So, you’re a certified nurse assistant.
Like many professionals in the healthcare industry, you probably dream of making a difference by helping people.
And yet, you can’t seem to get a job where you can do that.
Truth is, getting a CNA certification isn’t enough to land your dream job.
After all, to many aspiring nurses, the CNA position is a stepping stone towards a career in the healthcare industry. Yeah, you guessed it - the competition is tough.
For this reason, whether you’re a newly certified nursing assistant or an experienced professional, you need to stand out from your competitors—and what better way to do it than by writing an effective CNA resume?
So, let us lend you a helping hand and show you exactly how to write a CNA resume that will help you win the job.
In this article, we will cover:
- CNA Resume Example
- 8-Step Guide to Build the Perfect CNA Resume
- 55+ Top CNA Skills in 2022
So, let’s dive right in.
CNA Resume Example
Here are all the elements that make the CNA resume example at the top great:
- Reverse-chronological resume format. The CNA resume example above uses the reverse-chronological resume format to highlight the candidate’s work experience. Not to mention, this resume format is recruiters’ favorite!
- Contact information. This CNA resume example contains all the necessary contact details, including the candidate’s full name, email address, location, and phone number.
- Attention-grabbing resume summary. This CNA resume example contains an impressive resume summary that emphasizes the candidate’s professional achievements.
- Focus on work achievements. The CNA resume example above highlights the candidate’s work achievements, which helps their resume to stand out.
- Concise education section. Higher education isn’t a requirement for CNAs, so this candidate kept their education short by only including their key education details.
- Good use of bullet points. This CNA resume example uses bullet points to structure and present information, making this resume easy to skim.
- Well-structured skills section. Instead of listing all of the candidate’s skills, this CNA resume example only includes the most relevant skills for the CNA position.
- Certifications. The CNA resume example above lists all of the candidate’s certifications in the reverse-chronological order.
- Additional sections. This CNA resume example includes relevant associations and language skills to help the candidate stand out from other candidates with similar certifications and work experience.
8-Step Guide to Build the Perfect CNA Resume
Now that you know the elements of an outstanding CNA resume, you’re ready to start writing your own job-winning CNA resume.
So, here are the exact steps that will help you create the perfect CNA resume:
#1. Format Your CNA Resume the Right Way
First things first - let’s address the formatting.
Generally speaking, you have 3 resume format options:
A well-formatted resume will present your information in the most effective way, and for this reason, you want to go with the reverse-chronological resume format.
Apart from being the most popular resume format worldwide and recruiters’ favorite, the reverse-chronological resume format helps you make the most out of your CNA resume by putting your work achievements at the center of attention.
Here’s an example of the reverse-chronological resume format:
This said, choosing the right resume format isn’t all there is to format your CNA resume - you also need to refine your resume layout.
So, here are all the elements that make an effective resume layout:
- Set the right margins. You don’t want your resume to look cluttered, so the use of white space will increase the readability of your resume.
- Keep your resume short. Having a one-page resume increases the odds of the hiring manager actually reading your CNA resume - after all, recruiters go through hundreds of resumes every day.
- Choose a professional font. To make sure that your CNA resume is easy-to-read, choose a professional font that will look good on both PDF and paper.
- Use bullet points. Using bullet points to organize the information makes your CNA resume look neat and well-structured.
- Save your resume in the right format. Your best option is to save your CNA resume in PDF format. This will ensure your resume looks exactly as intended no matter the device or OS the hiring manager uses to open your resume.
Use a Resume Template (and Save Time)
As a certified nursing assistant, you’re great at time management and prioritizing tasks.
So, you probably want to focus more of your time and energy on perfecting your resume contents than formatting.
Well, with our resume templates, you can jump straight into filling in your CNA resume contents without having to worry about your resume formatting!
Our resume templates are well-structured and look much more impressive than standard Word resumes - after all, they’re designed in collaboration with professional recruiters.
See for yourself how our free, tried-and-tested resume templates compare to the standard, black-and-white basic resumes:
#2. List the Relevant Contact Details
Once you’re done formatting your CNA resume, you’re ready to start filling in the contents.
So, let’s start with the basics - first, list your contact information, including:
- Your full name
- Your title (optional)
- Your phone number
- Your email address
- Your location
It’s really that simple!
Here’s an example of the contact information section in a CNA resume:
Certified Nursing Assistant
#3. Write a Memorable Resume Summary or Objective
You want to catch the hiring manager’s interest from the get-go - and there’s no better way to do it than by writing an impressive resume summary or objective.
In short, both the resume summary and the resume objective are 2-3 sentence paragraphs that provide recruiters a brief (but effective!) overview of your professional background, allowing them to quickly determine whether your CNA resume is worth taking a closer look at.
Luckily, you don’t need to write both a resume summary and a resume objective - here’s how to choose the right one for you:
- If you have relevant work experience, write a resume summary to show off your professional background, skills, and achievements.
- If you don’t have CNA experience, write a resume objective to highlight your skills and share your professional goals.
