Tips on creating a stellar résumé
As a studio that auditions, hires and employs Pilates instructors, Body Harmonics receives countless résumés every year. So we have a bird’s eye view on what works and what doesn’t. Also instructors who have taken one or more of our courses and workshops often ask for advice about how to write a good résumé. Here are some tips to help you craft a résumé that will get you in the door for an audition or interview.
What is a résumé?
A résumé is a snapshot of your skills and experience. It’s the tool that studio owners use to decide whether they want to see you.
A good résumé gets you in the door for an interview and audition. So your résumé has to stand out—both in appearance and content.
What to include in your résumé
The key to a good résumé is to keep it simple. Above all, relate it directly to the job you’re applying for.
Start with your name and contact information. Put these at the top. Without these the studio owner can’t get back to you.
Then only add information that is necessary to get you in the door. Here are some tried-and-true headings and content.
Starting with a thumbnail or summary is a great way to highlight the most relevant parts of your résumé. It makes it easy to scan and helps grab the reader’s attention. Include skills and experience that relate directly to the position you want. Try to match each point in your summary with each point in the job posting.
Use this section to outline your career objectives and goals. Align these as much as possible with the position you’re applying for.
This section draws attention to your direct teaching and movement experience in the field. Separating the information highlights it and makes it easy to find.
If you are new to the field, use a more generic heading, like Work Experience, and include anything relevant, like customer service experience or work in the service industry.
Include the following information about each position you’ve held:
- Short description of what you did (one sentence is best)
List other work or volunteer experience here. Again, try to relate something about each position to the requirements of the job you’re applying for.
Include the date, company, position, and a short description for each position you’ve held.
Separate out any relevant credentials and certifications. Putting them in a separate section highlights them and makes them easy to find.
List college, university, and other post-secondary education and training. Include the following for each entry:
- Program or workshop
If you plan to use the same references all the time you can include the names and contact information. Another option is to write “Available upon request.” This allows you to target the reference to the specific position.
Making your résumé look great
The goal is to make the content of your résumé easy to read and visually appealing. Here are a few guidelines.
Keep it short and sweet (KISS)
Stick to one or two pages at most.
Keep your sentences short and to the point.
Only include information that is relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Use consistent language, writing style and formatting.
Make your résumé visually appealing
Use headings and sub-headings to separate information.
Include white space to highlight the different sections.
Align all text, preferably to the left.
Follow the 3 Cs
Check to make sure your résumé is:
Ensure there are no grammar or spelling errors. Use the grammar and spell checking features of your word processor. Get feedback from a friend or colleague.
Delivering your résumé
Writing your résumé is the main event but there are a few more steps before you’re ready to send it.
Create a PDF of your résumé
Create a PDF of your résumé and send that instead of the original file. Sending a PDF file preserves your formatting so it looks the way you created it on every computer.
Do your homework
Check out the studio you’re applying to before you send your résumé. Visit them directly as well as their website. Learn as much as you can about their philosophy, approach, teaching style and policies. Use the information to determine if the studio is a good fit. If it is, relate what you say in your résumé and letter to that information.
Write a cover letter
Your cover letter is your introduction. Keep it short and focus directly on what the studio is looking for. Use the information you learned in your studio research to demonstrate your understanding of their needs. Be sincere and friendly without being too casual or formal.
Send your letter and résumé
Do a final check. Then send your letter and résumé. Wait a suitable amount of time before you call or write to follow up.
Jane Aronovitch is a Pilates & Movement teacher. She is also a writer and author. Her book, Get on it: BOSU Balance Trainer, is available at Body Harmonics, Amazon and Chapters Indigo.
“I love making ideas clear so teachers can directly apply what they learn in concrete and practical ways – and people can make connections, feel better, move with ease, and have fun.”