How to write a personal trainer CV


Personal trainer on weights lifting training with client

With the fitness industry in the UK booming, now is the perfect time to tidy up your personal trainer CV and start looking for the next stage in your career. Whether you’re new to personal training or you’ve been in the industry for a while, having the right CV is vital for taking those next steps.

Of course, the design of a CV isn’t something set in stone. There are countless guides online that will show you what a good CV looks like, and there are even many personal trainer CV examples available to check out. Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that these examples show you what your CV should look like but lack reasons. The result is that every personal trainer’s CV looks the same.

So if you want a personal trainer CV that stands out and lands you that new job, here’s what you need to include, what you need to think about and the mistakes you should avoid.

Initial Tips for Your Personal Trainer CV

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s start with some of the main points that are worth remembering as you start designing your CV. Never forget that your personal trainer CV is the key to getting a job interview, so it’s an extremely important document to get right. Most recruiters only glance at a pile of CVs, so if yours doesn’t stand out, then your chances of landing that new job will be much lower.

Length of Your CV

Ideally, your CV should be one page long. This can be difficult to get right, especially if you have a lot of experience and qualifications. Now, you can stretch to two pages if you absolutely need to but never go beyond that. Recruiters don’t want to spend too much time reading a lengthy CV if they still have a pile to work through!

Stick to Simplicity

If you cram lots of images, logos or photos into your CV, then you’ll end up with too much on the page, and recruiters will get distracted. You don’t need any imagery on your personal trainer CV, and that includes your photo. Never put a photo of yourself on your CV it’s always unnecessary, distracting and more likely to lose you an interview than earn you one.

The Perfect Personal Trainer CV

Despite the many weak personal trainer CV examples available online, designing the perfect CV for a personal trainer isn’t the challenge you might expect. Although there are many different kinds of jobs you can get in a gym, the basics of CV creation apply just as much to personal trainers as they do for accountants or retail workers. The key is to make sure that you present the right information in the right way.

Contact Information

Sitting right at the top of your CV should be your contact details. However, it’s worth noting that far too many people make a basic mistake here and add information that’s not necessary. So don’t add your marital details or waste space with your date of birth. You don’t even need to add your home address (which takes up a lot of space). All you need in the contact details section of your CV is:

  • Your name
  • Contact phone number
  • Email address (use a professional one, and not the one you set up 20 years ago on Yahoo)
  • A link to your LinkedIn page (this is very useful if you have an active account with endorsements from your clients).

Anything more than these basics is a waste of CV real estate. Keep your contact details short and to the point.

Your Personal Profile

This is your first chance to shine, so think about what you want to include in your profile. It’s one of the most important parts of your personal trainer CV, so you need to get it right. Use your profile to show off your skills and experience, using examples of where you’ve put those skills into practice. 

The goal in this section is to sell yourself to recruiters, so make sure your opening sentences grab their attention. If you’re struggling to think about what to include in your personal profile, consider your strengths, ability to work in a team and work ethic.

Keep this section to a paragraph long and stay as concise as possible. Be enthusiastic and passionate about your skills, personality and goals.

Work Experience

This is going to be the biggest section of your personal trainer CV. There’s likely to be a lot of information here, so you’re going to have to focus on the presentation. Organisation is vital if you don’t want to make your work experience section too dense. Ensure that you: 

  • List work history in chronological order
  • Include the key information, such as starting and ending dates, job title, the names of the companies you’ve worked for and your accomplishments in each role
  • Include unpaid and voluntary work that’s relevant to your job applications
  • Explain any gaps in your personal trainer CV.

Of course, if you’re new to being a personal trainer, your relevant work history may be limited. In those cases, it’s best to include any previous work experience, including unpaid work and volunteering, highlighting transferable skills that relate to being a personal trainer.

Education/Qualifications

Use the same layout for this section as you did for work experience. It’s as important as work experience, especially if you’re applying for jobs as a personal trainer. Due to the nature of being a personal trainer, you need to ensure that you have all of the relevant qualifications listed that show you’ve completed accredited courses. Ensure you’re up to date on the qualifications you need to work in a gym.

