Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) assist patients with daily activities such as medicine administration, meals, helping patients to eat, bathe and dress, checking vital signs regularly and cleaning and sanitizing patient living areas. This job is typically an entry-level position, with the next career step being a licensed nurse.
To make your nursing assistant resume stand out, use the writing tips and resume examples on this page.
What are the duties for a CNA?
The duties for a CNA (certified nursing assistant) include providing basic patient care, such as assistance with bathing and dressing. Additional CNA duties include taking a patient’s vital signs; keeping rooms clean; setting up medical equipment; and answering calls for help from a patient.
What qualities make a good CNA?
Qualities that a good CNA should possess include compassion, empathy, patience, strong attention to detail, and excellent observation and communication skills. Another top quality that a CNA should possess is an ability to work under extreme pressure.
Top 4 characteristics of a best-in-class certified nursing assistant resume
Your summary statement should present your top nursing skills and most significant achievements. Mention qualifications such as knowledge of medical terminology and regulations, as well as any specific knowledge or experience in a particular medical specialty.
Focus on the job description, picking out the skills that match the ones you possess, and then including them here. As a CNA, employers will be looking at abilities such as providing emotional support, personal care, expertise in tube feedings, documenting behavioral changes, being proficient in EMR/EHR systems, and excellent communication and decision-making skills.
- Work history
Rather than just listing everyday tasks, focus on your best accomplishments, and provide metrics wherever possible. For example: “Devised a system that helped in reducing incorrect medication administration by 99.9%” or “Monitored a team of 4 CNAs independently, in absence of a nurse manager, without incident.”
A CNA credential is the most essential requirement for this position. Some additional certifications and training that can help improve your position as a certified nursing assistant include:
Basic Life Support (BLS) certification
State Tested Nursing assistant (STNA)
Associate degree or Bachelor of Science in nursing
Do’s and don’ts for your resume
- Double-check your resume for errors
Attention to detail is crucial for a nursing assistant — apply that same level of detail to your resume. Review your document several times before sending it in, making sure you don’t have typos or grammar errors. Let a trusted, reliable contact look at your resume if you can — sometimes a second pair of eyes can spot additional errors Just know that hiring managers are quick to discard resumes with grammatical or spelling errors.
- Organize your work history in reverse chronological order
Managers will always want to know your most recent work experience first, when evaluating your career. Follow the standard protocol of placing your most recent job at the top of your work history section, and then working your way back to your earliest position. Just remember to focus on your top accomplishments rather than mundane tasks, and limit your employment history to the last ten years.
- Customize for applicant tracking systems (ATS)
Many businesses now use ATS to filter out resumes, based on relevant keywords. To ensure that your resume makes it through ATS and into a hiring manager’s hands, use a clean, simple format (fancy fonts and design elements like tables might confuse ATS), and zero-in on the right skill keywords, based on the listed requirements of the job position.
- Don’t lie or exaggerate
Don’t make the mistake of inflating your skills or experiences to make your resume more impressive. The last thing you want is to be caught in a lie if an employer runs a background check on you. Be honest about your professional experience and skills — if you feel like you’re lacking in certain areas, look for ways to make up for shortcomings (e.g., emphasizing other skills that could prove to be useful in nursing work, or taking on additional training in particular areas of inexperience).
- Don’t create an over-long resume
Recruiters only take a few seconds on average to read a resume. This means concentrating your best skills and qualifications, rather than stringing them out over several pages. Aim for one page for your resume. Focus more on relevant achievements than an exhaustive list of all your previous job tasks. Concentrate on including skills that directly address the potential job’s requirements.
- Don’t use weak verbs to describe your skills and accomplishments
Rather than starting sentences with passive language such as “was responsible for”, use robust action verbs to energize the details of your achievements. Verbs like prepared, developed, created, devised, coordinated and managed signal to employers that you’re in charge of your accomplishments.
Nursing Aide and Assistant Resume Questions
1. How do you write the header of a nursing aide and assistant resume?
Your header, located at the top of your resume, should display your name and contact information. Write your full name first, and consider using a large font size or capitalized letters to make it stand out. Then, list either your address or your city, state, and zip code. Include a telephone number, other than your work number, that you can easily access. Finally, list a professional email address.
Our nursing aide and assistant resume sample positions the jobseeker’s header in the center of the document. Follow this example, or try using one of our free resume templates.
2. How do you write a nursing aide and assistant resume?
The writing process for a nursing aide and assistant resume is similar to the writing process for any other type of document. Include a header as well as a professional summary, skills, work experience, and education section, as our resume sample shows. For help writing and formatting each of these sections, turn to our resume builder. It provides industry-specific text examples, step-by-step assistance, and professional resume formats to help you create an impressive document in minutes.
3. How do you list certifications on your nursing aide and assistant resume?
Certification in first aid, CPR, and other medical capacities are often requirements for nursing aide and assistant positions. You can show these credentials in a few different ways. You can list certifications underneath your degree in your education section, or you can include them in your core qualifications section. To make these qualifications more noticeable on your resume, however, you may want to list them in a separate section, as shown in our nursing aide and assistant resume sample.
4. How can you highlight team experience on a nursing aide and assistant resume?
If you work as a nursing aide and assistant, you do not work alone. Before they hire you, hiring managers want to know if you can work on a team. Take a look at our nursing aide and assistant resume sample. The jobseeker describes assisting nurses and collaborating with interdisciplinary teams. Follow this example. Demonstrate in your work experience section your ability to work alongside doctors, nurses, and other staff. Use words such as “help,” “assist,” “collaborate,” and “cooperate.”
5. How do you list schools in a nursing aide and assistant resume?
As you can see from our resume sample, you should include in your education section information about the schools you attended to earn your degrees. You do not need to provide more details than simply the name and location of the school. If you transferred from one institution to another while working towards a degree, list only the school from which you graduated. Do not list your high school unless you did not receive post-secondary education.
You’ve learned how to write a stand-out Nursing Aide and Assistant resume, but you need a cover letter to complete your application materials. Use our Nursing Aide and Assistant cover letter sample to quickly craft an impressive letter.
6. How should you format your resume?
Your resume format will depend on your background as well as the role you’re applying to. If you are just starting out your career, use the functional format to emphasize your education and relevant skills, as well as any applicable extracurricular experiences, such as volunteer experience at a local senior center. If you have more than five years of experience in the field, use the chronological format, which features an expanded work history section. Regardless of your format, draw attention to your core competencies as well as other helpful skills, such as administrative, organizational and management abilities.
7. How should you craft your resume if you’re looking to take the next step forward in your career?
The skills and knowledge you gain as a CNA are of immense value. It can inspire you to think about advancing your career in the nursing field. The next step in this career path is to become a Licensed Nurse Practitioner (LPN) or Registered Nurse (RN). In addition to university programs and courses in this field, look to gain experience from LPN training programs in skills such as inserting catheters, checking vital signs, administering medications and changing sterile dressings. To become an RN, the education options are:
- Diploma in a nursing program
- Associate of Nursing degree program
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program