Here’s what you need to include in your resume summary to make sure it impresses the hiring manager:
- Your position
- Years of experience
- Your most relevant CNA skills
- 1-2 top professional achievements
And here’s an example of an excellent CNA resume summary:
- Dependable and patient-focused Certified Nursing Assistant with 4+ years of experience in providing top-quality elderly patient care. Skilled and experienced in conflict management, bladder retraining, and denture care. Resolved a long-standing conflict between nurses, leading to a 7% increase in patient satisfaction in Nursing Home X.
Now, if you don’t have relevant work experience, write an eye-catching resume objective by mentioning the following:
- Your certifications, industry-related degrees, and licenses
- Any nursing-related experience and skills that make you the right fit for the position
- Your motivation to work for the organization or company
- Compassionate, newly-certified Nurse Assistant looking to use interpersonal skills gained from volunteering in a developmental disability center to provide exceptional patient care at Organization X. Experienced in providing care for neurodivergent children and children with learning disabilities.
#4. Highlight Your Work Achievements
Next, it’s time to focus on the most important section of your CNA resume, which is the work experience section.
First things in order, start with your latest position and format your work experience section as such:
- Begin each entry with your job title. Make sure that your job title accurately reflects the role you had in your previous/current workplace.
- Include the company's information. Apart from the company name and location, you can also add a brief description (especially if the company isn’t well-known).
- Add the employment date. Use the mm/yyyy format to show the recruiter how long you’ve worked in each company.
- Use bullet points to list your achievements and responsibilities. Ideally, you want to use 5-6 bullet points for the most recent jobs and 2-3 bullet points for older roles.
Now, if you’re looking to maximize your chances of landing the job, follow these tips to make your CNA resume stand out from the rest:
- Focus on your achievements and make them quantifiable. To show the recruiter exactly what you can bring to the table, make sure to emphasize your achievements over your responsibilities. Moreover, make the most out of your work experience section by backing up your achievements with numbers (e.g. ‘Aided 14 patients…’ instead of ‘Aided patients’).
- Tailor your work experience section. If you have relevant work experience, the hiring manager won’t care you were waiting tables in high school. As such, you’re best off only mentioning the work experience that’s most relevant to the CNA position.
- Make use of action verbs. Starting each entry with ‘Responsible for…’ can quickly get boring, so use action verbs to make your work experience section pop (e.g. assisted, provided, aided, helped, organized, etc.’).
And here’s an example of a work experience section that includes all of the elements mentioned above:
Certified Nursing Assistant
Nursing Home X
05/2019 - 04/2022
- Successfully managed 8 CNAs for over a month while the nurse manager was absent.
- Trained a team of 15+ nurses to effectively use a newly implemented EHR software.
- Provided high-quality patient care for 40+ patients monthly.
- Fed, bathed, groomed, and otherwise assisted bedridden patients.
- Accurately measured and documented patient food and fluid intake as well as their vital signs, including blood pressure and heart rate.
What If I Don’t Have Work Experience?
CNA is an entry-level position, which means that many CNAs start their career without any relevant work experience.
So, if you just got your certification and are looking to land your first CNA job, worry not - chances are, just like you, many of your competitors have little to no work experience.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should simply skip this section. On the contrary, here’s what you need to do to get a winning edge over your competitors (regardless of their work experience!):
- Add any work experience that helped you gain relevant soft skills (e.g. if you’ve worked in retail or customer service, make sure to write it down - these jobs require a ton of patience, teamwork, adaptability, and other skills that are highly valued in a CNA).
- Mention your volunteering experience to show you’re genuinely interested in assisting other people, projects, or organizations.
- List any other experience, such as internships, mentorships, and au pair experience, where you were helpful to others.
Here’s what this could look like on your CNA resume:
Activity Big Buddy
Buddy Program X
09/2020 - 10/2020
- Assisted and supported an 11-year-old Little Buddy with a non-verbal learning disability and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in participating in basketball and art classes twice a week.
- Helped the Little Buddy to maintain focus, follow instructions, and improve hand-eye coordination through physical and creative activities.
- Taught the Little Buddy how to navigate the public transportation system, which significantly increased his independence.
- Helped the Little Buddy to meet new people, make friends, and interpret other people’s body language, thus improving his social skills.
- Won the “Outstanding Volunteer Award 2020.”
#5. Keep Your Education Section Concise
Here’s some good news - writing the education section of your CNA resume doesn’t take nearly as much time and effort as your work experience section.
That’s because you don’t actually need a college degree to become a CNA, unlike with other nursing jobs. In fact, you can even get CNA training in high school.
And, speaking of high school, only list it on your CNA resume if you don’t have higher education.
So, keep your education section brief by starting with your latest degree and mentioning just the key education details, which include:
- Degree Name
- College, university, or other educational institution
- Location (optional)
- Attendance years
Additionally, if you don’t have any work experience, feel free to mention any CNA-related high school or college courses that you took (and were good at) in bullet points.
Here’s an example of a short and sweet education section:
BSc in Nursing Studies (Adult)
Glasgow Caledonian University
09/2017 - 07/2020
#6. Add In-Demand CNA Skills
The skills section is another highly important section of your CNA resume as it shows the recruiter your professional abilities.
