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Getting an Interview: Resume Dos and Don’ts

by Meaghan posted February 25, 2015

As you may know, this quarter’s FPTI Career Fair is coming up on Wednesday, March 4th! From 1-2:30pm, FPTI will host representatives from gyms across New York City – including Equinox, Crunch, 24-Hour Fitness, Boom Fitness and more – for both students AND alumni to make contacts, ask questions regarding employment in the fitness industry, and drop off resumes.



But your resume can make or break your ability to get an interview, so you’ll want to make sure you put the right things on paper. Here are a few resume DOs and DON’Ts to keep in mind while you prepare yours for fitness employers:



1. Tailor your objective. Coming out of FPTI, you’ll be applying for a position as a personal trainer – so say that! If you’re emailing your resume to a specific company, you should tailor it even more to match that company’s current needs so you stand out as a good fit. Here’s an example:


Seeking a job as a personal trainer in a commercial gym setting where I can maximize my interpersonal and technical skills to help a large clientele achieve their fitness goals.

2. Use a few appropriate headings. From an employer’s standpoint, organization is key when it comes to speed reading through a pile of resumes. The following headings work well when applying for fitness positions:

OBJECTIVE (See above.)

CERTIFICATION (If applicable. Include NCCA-accredited organization and certification. See below.)

  • Certified Personal Trainer- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM-CPT)

EDUCATION (Here’s where you talk up FPTI! Note: You don’t need to list every topic or module in our courses, nor should you include the text books. A simple but detailed sentence is best. See below.)

  • FPTI Master Course: 700 hours of intensive study dedicated to the theory and practical application of science to personal training – including anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and client communication skills – with additional training in special populations and modalities, and a 100-hour internship.
  • FPTI Theory and Application Course: 300 hours of intensive study dedicated to the theory and practical application of science to personal training – including anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and client communication skills.

RELEVANT WORK EXPERIENCE (Note relevant.) Make sure you include only jobs and skills that are transferable to personal training. This doesn’t have to include only fitness jobs; just be sure to choose your wording to emphasize how skills from other jobs transfer to the role of the personal trainer.

3. List RELEVANT things FIRST. Yes, organization via headings is important. But don’t feel constricted to a specific order for these headings. If your education at FPTI is more relevant than your work experience (likely the case), put that first. For those of you already working in the field and/or at a company to which you are applying, that fitness work experience may be more relevant in the eyes of the employer. Additionally, some jobs have more transferable skills to personal training than others. For example, while the lifting skills of a construction worker may initially seem most relevant, if you also have communication and service skills from, say, a job as a waiter, you may actually want to put that first.

4. Keep it to one page. Employers are busy and are often sifting through piles of resumes. They don’t have time to read novels. If you need more than one page to make yourself seem qualified, you probably aren’t.

5. Be specific about responsibilities and results. If something you did at a previous job produced a positive, measurable outcome, state both what it is that you did well and what that measurable outcome was.

For example: Conducted 100 complimentary personal training sessions per month that led to 20 new clients and a 10% increase in personal training revenue. 

6. Proofread! Granted, some fitness employers may not notice errors in spelling or grammar on your resume. But your ability to communicate well – both verbally AND in writing – is an essential skill for anyone working with people (e.g., personal trainers). Plus, you never know when the person reading your resume may have been an editor in a past life (yours truly!).




1. List every job you’ve ever had. Again, stick to RELEVANT experience and transferable skills and keep your resume to ONE page. It only annoys and turns off busy employers when they have to read through irrelevant experience.

2. Include salary. Remember that the goal of a resume is to get an interview. Things like salary should be discussed in the interview. Salary may or not be negotiable, and if you include salary requirements in your resume you could lose out on the interview. If you overshoot what the potential employer can offer, he/she may overlook you for an interview because they feel it is a waste of time. You also risk offending him/her, which is never a good way to start a relationship.

3. Lie. Sure, you want to make yourself look good and not hold back on accomplishments so that you get an interview, but lying on your resume will only backfire if you’re asked to elaborate in that interview. Plus, most employers conduct background checks and call references before hiring, so you’re only setting yourself up for failure by being dishonest.


See you next Wednesday!

Filed under: employment, tips for trainers

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