You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that’s why it’s so important to put your best foot forward when preparing your certified nursing assistant (CNA) resume. Whether you’re an experienced CNA or just getting started, you can benefit from looking at sample resumes from other CNAs and following some basic guidelines to improve your resume writing. Let’s break down the basic components of the resume and how you should approach them.
This is an area where many people go wrong with their resumes. While there are areas in life where excessive creativity can be a good thing, you don’t want to distract potential employers with unnecessary frills when it comes to your resume’s design and layout. Avoid pictures, images, or anything that will distract from your credentials. Lay things out in a common format (more on that below). Rather than starting from scratch, it makes sense to work from one of the many available templates you can find online. This will help ensure your formatting will be clean and professional looking.
Here are some links to downloadable CNA resume templates from Monster.com to help get you started. Feel free to download either of these CNA resume samples and personalize the details
Provide all of the basics here including your full name, address, phone number, and email address. Professionalism is key here, so make sure that you use an email address that looks professional. Moonchild721@gomail.com seems much less like a serious job candidate than firstname.lastname@example.org. Also keep in mind here that you’ll be receiving phone calls from potential employers, so be sure that your voicemail message is straightforward and professional sounding.
In one or two sentences this is your chance to quickly explain who you are and what you’re looking for in your next CNA job. This is usually the first substantive thing that a potential employer sees when looking at a Certified Nursing Assistant resume, so get to the point quickly and concisely, and try to tailor it to the job description of the job you’re applying for if possible. So, for example, if the job is in a nursing home facility, you may want to mention specifically that you’re seeking a position in a nursing home.
- Trustworthy, team player seeking to utilize service skills to transition into the healthcare field as a CNA at a nursing home where I can use my skills to assist residents.
- Experienced CNA with excellent patient care skills seeking a specialized position as a Psychiatric Aide.
Skills and Qualifications
Don’t overthink or underthink this section. For entry-level CNAs they may try to add too much to this section to compensate for a lack of skills, while experienced CNAs may overlook some basic skills that they may not feel are noteworthy. You’ll want to have a mix of healthcare and nursing specific skills as well as some general skills to show that you’re a well-rounded employee. Some examples of these types of skills can be seen below.
Example of general skills:
- Strong communication skills
- Highly organized and detail oriented
- Works well in a team based environment
Healthcare and nursing skills:
- First-aid and CPR certified (include the date of certification)
- Privacy and HIPAA Regulations
- Patient care and safety
- Vital signs and patient monitoring
Be careful when listing skills and qualifications that you use the correct terminology and don’t make any typos or spelling errors. You don’t want your attempt to look qualified to backfire on you.
In the education section of your resume, you should list your most recent educational experience at the top of your list – which most likely is your CNA training. Add the name of the program or school along with the city, state, and the date of completion. If you’re still working on obtaining your certification, rather than the date of completion you can make a note that your certification is “in process” or provide a target completion date. If you are a recent high school graduate, you can add that to the list, but if it’s been more than five years since graduation you can skip that detail. In addition to your standard educational items, you can list other formal training you’ve received here such as computer courses you’ve completed at another job, or any applicable medical training.
Your work experience should highlight your relevant experience as a CNA if possible. If you’re an entry level CNA you’ll want to call out your clinical experience and any extern work that you’ve done. Provide the date, location and a short list of the patient care work you did including any specifics such as assisting with blood pressure readings, vital signs, bathing, feeding, grooming, etc. If you are a CNA with more experience you can go into greater detail of job specifics and also call out any specialized work that you’ve done and work recognition that you’ve received.
Typically, CNA resumes should include two or three references from past co-workers, supervisors or instructors. If you’ve had prior work experience, make sure at least one of the references listed was a supervisor so they can speak to your abilities as an employee, whether you have prior medical experience or not. When it comes to listing references, don’t make the mistake of listing people who haven’t given you permission to list them as a reference. Speak to any potential references first so they won’t be caught off guard when they receive a call and can be mentally prepared to give you a positive referral.
Other Job Hunting Tips
Perception is important, and many employers will do a quick search on social media platforms to gain insight on potential employees as part of the hiring process. If you’re active on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter you’ll want to be careful of how your account is set up or how you manage it. Make sure that you don’t post any objectionable content that could concern employers, or you’ll want to lock down your settings to make sure your profile’s are private and only available to people you choose.
It’s also wise to provide supporting documents when applying for a position. It’s wise to send along a cover letter that you can tailor a bit for each job you apply for. Additionally, if you have letters of recommendation, those can be another way to help separate yourself from other candidates.
Where to find CNA job opportunities
There are a number of tried and true CNA job searching sites that are specific to CNAs that can help you find local opportunities. Here are a few of the more popular ones.
There are also standard job searching sites that list CNA jobs among their listings.
Another valuable tool to find local positions is to simply search for Google using your target area. You can do searches for things like “nursing assistant atlanta, georgia”, or “palm springs nurse aide”, or you can look for local nursing homes or medical facilities and browse their career pages. If you find an open position that asks for you to fill out an application, be sure to find an email address to send along your resume as well. You’ll stick out to the hiring manager if you show some extra diligence in your application process.