Generally speaking, as a CNA, you need a good mixture of soft skills and hard skills.
Luckily, you’ve likely gained most, if not all, of the necessary skills as a CNA while training for your certification.
So, all you need to do is simply list your hard skills separately from your soft skills to make your CNA well-organized.
Other than that, you want to make sure your skills section is tailored to the position.
As such, you want to only include CNA-related skills in your resume - in other words, if your advanced programming skills won’t be useful for your job, you don’t have to list them on your CNA resume’s skills section.
Not sure which skills to put on your CNA resume?
Worry not! We’ve compiled a list of 55+ top CNA skills to get you started.
55+ Top CNA Skills in 2023
20 Soft CNA Skills
35 Hard CNA Skills
- Patient positioning
- Perineal care
- Manual and electronic blood pressure recording
- Manual and electronic radial pulse recording
- Manual and electronic respiratory rate recording
- Measuring and recording height
- Measuring and recording weight
- Assisting using a bedpan
- Upper and lower denture care
- Oral care
- Nail care
- Feeding and serving paralyzed patients
- Partial bed baths
- Making unoccupied and occupied beds
- Proper handwashing
- Putting and removing clean and contaminated gowns and gloves
- Back massage
- Assisting in dressing
- Medical terminology knowledge
- Infection control
- Diabetes care
- Elderly care
- Disability care
- Bladder and bowel retraining
- Restraint and side rail usage
- Protective device attachment and management
- Serving supplements, vitamins, and medicine
- Meal and supplement intake recording
- Fluid intake and urinary output recording
- EHR software knowledge
- Indirect care
- Catheter care and maintenance
- Range of motion exercises
- Elastic support stocking application
- Ambulation using a gait belt
#7. Include Your CNA Certifications
As the title implies, certifications are vital to landing a certified nursing assistant job.
For this reason, make sure to list all industry-related certifications you hold on your CNA resume.
If you have more than one certification, start with the latest one and go back in time to make your CNA resume consistent and well-organized.
Some of the most popular certifications for CNAs include the following:
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification
- Basic Life Support (BLS) certification
- State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA) certification (only in Ohio)
- Home Health Aide (HHA) certification
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) certification
And here are all the details that you should mention:
- Certification name
- Name of agency
- Year of obtainment
- Location (if applicable)
- Expiration date (if applicable)
- Expected date of obtainment (if you’re still in training)
Here’s an example:
Certified Nursing Assistant (2021-2023)
American Red Cross
#8. Take Advantage of These Optional Resume Sections
Now, if you still have some free space on your CNA resume, don’t let it go to waste and include some additional sections to gain an advantage over your competitors.
As a CNA, consider adding one or more of these optional resume sections:
- Associations and societies as well as your role in them.
- Conferences, such as Nursing World Conference and World Congress on Nursing Care and Healthcare.
- Awards, if any of them are related to nursing.
- Languages, including your language proficiency level.
And here’s an example of how you should organize these additional sections in your CNA resume:
- 28th International Congress on Nursing and Primary Health Care (2021)
- World Nursing Congress (2020)
- National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA) (2018 - Present)
#9. Attach a Cover Letter to Your CNA Resume
At this point, you should have a better understanding of what it takes to write a truly impressive CNA resume.
But, there’s one more step we need to address - writing a compelling cover letter to back up your CNA resume (and secure the job!).
Essentially, your cover letter should prove to the recruiter that you’re the perfect CNA for their company.
Specifically, your cover letter gives you an opportunity to:
- Provide more detail on your professional background.
- Mention any important information that you’ve skipped in your CNA resume.
- Explain why you’re interested in working for this particular organization.
If this bit sounds a bit challenging, worry not - you don’t need to be a skilled writer to create a compelling cover letter.
Simply follow these steps and you’ll have a job-landing cover letter in no time:
- Start your cover letter by listing your contact information.
- Address the cover letter directly to the hiring manager (or, if not possible, the company or department).
- Write an attention-grabbing opening paragraph by focusing on your professional achievements.
- Use the body of your cover letter to highlight your skills, experience, and explain why you’d be a great asset to the company, thus proving you’re the perfect fit for the position.
- Effectively close the cover letter with a call to action.
And here’s an impressive cover letter template example:
If you’re looking to leave a lasting impression on the hiring manager, use our cover letter templates to match your cover letter to your CNA resume and show off your attention to detail!
Congrats - by now, you should be ready to write the perfect CNA resume and a convincing cover letter to help you secure your dream job!
Before you go, though, let’s quickly recap some of the key points of writing a job-landing CNA resume:
- Pick the reverse-chronological resume format to put a spotlight on your work experience and skills.
- To show the hiring manager you’re a relevant candidate for the position, write an engaging resume summary (if you have work experience) or objective (if you don’t have work experience).
- Make the most out of your work experience section by focusing on quantifiable achievements.
- Include all of your relevant certifications in reverse-chronological order to make your CNA resume easy to follow.
- To help you secure the job, attach a compelling cover letter to your CNA resume.