: While there are standard elements that should be included in any resume—Objective, Work Experience, Education, and Honors and Awards, for example—it is wise to customize your resume to the job you are seeking. Job listings often include keywords related to the position; by including those same phrases in your resume or cover letter, you can show that you understand the job description and have the necessary knowledge and experience to fill that role.  '
  • Describe unique and specific experiences that would directly add value to the position for which you are applying:?It’s important to do some research about the facility itself. For example, if the club has an active online presence, do you have experience filming your class or have you broadcast your class to an online audience? If it is a multipurpose club with childcare, have you worked with special populations like children or new moms? Being specific can really help your resume stand out from the crowd. 
  • Leave out unnecessary info: Things like hobbies, non-related activities or early work experience can seem like filler in a resume. If it’s not going to help you get the job, leave it out. That said, if you are early in your career, fitness-related accomplishments like finishing a triathlon or helping organize a charity 5K can demonstrate your commitment to an active lifestyleIt’s also a great idea to highlight any awards received at previous jobs, even if they are not fitness related. Hiring managers will want to know if you’ve won customer service or sales awards or have been named employee of the month in previous positions.  
  • Use the language of the fitness industry to tout your accomplishments: Be sure that your resume includes experience and education that is relevant to the job, and use industry vernacular to describe your education, certifications, specialty training and the types of clients with whom you work or would like to work. Also, list any experience with using technology to conduct exercise sessions, as this skill is becoming increasingly valued in the industry.
  • Review and edit your resume and ask for help if you need it: Nothing turns off a potential employer faster than a confusingly formatted resume or a resume riddled with typos or misspellings. Ask a friend or fellow exercise professional to review your resume before you send it out; you might also consider hiring a resume writing service to ensure professionalism. 

A Word about Cover Letters 

Many people make the mistake of dashing off a quick cover letter without much thought. While they should be concise, cover letters are your first chance to make an impression on a potential employer. In a single paragraph, try to accomplish the following:  

  • Introduce yourself  
  • List the job for which you are applying 
  • Explain how you can bring something meaningful and unique to the job or organization 
  • Tell them how to reach you 

A cover letter that is clear and written with confidence can inspire a potential employer to take a closer look at your resume, which is ultimately the goal of the cover letter in the first place.

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