For those of us in the martial arts, the practice and development of our art is a major part of our lives. With this fact in mind, should we be including our martial arts knowledge and experience on our professional resumes? If you are a professional working in the health, fitness or martial arts industry then the answer is simple, absolutely. But what if you are not a professional within one of those industries?
The answer is still yes. You just have to be more careful in how you use it and where it shows up in your resume.
First, the inclusion of martial arts in your “Hobbies and Interests” can generate a common ground for discussion during an interview. With the common availability of many different martial arts and schools many interviewers may either be a practitioner or have a child who practices in the arts. Being able to initiate and sustain a conversation on “common ground” that is not directly related to the job or job skills can be an important tool in the interview process. If you have been involved in your chosen art for an extended period of time, listing your practice can also be an asset as it shows that you are dedicated to the practice. This shows that you are the type of person that will persevere, even under less than ideal circumstances.
You can also include your martial arts training and experience under the “Volunteer Work” heading on your resume. It is important that you include volunteer activities on your resume. Many employers look for these activities, viewing them as a strong indication of your character as a person. They are looking to see if you are concerned about more than just yourself, if you are the type of person who is willing to help others and create a better world. Your time as a volunteer Floor Leader, Instructor, Office Staff, or on a “Community Project Crew” can help show that you are they type of person they would be proud to claim as “one of their own”.
Including any specialty training and certification you might hold as result of your martial arts experience can also make a big difference. For instance, if you have completed an intensive training program to become a Certified Instructor, then include that fact under the “Education and Training” heading. Include times where you have been able to apply the skills, such as leadership and teaching, in your other professional jobs. Including these types of specialized skills and how they have been applied shows a potential employer that you are more valuable than anyone who simply holds a diploma.
Finally, if your art and organization affords you the opportunity to work in a multi-cultural environment, make sure that is evident in your resume. Most companies today operate in a multi-cultural world and they are looking for people who can adapt and thrive in that type of environment. Highlighting your activities as they relate to cultural diversity can make your resume stronger.
There are plenty of ways to use your martial arts skills, knowledge, and experience to enhance your professional resume or curriculum vitae. Just take care to make sure everything is truthful and verifiable. When you include your martial arts as a “conversation starter” make sure you are prepared to have a conversation, if interested martial arts a good interviewer will use this as a way to get a feel for the accuracy of the rest of your resume. If you aren’t what you claim in this area, what else might you have embellished? If your resume includes volunteer work, make sure your list of references includes someone who can, and will, vouch for your work. Claiming specialized training and certification requires that you are able to produce a certificate to match when requested. Your martial arts experience can be an asset, but take care not to let its inclusion on your resume become a stumbling block, above all else practice your honor and integrity as you include martial arts in your professional resume!