1. Resume Examples
  2. Personal Trainer
Written by Susan ShorSusan Shor

Personal Trainer resume example & writing guide

Are you a fitness guru? Flex your figurative muscles by writing a personal trainer resume to wow potential employers. Read our guide now.
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Personal Trainer resume example & writing guide
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Writing a personal trainer resume requires a bit of heavy lifting. You need to make the most of your kinesthetic knowledge and motivational skills to create a professional resume that gets hiring managers’ heart rate up! 

You’ve got the skills. We’ve got the job-hunting know-how and personal trainer resume samples to go with it. Our free resume examples and this guide will teach you how to:

  • Wow recruiters with a clean, creative design
  • Get past Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and into the hands of a person
  • Elevate your employment history beyond the routine
  • Write a profile that packs a punch.

What does a personal trainer do?

Personal trainers help people get into tip-top shape. You will work with clients on customized training regimes to help them reach their fitness goals. As such, you will need to be a master of HIIT, lifting, cardio, and stretching, among other things. People who seek out personal training fall into four broad categories:

  • Athletes or competitors: These clients are serious about being in great athletic shape, but they may push themselves beyond their limits, so be cautious.
  • The body conscious: They are motivated by the desire to look great and they want you to focus on the exercises that will get them there.
  • Fitness motivated: This type may comprise the bulk of your clients. They need a well-rounded fitness routine and may begin to lean on your relationship for more than just an exercise routine.
  • Novices: You know that bump you get after the holidays and New Year’s resolutions? They are the novices. They mean well, but may not stick to their fitness goals. These are the on-again, off-again people in your client base.

Each of these would describe a great personal trainer differently, so to offer the broadest appeal, you have to be able to adjust your style accordingly – that’s part of the personal in personal trainer. In your work as a personal trainer, you will be assessing fitness and creating programs for each client based on their goals. You may use many different types of exercise. You will also be teaching your clients the proper form for performing exercises and encouraging them to work their hardest to achieve their fitness goals. 

Your responsibilities will vary depending not just on the environment, but on the individual employer’s job description. In some settings, you may also be expected to be an expert in Microsoft Word and Excel for writing reports and keeping data, but in others, you may hand off that task.

Your personal trainer resume should reflect how you will accomplish these varied tasks.

Statistical insight

Almost half of New Year’s resolutions involve the desire to lose weight, but gym attendance will fall after the first couple of months of the year as resolutions fail. In fact, only 20% of resolutions make it past February, according to The Conversation.

Personal Trainer Job Market and Outlook

You’re in the right place at the right time. Demand for your skills is growing as the emphasis on overall wellness increases. Add that to the desire for personalized attention, and you are in a great position to secure your next job.

As a personal trainer, you have the option of working for yourself or for a larger employer. You may work in a community fitness center, private gym, health club, or yoga or Pilates studio. Some trainers work in conjunction with physical therapists to aid clients with chronic or acute injuries.

These days, you may simply stream your classes or be asked to do so by your employer.

You may work in an apartment complex that has a gym, for a corporation that wants to offer wellness services to its employees, in your clients’ homes, or in a studio of your own or with other trainers. Resorts and cruise ships also offer training to their customers. 

The choice is yours, especially in this market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for personal trainers is growing by leaps and bounds. By 2029 there will be 15% more jobs than in 2019; that growth is much faster than the average career.

With the reduction in other activities during COVID-19 times, people are looking for ways to occupy their time. Another reason is the rise in obesity in America and the desire to lose weight. Many people find fitness instructors an important part of their weight loss routine, especially because as a personal trainer, you can prescribe a healthy exercise regimen that is much less likely to cause injury or excessive fatigue. Afterall, you want your clients to come back!

Statistical insight

The obesity rate in the United States in 2020 is 42.4%, the highest it's ever been, according to a report from the Trust for America’s Health.

You also have a choice of the type of personal training you want to conduct. If you like working with a variety of client types, you may want to stick with a larger setting such as a gym or apartment complex, but specialized “boutique” gyms such as OrangeTheory and other bootcamp programs on the upswing, too. These gyms offer specific programs and classes that you will have to follow.

Your responsibilities will vary depending not just on the environment, but on the individual employer’s job description. In some settings, you may also be expected to be an expert in Microsoft Word and Excel for writing reports and keeping data, but in others, you may hand off that task. 

No matter what environment or type of personal training you decide to target, even if you want to work for yourself, a professional resume will help get you there.

We’re ready to look at this important document. Let’s start with your profile.

How to write a personal trainer resume

The fundamental part of writing a personal trainer resume is understanding the sections of your resume and how to maximize their effectiveness.  The basic structure of a resume for a personal trainer is as follows:

  • The header (design element)
  • The personal trainer summary
  • The employment history section
  • The skills section
  • The education section
  • References (optional)

We will go into detail on how to write personal trainer resume sections further in this guide, but for now - simply make sure you follow this time-tested structure (which is built in to our resume examples). 

