As a massage therapist, you are a wellness expert responsible for easing pain and helping your clients feel their best. Now, with a job-winning massage therapist resume, it's time to show employers what you can do for their business.
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This writing guide, backed by adaptable sentences from a massage therapist resume example, will cover these topics:
- The role and job outlook for massage therapists
- How to write a massage therapist resume that:
- gives recruiters a sense of your professional style and philosophy
- puts your highest-level skills in the forefront
- is customized to each job application and beats the applicant tracking systems filter
- The best format for structuring your massage therapist resume
- Optimizing the impact of each resume section: header, summary, employment history, education and skills
- Make a great first visual impression with an attractive, reader-friendly resume layout and design
What does a massage therapist do?
Massage therapists apply touch and pressure to various muscles and body areas in order to relieve pain, soothe tenderness, relieve stress, relax clients or heal injuries. Some massage therapists use hot stones or other aromatherapy either alone or in conjunction with their massage methods. There are also many different types of massage including:
- Trigger point
Massage therapists may work at clinics, spas, doctor’s offices, hotels, or fitness centers. Some also work for themselves or in a group with other healing practitioners. Check out these other resume examples below to get more inspiration.
There are more than 20 types of massage, each with its own benefits.
You may be trained in one or more massage techniques and be targeting one type of setting in which to perform therapeutic massages. Each environment will have slightly different job requirements and offer unique work experiences. That means, you want your resume to show you will fit into each setting.
Understanding the job market
Lucky for you, more and more people are recognizing the benefits of seeing a licensed massage therapist. Despite the challenges to accessibility posed by COVID pandemic measures, massage therapy jobs are plentiful and will continue to be so.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for massage therapists is expected to increase by 32% between 2020 and 2030. That growth rate is much faster than the average for all occupations.
What is driving the demand for massage therapy jobs? There are many factors, but the simple answer is that more people are getting massages and each person is getting more massages as this treatment becomes a part of people’s wellness routines. In 2017, each client got an average of 3.8 massages a year. In 2018, that number was up to 4.5 per individual, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) reported.
The healthcare industry is helping to fuel the growth as well. Many physical therapists refer their clients for bodywork with a massage therapist to complement their physical therapy. In addition, 70 percent of people the association surveyed said they believed massage should be considered a medical treatment.
How to write a massage therapist resume
Your massage therapist resume should fit on a single page and include all of these elements:
- Employment history section
- Education section
- Skills section
Thought and care should go into an eye-pleasing header design that clearly identifies who your resume belongs to, your occupation and contact information. For tips, see the guide chapter on resume layout and design.
Before elaborating on how to write the summary, employment history, education and skills sections, one at a time, here is some general advice for ensuring your massage therapist resume hits the mark.
Pick your place
Where you want to work is an important factor when you tailor your resume. According to the AMTA, here are the top locations in which people get professional massages:
- The massage therapist’s personal studio
- A spa
- A hotel, cruise, or resort
- In the client’s home or friend’s home
- A massage therapy franchise or chain
- A chiropractor’s office
- A physical therapist’s office
Other sample locations include a beauty salon, workplace, health club, or physician’s office.
As a massage therapist, you may work for yourself, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on your resume. New clients will want to know your background and qualifications.
Not all massage therapist jobs are alike, even within a single industry. Hiring managers will be looking for evidence that you understand their environment and the modalities used therein. You need to do some research on each prospective employer so you can target your resume to their clients’ needs. The easiest way to do this is to look at their website to see what types of massage treatments they offer. That is not to say that you must limit your job search to only locations that offer modalities that you are expert in. Perhaps the hiring manager is looking for someone who can add a new technique to offer clients, but do try to match your skillset to the ones in the job listing.
Understanding Applicant Tracking Systems
Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are algorithms built into many of today's online applications platforms. These programs scan your resume for keywords and rank them against the other candidates. Only the top resumes make it to the hiring manager's desk.
To beat the ATS and make sure you have a fair chance at landing an interview, we recommend:
- Understanding industry hiring practices and the most sought-after techniques for massage therapists
- Reading the job description closely and identifying the most important qualities and qualifications
- Including the employer's keywords throughout your resume, especially in the summary and skills sections
Keywords are words that are repeated multiple times or otherwise emphasized on the job description. Make sure to use the employer's exact spelling when personalizing your resume with keywords.