One thing to remember here is that you should tailor your CV to each job you apply for. It’s rare that two different vacancies require the same information, so always check what the recruiters want to see. 

If they expect to see your GCSEs on your CV, include those. If those aren’t listed as requirements by the company you’re applying for, leave them out. 

Like your work history, add your qualifications and education in chronological order, with the latest at the top of the list. So if you’ve just earned your Spin Instructor qualification, put that at the top of this section. Include all of the key information about the courses you have undertaken and where you studied. Make sure that you stay concise and ensure that every piece of information you provide is relevant to the role you want to apply for.

Extra Information

This section isn’t a firm requirement of a personal trainer CV, but it can be a useful addition if you’re struggling with empty space on the page. The additional information section is a final chance for you to express yourself. List your achievements, your hobbies and your interests. Remember that you’re applying for a personal trainer position, so tailor those listed interests and achievements to health and fitness subjects.

Adding References

This is no longer as common as it used to be, but you can add some references if you feel it’s needed or if an advertised position requests it. You can just add a line that says ‘references are available on request’ if you feel it’s necessary.

If you do decide to add references to your CV, make sure that you are selective about who you choose. Don’t ask your mum or your housemate to act as a reference! You want references who know you in a work or professional environment. That’s what recruiters want to know about, so always use professional references.

The Core Strengths of a Personal Trainer CV

Throughout your CV, you need to ensure that you’re highlighting the core skills of being a personal trainer. Tailor these to match every job that you apply for. While different roles will require different strengths, some basics are likely to be required. 

  • Fitness trends: Show that you’re up to date on the latest trends in the health and fitness industry.
  • Equipment skills: You need to highlight the fact that you know how to use gym equipment and that you’ve been trained to help clients use it correctly.
  • First aid: You’re going to struggle to find work as a personal trainer if you don’t have a first-aid certificate.
  • Planning: Highlight that you can design exercise programmes and meal plans for clients with an awareness of nutrition.

There are likely to be core skills on a job vacancy that aren’t listed here. Always check every advertisement for a job you’re applying for, and adjust your CV accordingly. 

Final Tips for the Perfect Personal Trainer CV

You should now have some idea of how to make an appealing and informative personal trainer CV. Before you fire up the printer or start emailing out your application forms, read these tips that could help your CV stand out even more.

Think Visually

You want your CV to look professional. Use a professional-looking font, and stay consistent with your font sizes. Stick to font size 11 or 12, with your headers slightly larger than that. Make sure that those headers all look the same and are the same size as each other.

Think of the Robots

Many companies now use some form of automation when it comes to CVs. When they receive thousands of applications for a single vacancy, it makes sense that they want to save time. Applicant Tracking Systems scan through CVs, looking for words that are included in the advertisement for the vacancy. Use some of the keywords used in the advert. 

So if a job says that you must be ‘willing to work with a flexible schedule’, include that information on your CV. 

Stay Succinct

The biggest mistake made with a CV is cramming too much onto the page. Try to keep large sections as brief as possible while still delivering the relevant information. If you tailor your CV to every role you apply for, you can cut out and add relevant information as needed.

Always Proofread

If you make a spelling mistake on your personal trainer CV, you won’t look very professional. Use writing tools like Grammarly or Hemingway to check your spelling and grammar. You can give your CV to friends and family to proofread and get feedback. Alternatively, read your CV out loud, as this can make it easier to spot mistakes.

Create Your Personal Trainer CV Today

When created in the right way, your CV should provide an employer with the best first impression possible. Stick to the point, and show off your skills, personality and experience. Always make sure that you add your qualifications and mention that those qualifications are accredited by CIMSPA and other bodies. 

As part of your personal fitness course, The Fitness Group also provides help when it comes to the business side of being a personal trainer. If you’d like to find out more, want to take your first steps to become a personal trainer, or have any questions about your future career as a fully-qualified personal trainer, contact the team at The Fitness Group today.

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