Your job is to convince hiring managers that you are the right person for the job. Not only is your knowledge of fitness and physiology impeccable, but you have people skills and innovative ideas to keep your clients from getting exercise fatigue. Using strong descriptive language, without crossing the line into bragging territory will make your personal trainer resume a convincing one. 

For more writing inspiration, you can take a look at our related sport and fitness resume examples:

Choosing the best CV format for a personal trainer

When considering the best CV format for a personal trainer, people usually mean one of two things:

  • Which type of resume (reverse chronological, functional, hybrid) they're going to use
  • What type of layout and formatting rules to follow

When it comes to personal trainer resumes, both the functional and reverse chronological resume formats may be applicable. In fact, it's one of the few professions where it's entirely dependent on your skills and career history. The reverse chronological format places the most emphasis on your employment history section, showcasing the most impressive and/or recent jobs first and the least important or oldest - last. 

This resume format is good for trainers that have worked mostly at fitness companies, gyms and similar organizations. It's also especially good if you have some prestigious or well-known employers on that list. This resume is format makes the work experience section quite large, using numerous bullet points to showcase achievements at your past jobs.

If, on the other hand, you are a personal trainer that worked mostly with individual clients outside of gyms, or if you're a trainer with highly sought after (or specialized) skills - you might want to check out the functional resume format. 

This resume format moves the skills section up in priority and makes it larger, ensuring that the hiring manager sees your important professional abilities first and pays more attention to them. At the end of the day, only you can determine which resume format is best for you. It's fair to say, however, that most candidates go with reverse chronological (it's also the default format in our resume examples).

We'll cover the question of the layout and formatting (fonts, space, design etc.) at the end of this resume example guide. 

Personal trainer summary: What type of trainer are you? 

What’s your style? That’s a big part of the question you will answer in your resume profile, also known as a summary statement. Personality plays a big role in your career, so now, when you are looking for a personal trainer job, it is a great time to assess your style and make it clear in your profile. This is the only place where you will have the leeway to get a little creative.

First, which style of fitness trainer fits you best:

  • Drill sergeant: Are you a hard-driver who always wants to get one more rep out of your clients?
  • Best friend: Are you chatty and know everything about your clients’ personal lives?
  • Mr./Ms. Muscle: Is your sole focus on building muscle mass?
  • Perky cheerleader: Rah, rah! Are you a smiling motivator who uses gentle encouragement?
  • Cardio rules: Do you literally run your clients ragged focusing mostly on aerobic health?
  • No plateau: Are you always switching it up so your clients don’t plateau?

You are probably a combination of more than one of these. Use strong action words and descriptions to give hiring managers a sense of your professional personality. 

Of course, your profile is more than just a paragraph on your style. You need to convince recruiters or clients that you’re right for the job. Within these 100 or so words, you also have to show off your biggest achievements.

Did you help a client accomplish their fitness goal? Did you increase business at your current job? What work experience best shows off what you bring to the mat? Do you have an area of expertise? Back up your assertions with details and data.

There’s another reason you should personalize your resume and it’s the least personal reason imaginable: algorithms. Applicant Tracking Systems use algorithms to rank your resume against other candidates, so no matter how great your prose is, if you don’t get past this software, you won’t be seen by a hiring manager.

There are hundreds of different ATS programs and each company may use a different one, so there’s no definitive guide to beating them, but if you take these steps, you will greatly improve your chances of being seen by a recruiter.

  1. Analyze the job listing and compare it to your resume.
  2. Make sure you use the exact wording that you find in the listing
  3. Add any skills you have that are mentioned
  4. Use standard section headings.

Don’t leave any relevant information for your cover letter (see our templates and examples here). The ATS may not scan it at all. Instead, use your cover letter to complement your resume and add more personality to your candidacy.


Use abbreviations and spell out words just in case the ATS only scans for one or the other.


Leave keywords and phrases for your cover letter. Get them into your resume.

Check out the personal trainer resume example text below to give you an idea of how your profile should read.

Adaptable summary resume sample

Energetic and passionate Fitness Instructor and Trainer with several years of experience teaching group fitness and one on one classes. Highly trained and experienced in the areas of Yoga, Pilates, Strength Training, Flexibility Training, and Aerobics. I have a passion for designing fitness and nutrition programs that maximize results and help clients develop a true sense of well-being. 


Employment history section: The stairclimber of your career

You have already pulled yourself up from your beginnings as a personal trainer. This is the place to show how your fitness level as a valued employee has grown throughout your career. Think of your employment history section as you think about your client’s fitness level: You start out with a few reps on a low weight and as you gain strength (or skills), you add reps and weight. You want to show that same progression throughout your years of experience.