We advocate customizing your resume for two key reasons:
- To demonstrate that you are applying for that job and not any massage therapy job
- To help you get past the ATS hurdle.
Use keywords and phrases organically if they fit into your job descriptions.
Force them in an unnatural way or exaggerate your credentials.
Choosing the best resume format for massage therapy
Many massage therapists will find that the most commonly used chronological resume format is ideal for highlighting their background and qualifications. It provides the most straightforward overview of your accomplishments in the employment history section.
But if the position you’re pursuing would be a radical departure, or your job background has not followed a linear path of employee positions, you might want to consider another resume format. If you have been self-employed or held various contract positions, rather than working for one organization at a time, you may want to consider a functional resume focusing on specific skills or niche clientele. In other instances, a hybrid (combination) resume format that includes chronological and functional segments might work best.
Resume summary example: strength and style
The first section of your massage therapist resume — the summary — is the place to show off who you are and what you bring to the (massage) table. Besides the direct physical contact that massage therapists have with their clients, there's the slightly emotional aspect of their interactions. So personality counts in your resume!
In fact, the summary section (sometimes called profile or personal statement) tends to be your only opportunity to add personality to what will otherwise follow a strict bullet-list format. Here, in top spot, you have three to five sentences to show off your professional achievements and style.
Here are some sample questions to ask yourself:
- What are my favorite massage techniques?
- Do I have a specialty that distinguishes me from other therapists?
- How would my clients describe my professional personality?
- If I had to point to one career highlight, what would it be?
- What is my massage or general wellness philosophy?
Use your answers to these questions to craft a stellar resume summary. Below is a massage therapist resume example summary you can customize.
Trained and experienced Massage Therapist with a proven track record of helping clients to achieve peace and physical contentment through effective massage techniques. Educated in various massage styles and techniques, and committed to remaining up-to-date with the latest industry advancements.
Employment history sample: your past and present
The employment history section of your massage therapist resume provides a chance to draw from your years of massage therapy experience in telling the story of how you got where you are now.
Massage therapist training may have been your first career step or a decision you made later on. You may be performing therapeutic massages in combination with another wellness specialty, such as yoga instructor or acupuncture. In any case, your job in this resume section is to demonstrate through the bulleted job descriptions what you will bring to the position you are seeking.
One method is to make a list of all the accomplishments and successes you have had in your work experience, even if they are not specific to massage. Then, highlight the ones that illustrate the requirements for this specific massage therapist job.
Show how you have learned and grown in your career, especially if you are looking for a step up as a lead massage therapist or manager. Do that by listing progressively more responsibility and expertise as your career advances.
Try building your bullet items using the STAR method:
- Explain the situation or problem
- Highlight the task you had to accomplish
- Tell what action you took
- Describe your results (using details and data when possible).
Always examine the job listing to make sure you are highlighting the skills your prospective employer finds important.
Here’s an example of how you can highlight your achievements in the employment history section of your resume:
Massage Therapist, East Side Wellness, New York
August 2018 - May 2020
- Evaluated the needs and medical histories of clients prior to performing massage on them.
- Obtained feedback from participants and reacted accordingly.
- Utilized effective communication skills to provide the best client experience possible.
- Fostered a peaceful and quiet atmosphere, adding to the satisfaction of clients.
- Maintained a clean and neat environment at all times.
- Remained up-to-date on the latest massage techniques and styles.
Massage Therapist, Finger Lakes School of Massage, New York
August 2017 - July 2018
- Conducted appropriate health evaluations prior to massage sessions.
- Observed patient reactions to massage and modified as necessary.
- Explained procedures and gathered relevant information prior to each session.
- Obtained feedback from participants and reacted accordingly.
- Implemented effective and appropriate massage techniques for pleasure and stress reduction.
Massage therapist resume education example: a strong start
The education section of your resume is a straightforward listing of your academic and training history as a massage therapist.
