The demand for certified nursing assistants is skyrocketing across the United States with an aging population and an ever-expanding healthcare industry. Once you’ve earned your CNA license, you’ll need to find the job you want, apply, interview, and land it. But to do so you’ll need to craft the kind of resume that will make employers take notice. If you’re an experienced CNA that’s looking for a new position at another company, the story’s largely the same, but you’ll likely have more substance available to build a more robust resume.
We’ll cover several important topics here as we help you to create the best CNA resume possible. This will include:
- How to format a CNA resume to make it stand out from the crowd
- Resume writing 101: What to include on your resume
- Downloadable CNA resume examples and templates you can use to get started
- How to land a CNA job – everything you need to know from finding the right job to acing the interview
How to format a CNA resume
If you want to land a job as a CNA the first thing a prospective employer is going to notice is the format of your resume. How you decide to layout the information, along with the general look and style of your resume, may dictate whether or not they even decide to read the entire document. So, from a layout standpoint, what should you go for?
- Keep your resume to one page. No one wants multiple page resumes and yours will likely end up in the trash if it’s longer than a single page.
- Stick to a standard font sizes between 10 and 12.
- Avoid using first person pronouns “I”, “me”, or “my”.
- Maintain consistency in formatting. If you capitalize a job title once, make sure it’s consistent across all of your other job titles. If you end a bullet point with a period, make sure your other bullet points end with a period as well.
- Include your name, current mailing address, phone number, and email address in your header.
- List your most recent jobs and education first and move backward from there.
When choosing a template to use, using a professional resume writing service, or creating your own resume, remember that it can be risky to use a format that’s too outside the box. While it may make your resume stand out, you don’t want to make it difficult for the employer to find the information they need to assess if you’re a good fit. So, there are advantages to sticking to a more traditional format and style.
From CNA resume objective to references, what you should and shouldn’t include
There is an almost endless supply of CNA resume samples available online that you can use to begin constructing your own resume. However, it’s important that your final resume includes the elements that employers will expect when they begin to review candidates. Be sure that your resume includes all of the following:
- Name and contact information. Be sure to have a standard email address that uses your name or some variation of it rather than something off the wall or comical.
- Your objective. Clearly state your goal of obtaining a CNA job and what you hope to gain from the position. Customize it to the employer if possible.
- Work history. Start with your most recent employer first. Don’t just rattle off where you’ve worked, highlight your accomplishments and tie them into your skills. If possible, use metrics to back up your accomplishments. Employers like to see numbers to back up your words.
- Education history. Start with your most recent education first.
- CNA-specific skills. Point out your most relevant skills based on the job description. If the CNA position requests people with experience taking vital signs, you’ll want to list your work or educational background in checking blood pressure, etc.
The above are must-haves. Failing to include any of those will sink your chances of being taken seriously as an applicant. There are other items that may help enhance your resume, but only add them if they can help improve your chances for the job. These would include:
- Relevant certifications
- Awards and achievements
If you have any healthcare certifications outside of the required skills of a CNA, be sure to include those as it will show your dedication to your craft. If you’ve received awards and achievements, even if they aren’t healthcare specific, you may want to include those to show you are a high-achiever. If you don’t have a long work history as a CNA this can be helpful. If you have former bosses or co-workers that have agreed to act as a reference you may want to include those as well, particularly if they are strong communicators and willing to advocate for you. Hobbies are typically unnecessary unless they are relevant. If you spend time volunteering at nursing homes, for example, that may be worth including, though it may be better suited for your CNA cover letter.
Now that you have a general understanding of what to include in your resume we can focus on the specifics that will help differentiate you from the other applicants. All else being equal, the most qualified people will be the ones getting interviews and ultimately the job. Therefore, it’s critical that you do a good job of selling your skills first and foremost.
CNA Resume: Skills
Nothing sells you better than your skills when an employer reviews your resume. You have to sell yourself into the position by clearly laying out the skills you’ll be bringing to the table. Before you start listing out your skills, though, check the CNA job description for resume tips. If the position calls for certain duties or roles that align with your skills, be sure to highlight those first.
Common skills employers look for in a CNA include:
- Detail oriented. From your ability to keep records to your attention to hygiene, few things are more critical for CNAs than attention to detail.
- Communication. Your ability to communicate both verbally and in written format is extremely important in dealing with patients and your team members.
- Medical knowledge. Explain your familiarity with common disorders and demonstrate your knowledge of medical terminology. If you can do this in you resume it will help sell your knowledge of the profession.
CNA resume example downloads
We’ve put together CNA resume templates for download that you can use as you write a CNA resume for yourself. We provide these in both Microsoft Word and Google Docs format.
How to land a CNA job
Landing a job as a CNA isn’t terribly different than most jobs. When people say, “it’s who you know,” they’re not wrong. Networking can open a lot of doors for you. If you don’t know anyone directly who works at a healthcare facility hiring CNA, ask your friends and family if they know anyone in the healthcare field and ask for an introduction. The more people you meet and discuss your plans with, the more likely you’ll be able to find the right job and possibly someone who will offer you a recommendation if you hit it off.
You also need to realize that finding a job will take some time and effort, so come up with a plan and stick with it. Use your interpersonal connections as well as local job boards and search engines to find opportunities that align with your career goals. Make sure you fully understand the application process, and provide all of the necessary info. It also helps to do some extra research – talk to current or former employees, and learn more about the place you’ll be working so you can present yourself in the best light when you submit your cover letter and resume. The more you know, the more you can customize your documents. Also, it will help you get a leg up on others when you land an interview.