Expert tip

There’s no need to repeat the same tasks when describing multiple jobs. Save room for your increased knowledge and accomplishments.

When you create this section, you may want to start with your first job because you may find it easier to start at the beginning. Think about the skills you had and the ones you developed as you gained experience. Do the same for each new job.

Use bullet points, not paragraphs. Why? Because this resume format works. It helps to highlight each achievement and to create white space.

Your goal is to showcase your experience providing individualized and group instruction to clients seeking fitness guidance. You also want to demonstrate your ability to connect with clients and provide motivating and beneficial instruction and training services. Consider using examples where you worked with clients who had different physical needs, desires, and goals. Personal Trainers should be experienced in creating and implementing powerful fitness programs for everyone from those who simply want to reduce their body fat to high-level athletes.

Check each description to make sure you’ve used a strong action word and as much detail as possible.

Read the personal trainer resume sample text below to get you started on this section.

Adaptable employment history resume example

Fitness Instructor at Gym 27, Los Angeles`

August 2015 - September 2019

  • Designed thoughtful and carefully planned classes to address the fitness levels and skills of class participants.
  • Prepared clean and welcoming class environments, conducive to a healthy and happy experience.
  • Guided participants in safe exercise practices, keeping in mind the physical limitations of specific participants.
  • Administered fitness assessments, intended to keep participants in tune with the needs of their bodies.
  • Counseled participants on proper nutrition and exercise habits.


Fitness Instructor at Your True Self, Los Angeles
August 2010 - June 2017

  • Proud owner of a fitness organization with records of serving more than 200 happy clients.
  • Developed and implemented all fitness and nutrition programs for clients, while working one on one to help maximize the results.
  • Conducted weekly assessments of a client's advancements and altered following sessions as needed.
  • Worked tirelessly in helping clients to achieve their health and fitness goals, while giving them the necessary knowledge and tools to maintain their goals for a lifetime.

Resume skills example: Knowledge, motivation, people skills

As a personal trainer, you need a deep knowledge not just of exercise programs, but of physiology and motivational techniques. You also have to be intuitive about what will get your clients to keep coming back and how hard to press them toward their personal fitness goals.

In your skills section, you must choose the 5-10 attributes that you believe will most impress  recruiters. Think about all the skills you use on the job. You need hard skills such as knowledge of human anatomy, basic nutrition, the fundamental principles of exercise science, first aid, CPR, and AED.

Expert tip

Brainstorm a list of every skill you use in your job including ones you don’t see as specific to personal training. Each prospective employer has a slightly different idea of what makes a great employee and you want to be prepared to target each job with skills from your list.

Personal Trainers are adept in thoroughly screening and assessing the health and physical condition of clients, before designing personalized plans to help them achieve their fitness goals. In addition to those hard skills, you are in a customer service business, so your communication, motivational, and personality traits are also very important. As you build your skills section, make sure you include a mix of these two types of attributes.

Look below to see resume sample text for a skills section.

Adaptable skills section resume example
  • Independently Motivated
  • Strong Interpersonal Skills
  • CPR and First Aid Certified
  • Excellent Planner

Resume education sample: A push up to the next level

Personal trainers need a high school diploma and then some specialized training. To become a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) you need to be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillation (AED). You may also choose to get certified through the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

It is helpful to have at least an associate’s degree in a sports medicine, kinesthesiology, or nutrition.

List all your degrees and certifications here. Any honors or distinctions should be noted here as well. 

Use this resume example text to help you format your education section.

Adaptable education resume example

Bachelor of Communications, California State University, Los Angeles
August 2007 - May 2011


High School Diploma, Norwalk High School, Norwalk
September 2003 - May 2007


Resume layout and design: The finishing touches

You’ve got the basics of your resume down and it’s time for your cool down. Don’t skimp on your layout or formatting, however, because the first impression recruiters will get of you is the way your resume looks. What image do you want to convey? Neat, professional and organized, right?

Recruiters will be looking for several pieces of data to start:

  • Your contact information (including your LinkedIn profile if it is up-to-date)
  • Your current job and title
  • Your previous job and title.

Make sure these items stand out. Use standard headings so recruiters don’t have to guess what each section is and leave plenty of white space to keep it legible. You may want to consider getting a little creative, since personality is a big selling point in your work, but don’t overdo it. Avoid too much color and don’t use graphics.

Expert tip

Proofread! Then have someone else proofread. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity because of a typo or awkward formatting.

Check out our tem for guidance. We offer four different categories: Modern, Simple, Professional and Creative for you to choose from.

Key Takeaways

  1. Show off the personality that attracts clients with a great profile.
  2. Describe your career progression within your employment history section.
  3. Highlight your highest-level abilities in your skills section.
  4. Target each job separately by customizing your resume.
  5. Keep your design neat and error-free.
  6. Use our recruiter-approved resume examples to save time and create a resume quickly!
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