I agree with Bill…I was in the same boat as you. One thing that I did to gain some experience is I asked a few friends to allow me to train them as part of my internship/practicum for my certification. It was great because I got honest feedback, I could try new exercises and made great suggestions for places to find diet/nutrition tips. And it gave me some experience under my belt.
Elizabeth if you are ACE certified why are you not using the Let’s Move/Joining Forces campaign to gain valuable experience and exposure. Offer up your services for free! Go the the papers with the story. Go to the news and television stations. Do some volunteer work (just because you work for free doesn’t mean that you didn’t work…volunteer work looks just as good if not better in some cases on a resume.) Plus…if you got involved in Let’s Move you would gain experience, possible future clients, public exposure and status within your community. The best way to get clients is by word of mouth. I hate to say this but you really have to train some and produce results for your clients before you will get a solid base of clients.
Just some suggestions that have worked well for me. Also, I agree with Bill…get yourself a mentor who does exactly what you hope to do in the business. Shadow them and learn from them.
There are other things that you can include on your resume besides work experience. Have you ever been on a team? Can you highlight your strengths? Are you an excellent communicator? Have you demonstrated leadership qualities in other areas of your life that will transfer well into the wellness and fitness industry. Do you have a solid understanding of the science related to personal training that you desire to use to inspire other to lead active lifestyles. Do you have a genuine desire to work and learn in the industry? Are you able to express what industry guidelines you refer to as far as designing exercise prescription is concerned. Express that on your resume particularly your objective.
Fitness professionals are dynamic, energetic individuals who love what they do. Make sure this is well-conveyed in the cover letter of your resume as well as your resume.
I wish you all the best in your search for employment.
Never lie! (or “stretch” the truth about what you’ve done or not done). Everybody has to start somewhere. If you’re honest, and clearly express your enthusiasm and eagerness to learn, then I don’t see you having any difficulties.
Consider avenues/facilities where your expertise will be valued (it may not be paid yet, but you never know:):
-local rec centres (offer to teach (or co-teach) a class)
-local media (position yourself as a trained health/fitness professional, ’cause you are!)
-clubs or gyms where you can walk the floor and be available to answer member questions
-heck, apply for an actual job! you never know what opportunities are out there and who you might meet (it may turn out to be your mentor!).