There has never been a better time to forge a career in the fitness industry.
In the UK alone, the gym industry is worth just under £5 billion, with one in every seven members of the public currently a member of a gym or health and fitness facility.
So, how would a newly qualified fitness instructor, personal trainer, or gym trainer go about entering such an exciting and flourishing industry?
It is no secret that the best way to start your fitness career after you have attained your qualifications is to secure a job in a gym or fitness facility. Being a full-time employee of a gym comes with some benefits, after all.
Primarily, you are guaranteed a set wage. Having a guaranteed income could be the difference between a long and successful career, or crashing out before your adventure has even begun. A full-time role in a gym facility also gives you something perhaps even more valuable than a steady income: experience.
There’s no way people are going to invest in you as a personal trainer if you have no proven track record. You need a history of helping clients achieve their fitness goals.
Working full time, in a busy gym setting with guaranteed client lists isn’t only a good idea, it’s essential for you to develop as a fitness professional. It allows you to hone your skills and master your craft.
So, we’ve established that securing a paid position in a gym or health and fitness facility is crucial to getting your career off the ground. But how precisely do you secure a job in the first place?
In this industry, which is experiencing rapid growth, you need to ensure that your application is perfect if you are to stand any chance of rising above the pack. A crucial element of this application process is writing a cover letter.
Unfortunately for many, the pressure of writing the perfect cover letter inhibits their ability to secure their dream position. As such, we’ve assembled the specific tips, skills, and secrets that you need to keep in mind to succeed in obtaining employment in the fitness industry.
1. Place Emphasis on Your Diversified Skill-set
As a fitness instructor or personal trainer, you never inhabit just one role.
You are equal parts an entrepreneur, salesman, pastoral mentor, fitness expert, and coach, to name but a few. As such, you have to demonstrate that you are prepared to fulfill all of the roles required of you.
The only way to do this is to highlight your range of skills and to give examples of where you have used the skills in your work experience thus far. For fitness careers, evidence of both sales and client retention is an absolute must if you want to catch your recruiter’s attention.
An easy way of ensuring you fill your application with enough details is to try the PEE method about personal trainer cover letters.
PEE stands for Point, Evidence, Explain. Or in other words, outline one of your skills (point), give evidence of where this has been the case in your work experience using facts and figures (evidence) and provide specific reasons as to why this qualifies you for the offered role (explain).
2. Every Gym Has a Manager, So You Should Strive to Find Out Who They Are
This is a piece of advice found on most cover letter tutorials: that you should always address your covering letter to the recruiter or manager by name.
However, it is especially true of the fitness industry, and here’s why: While the industry is vast and always expanding, you will find that at a local level, it is the same influencers who tend to control most employment opportunities.
By addressing your covering letter by name, you are instantly making a connection. You show that you have piecemeal knowledge of the sector in your area. But you should be prepared to go further than this.
The fitness industry is surprisingly small. Be ready to call or even visit the gym you are applying to before sending in your application.
Introducing yourself in person does two things.
First, it makes a good impression. You are telling the manager that you have a genuine enthusiasm to work in their venue.
Second, you are giving the manager another aspect with which to judge you as a candidate.
If you make a good impression, you automatically place yourself above the other candidates.
You can then reference your visit in your covering letter. Even something as subtle as “it was a pleasure to meet you, I hope to hear from you soon.” These kinds of messages reinforce the manager’s image of you in their head.
3. Include Industry Research in Your Cover Letter
This is related to the above point. The fitness industry is a close-knit sphere. The more you can find out about the unique selling points, payment structures, strengths and weaknesses of your prospective employer, the more you can propose yourself as the candidate to offer something more.
Remember, fitness professionals need to be entrepreneurial to be successful. They need to sniff out opportunities in whatever role they inhabit.
If you know where the gym you are applying to is already a productive business, then identify which skills you bring to make them even stronger.
For example, there’s no point in spending your whole covering letter talking about a proposed boxercise class you could run if the gym you are applying to already has a favorite trainer who runs boxercise classes.
Use your industry research to offer something different to make yourself stand out.
4. Be Honest About Your Ambition
One of the most common mistakes that fitness professionals make in their covering letters is modesty. A little bit of humility is no bad thing, naturally.
But arrogance is never a trait that a recruiter or gym manager wants to handle. However, if there’s one thing you need to be honest about in your covering letter, it is your career ambitions.
Now, this may sound counter-intuitive. If a cover letter is all about highlighting why you’re the best candidate for the role at that particular venue, why would you go into detail about where you want to go in the next ten years. There’s a simple answer to this: successful fitness instructors continuously look to develop and diversify.
A gym manager doesn’t want their training staff to run the same classes, training the same clients forever. It is an unrealistic expectation. Any personal trainer who tried that would not be fulfilling their client’s needs.
Showing ambition is not detrimental! It shows what you will bring to the role, and the dedication you have for your profession.
5. Data is Your Friend: Be Prepared to Get Analytical
Like you can leverage research on a local scale, you can also use data to your advantage. Traditionally, fitness professionals have tended to shy away from using hard data in the day-to-day work. They opt instead to give more holistic overviews of their success rates.
But let’s think about this logically. What sounds better for a prospective employer:
I have obtained excellent client retention rates as a result of my individualized regimens.
I actively enjoy helping my clients achieve their goals. Between May-August 2018, I trained eight clients on a twice-weekly basis. All of them made their goals, with 80% surpassing the programme targets, outlined in initial consultations.
While this is a rudimentary example, you can see how data and evidence of training written in the form of objective, quantitative data, helps to paint a picture of you as a competent, and highly sought after personal trainer or gym instructor.
These are just some aspects of writing a covering letter sure to guarantee you interviews going forwards.
You should also ensure that your application is an accurate reflection of you, professionally and personally. Highlight your skills and qualifications in the best possible light. Make sure to underscore all the ways you are valuable to the gym and the enterprise.