In a time when society is changing rapidly and norms are being redefined seemingly in an instant, we need to revisit how we do things in all aspects of our lives. This has never been more prevalent than in the job market. The hard work of hitting the pavement and getting your face out there, shaking hands and asking for availabilities in person seems to be falling by the wayside. Keep in mind some of the “old practices” are more appreciated today than they ever were, but more on that later, back to my point. Most places have completely shifted to online hiring and this has changed everything. You have fewer chances to get your face and your name in the same room. Believe it or not that disarms you, especially if you are a charming and charismatic individual. Now you must rely on your writing skills to get you in the door. That is why I have prepared this article. I am going to give you my best advice on the preparing a resume. Strap in and enjoy the ride….
There are a few questions you must ask yourself in this process and they are as follows;
What is your goal?
Since you came to this site, I will assume you want to be hired for a position within strength and conditioning. More specifically let’s say it is a position at the collegiate level. If that is the case, then it is very important to state that exact goal upfront. This is done by starting with an “Objective”. Now, there is no confusion of what you aim to accomplish…
What makes you qualified for the position you are asking to be considered for?
It is now your job to convey why you are qualified for the position. You have to think of this whole thing from the employer’s viewpoint. The employer, more than likely, is tasked with the job of sifting through over one hundred resumes. What will make your resume stick out? The very first tip on how to stick out is; make their job easier! They don’t want to go on over one hundred treasure hunts trying to find key points of information. Case in point, your education, certification, etc. needs to be the very first thing on your resume. Employers usually have a matrix. This matrix is basically a list that will have certain minimum requirements for the reviewer to check off. Make it easy for them to put you through to the next round, trust me they will appreciate it.
What specifically makes you qualified?
Now it’s time to display all your hard work. What have you been doing? Many make the mistake of including random odd jobs that they did to survive. An employer hiring a strength coach does not care if you were making smoothies at Smoothie King for a few years. Maybe they like smoothies and in turn will like you, but they have a job to do and that is pick “the most” qualified individual. Be certain that they know that person is you. This is done by including the most relevant information first. Again, they will appreciate this. Appreciation is shown by them moving your resume to the next round.
Now is the time to let them know about everything else. I would still be mindful of relevance when including your accomplishments.
Who will say you do a great job?
Notice how I asked that question? I did not ask, who were your supervisors? It seems like common sense, but if you are not sure that your supervisor will do anything short of gush over you, then don’t use them as a reference. It should go without saying, but I will say it anyway…NEVER put someone down as a reference without first asking them if you may do so. Do yourself a favor; be honest with yourself about your effort while working under the reference in question. If you didn’t bust your butt, then you didn’t EARN the reference. Save yourself and your supervisor the hassle and don’t even ask if that was the case. If it was the case, then re- visit your goals and be sure that it never happens again because extraordinary effort is what all employers are seeking no matter the profession. If you want it, you have to be it!
What is your format?
Whether we like it or not format matters. This is a tough one because there are different strokes for different folks, as they say. Some people prefer old school resumes. There is the plain black and white variety with headings, bullets, and job descriptions. Some would term that variety “old school”. There is also the creative “look at me” variety with all the bells and whistles (logos, color, design). The only advice I have on that regard is don’t go too far in either direction. If you go too “old school”, it may get passed on for a more “eye catching” one. If you get too carried away with the design, they may take that for a smokescreen for lack of relevant experience. You can only guess who will be reviewing your resume, so it is completely by chance on what they will prefer in a resume. At the very least stick to one theme and have a consistent format throughout the document. I think this setup works best in the strength and conditioning field, but that is purely my opinion:
Header (page 1)
- I write “header” for a reason. This way your name will be on both pages. The reviewer could have thought you were great, but lost a piece of your resume to the desk monster. Your name and contact on both pages will give you better odds should one page have survived.
- Name, Credential (left)
- Phone Number, Email, Home Address (right)
- What you want (specific)
- Most recent first, then list with the institution name, dates, and result (degree)
- All certifications relevant to the position you are applying for. Add your certification number. Remember, you want to make their job easier!
- You may add one that you are pursuing to show your intention. Don’t get carried away! Limit it to one.
- Include the most recent first, then list the most relevant experience and the date of completion or a range of time served.
- It is important to add your supervisor names and titles. You never know, the name might peak interest of the reviewer.
- This is your opportunity to include the things that are less specific, but in some way will still demonstrate your ability to do a great job in the position.
References (page 2)
If you are a fairly new coach (0-10 years) you should try your best to get the main content on the resume down to one page. 0-10 is an arbitrary range. The point is; don’t add fluff. It makes the job of deciphering content harder and it is considered disrespectful of the reviewer’s time. As, someone very special to me always says, “You can’t bullsh*t a bullsh*tter”, so don’t try! However, your references can be on page two. One of the main reasons for this is time! Again, make it easy for the reviewer (I can’t make it more clear…can I?). If you give out a book for a resume I will assure you that it will get trashed ”Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
I did say earlier that some of the old school tips and techniques for the job seeking process are appreciated now more than ever. Here are two that I think make the most impact:
- Fill out the online resume, but if you are able, show up and shake a hand. Introduce yourself to the hiring manager and say that you completed the necessary documents online and you just wanted to express your interest and put a face with the name
- Surely, send a thank note or email after any response has be made from the employer. Thank them for their time. A written note trumps everything. Please! Please, spell correctly and avoid major grammatical errors…it matters. Attention to detail shows up everywhere and you are initially being judged by words on a paper, so make sure those words reflect the type of person you are.
I hope I have answered some questions and provided some value to you in some way. Much of what I have presented today I learned through my internship at USF. You expose yourself to the same information I received by signing up for Strength Coach Basic Training .
I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize coaches Ron Mckeefery, Frank Wintrich, Aaron Quarberg, and Randy Popple. They all in some way have influenced my approach to resume writing and just being a coach for that matter. A huge thanks to you all!