Top 5 CNA Resume Tips Decoded

If you’re struggling to get hired as a Certified Nursing Assistant, maybe your resume is sick (hyuk hyuk hyuk.) We’ll take a look at what a CNA does, what a CNA resume needs to show to be effective, and how you can do it yourself with resume examples.

What Does a CNA Do?

The Certified Nursing Assistant Guides defines a CNA as someone who “helps patients or clients with healthcare needs under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). The individual who carries this title needs strong work ethic and ability, but issues of liability and legality prevent CNAs from performing certain procedures.” So, if you’ve ever hit the nurse button from a hospital bed, it was probably a CNA who brought you a Tylenol and an extra blankie. They record patient statistics in their medical charts and provide for quality-of-life needs. CNAs are also often found in nursing homes, hospitals, adult day care centers, personal homes and assisted living facilities.

So, What Does a Certified Nursing Assistant Resume Show?

A CNA needs to show that they have the nursing chops and experience to keep up with an RN. Many CNA’s are currently in training to become full RNs, and therefore have experience doing rounds at teaching hospitals and the other healthcare facilities mentioned above. One crucial mistake that many CNAs make on their resumes is to list the dates and hospitals at which they’ve worked, but fail to provide any content at all describing what they actually did on those rounds. CNA duties vary wildly, from “observing” while early in training to performing all of the functions of an RN, so it’s insanely important to actually tell a prospective hirer what you did, regardless of whether or not it seems like “a given”. A Certified Nursing Assistant resume should mention specific procedures and medical equipment that the applicant has experience with, it should mention the number of patients or beds managed during a shift, and it should mention how the CNA collaborated with other professionals while on duty.

A Terrible Certified Nursing Assistant Resume Says:

“Executed activities of daily living for the client (bathing, feeding, ambulating, bathroom needs)”

This isn’t a complete sentence. Why turn a perfectly good sentence into a fragment by just listing information as a parenthetical at the end, when you could just as easily say “Executed activities of daily living including bathing, feeding ambulating, and bathroom needs.”? It doesn’t even save you any space, and makes your resume look sloppy. Also, what’s with the word client? Wouldn’t “patient” be more appropriate if you’re trying to get a job in a healthcare facility? Choose your nouns for the job you want, not the job you have.

“Formulated the clients meal for reassurance of proper nutrients intake.”

Again, sloppy grammar here. Even worse, key details are clearly left out. If the CNA is “reassuring” (by which they mean “ensuring”) proper nutrient intake, that must mean that they were maintaining some sort of records, right? Then why isn’t it listed or mentioned? Charting and documenting patient information is a huge, key skill for a Certified Nursing Assistant!

“Recorded client’s daily intake and output.”

Intake and output of what? Intake of diesel fuel and output of smooth jazz albums? Recorded how? How often? There is zero detail, and this sentence doesn’t really tell us anything. The hiring manager is left to fill in the blanks–and they won’t give you the benefit of the doubt.

“Monitored client’s vital signs as an indicator of any changes in health.”

Monitored them how? What equipment was used? Which vital signs were monitored? All of these opportunities to demonstrate specific expertise and skill in basic CNA tasks are being wasted, here.

“Actively participated in the analysis of operational and departmental results.”

You know what they say about “actively participated”… it doesn’t mean a damn thing. My chair is actively participating in the creation of this blog post by supporting my butt while I write it. HOW did you participate? Just say what you did!

An Excellent Certified Nursing Assistant Resume Says:

“Provided direct medical care to thirty rehabilitation and Alzheimer’s/Dementia unit patients as part of an eight member retirement community nursing team.”

Ah, much better. Notice how this sentence provides scope, detail, and context for the job, demonstrating exactly what (and how much) the applicant can do.

“Assessed, planned, implemented, and evaluated patient care for assigned patients while collaborating with Physical Therapists, Nurses, and other CNAs and CMAs.”

Working with other healthcare professionals during rounds is another essential skill that all CNAs will be expected to have. Explicitly naming the job titles of the people you’ve worked with is the best way to do this.

“Trained thirteen newly hired CNAs and nursing students on patient care, safety, and facility rules and regulations.”

This line shows the level of responsibility the candidate held at a previous job, and provides concrete details, like the number of people trained, to back it up. It also demonstrates thorough knowledge and expertise with safe patient care and facility regulations, which is important at every healthcare facility.

“Administered medications, initiated breathing treatments, performed vitals checks, and took blood sugar readings.”

These are the kinds of specific tasks that a CNA resume should demonstrate. This shows the reader exactly what the candidate has experience doing, and it shows that the position involved more than just administering ADLs and changing sheets.

The Takeaway

Using these CNA resume examples, you can create a resume that will wow your next interviewer and find a job as a Certified Nursing Assistant in no time. And don’t forget–if you still need a little help on the formatting side of things, we offer a fully-loaded professional resume template, including a full tips and tricks guide written by our full-time editors themselves. The template can give you professional editing results at a DIY price, leaving you more money for red bull and scrubs. Give us a call if you get stuck–we’re always here to answer your resume questions.

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