Since massage therapists must be licensed, it is important to list that information too. Depending on the state in which you live, requirements to earn your license will be different, so make sure to research the rules in the state where you plan to work. Because massage therapists often train in different modalities of massage, you should list all the training you have, not just the program you completed to earn your license.
Keep up on the latest trends even if it means taking a class or two. According to CN Traveler, sound massage is quickly growing in popularity.
If you have earned any honors or distinctions in your career, note those on the education listing of your massage therapist resume as well. If you hold a degree higher than a bachelor's degree, you may leave out your high school.
Consider moving this section up above the employment history section if you have just completed your certification and don’t have much professional experience beyond the training period.
Below is the education section from a massage therapist resume example.
Therapeutic Massage, Finger Lakes School of Massage, New York
June 2016 - June 2017
High School Diploma, St. Catherine's High School, New York
September 2013 - May 2017
CV skills example: the right touch
The skills section of a massage therapist CV is extremely important. This is where you can create a bullet-point list of your most impressive or advanced techniques — ones that likely go beyond the massage table.
Being a massage therapist means more than simply understanding how to give a hot stone massage. You are a beauty and wellness practitioner who must perform proper health evaluations to determine the appropriate course of action for each client. Your communication skills must be excellent because you need to understand client needs, desires, and preferences, before and throughout the massage sessions. You must also be a keen observer so you can gauge how your client is reacting throughout the massage session and modify techniques accordingly.
If pandemic circumstances persist, consider adding your knowledge about safety, personal protective equipment (PPE), and the measures you take to sanitize your workspace. Do so in your massage therapist cover letter as well as in your resume. Almost all states have now made some provision for massage therapists to continue their work, according to the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals organization.
Your skills section allows recruiters to easily see not just what you can do, but also the attributes that you believe are the most important for massage services. If space allows, list at least five, and more if possible. Massage therapists need many soft skills (interpersonal and organizational). In this career, your ability to empathize with others, understand their needs, and communicate both with clients and other healthcare professionals is very important. Make sure you balance your skills section by including these attributes as well as the knowledge of different massage techniques.
If you have any related skills that distinguish you from other candidates, choose those over more common skills. For example, certification in first aid or CPR may be valuable if you work in a medical facility. Remember to customize your job application (both cover letter and resume) for each position you are targeting. The skills list should always include those specified in the posted job description.
Check out a massage therapist resume sample for the skills section below.
- Therapeutic Massage
- Thai Massage
- Listening Skills
- Advanced Communication Skills
Resume layout, design and formatting: style and structure
For a massage therapist resume, you'll want to strike the right balance of style and structure in your resume template. Although you definitely want to catch the eye of recruiters or prospective clients, your resume layout and design should still allow them to easily find all the data they are looking for. That means making sure your contact information stands out in the resume header, along with the company names of your previous employers and your job titles.
To reflect the interpersonal skills that massage therapists need, and a bit of creativity, feel free to add a bit of color, without overdoing it. Always keep in mind that readability is your first goal. You may be in a career where you consider adding a self-portrait to the header design. After all, prospective clients and hiring managers may want to see what what the smiling personal face behind the professional.
- Be consistent with your columns and spacing
- Leave plenty of white space by one-inch margins if possible
- Make sure your contact information and job titles stand out
- Use more than two fonts on your resume
- Type in a font size smaller than 10 point
- Add large blocks of type
Check our Resume.io’s easy-to-use builder tool, and our collection of expert-designed resume templates. This will save you time and help you avoid any formatting errors. You are sure to find a field-tested design that's perfect for the massage therapist job you are seeking in one of four sample categories: creative, professional, modern and simple.
Key takeaways for a massage therapist resume
- Your resume is a reflection on your professional personality, so it needs to look clean and neat.
- Look at each job application individually and make sure you are targeting the specific work environment by customizing your resume and cover letter.
- Use your profile to describe your professional philosophy and personality in addition to highlighting your biggest achievements. This will also help you rank higher on an ATS algorithm.
- Show a progression of expertise and responsibility in your employment history.
- Choose a balance of skills and try to match them to the job listing.
- Our online resume builder and recruiter-tested templates can help you create an impressive, expertly-designed and field-tested resume!