How to Write a CNA Resume

How to Write a CNA Resume

The official CNA resume and cover letter guide

According to the past five years of research, the number of certified nursing assistants is growing.  Although the demand for this job is increasing as well, the rate in which people are getting certified is actually more than there are openings.  Therefore, the need to have a solid resume with CNA specific information is becoming more important by the day. A resume for a CNA position, like any position, is the first impression that you are going to make with your prospective employer. This means that every effort needs to be made to make sure that it is the best reflection of your skills, experience and goals.  A generic resume will not do because it fails to highlight or prioritize key aspects that differentiate a CNA from the rest of the working world.  You have core competencies, skill sets and responsibilities that can be lost if done in a generic manner.

Because every CNA has a different situation or different level of experience, we have designed this article to aptly address all of your potential needs.  We will first start with potential services and resources that are out there for those of you who are looking for professional help or would prefer not to have to make a resume on your own.  Although these will cost a little bit, that investment can go a long way in helping to differentiate your resume from other resumes and can also save you a lot of time.  However, if you would prefer to work on your own or are just looking to improve your current application, then continue reading on and access our professional advice on changes and layouts that will help to exemplify your nursing specific qualities in a more professional manner.

Basic knowledge on how to write a resume is very important, but designing a CNA specific curriculum vitae (CV) is a game changer and will give you a more powerful approach to the job application process. Here is how you can do exactly that:

CNA Resume Resources

The hardest part to writing a CNA resume is trying to find the right format or template to help you.  Sadly, many people in the nursing industry just use a blank sheet, or worse, choose frilly looking templates that are available on Microsoft Word.  This is a terrible idea!  It’s bland, common and in most cases, very distasteful.

So, if you want professional CNA templates for your Resume and better insight into creating a top-notch CNA resume, then you have two options:

1. Hire a professional to make one for you

2. Buy a professional book that comes with templates

Hiring a Professional:

The problem with hiring a professional writer is that they are very expensive and in most cases, do not understand the field of nursing.  They will help you to build a professional CV but might not understand the intricacies of your job or responsibilities. They can therefore prioritize the wrong aspects or list certain information in the wrong order.

If you do hire a professional, we recommend looking for someone who has a background in nursing.  Although there aren’t any good websites or centers for locating CNA specific professionals, there are multiple sites for generic writers.   Just try to guide them and explain the process before they start creating the resume.  If they are really good, then they should probably ask you these questions before hand…but don’t leave it up to them. Ensure they actually understand.

Another great idea is just to contact us.  Send us your resume and one of our editors will check it for you for free.  No really, we will.

Buy a CNA Resume Book

Buying a CNA Resume book can really help you to land the best job on the market.  Not only are they much cheaper, in most cases, they also come with loads of templates and examples for you to choose from.  Written specifically for CNAs, these resume books come loaded with valuable information.  The best CNA resume and cover letter book on the market is the Official CNA Resume and Cover Letter Manual.  This book comes with 30 professionally made CNA resumes and cover letter samples that will not only give you insight as to what other CNAs have done in the past but also allows you to access industry proven CVs.  This approach is much cheaper and more time effective.  The best part is the aforementioned book very inexpensive.

If neither of the options works well for you or your needs, then continue reading and discover our recommendations on things you can do now to improve your curriculum vitae and how you can increase your chances of success.

Writing Your Own CNA Resume

If professional help is not what you are looking for, then you better get started on developing your resume strategy.  But first, let’s look at the parts to a resume and understand the required steps before you even put pen to paper.

Resume Layouts for CNAs

While an interview can give employers insight into your personal demeanor; a resume is an expression of your professional background and your level of training. Think of it as more of a factual and quantitative display of your of your skills.  This makes it a very valuable document for employers and those seeking employment. Ensure you provide adequate time and effort when preparing a CNA Curriculum Vitae so as to ensure the most important and impressive achievements are highlighted and therefore, make the right impression on an administrator. Also, before you start writing your resume, you should check out our CNA Resume Example page and also our CNA Cover Letter Example.  These are basic examples of professional resumes and cover letters that will help you in understanding the overall objective to write a Nursing Assistant specific resume.

Where to Start with Your CV

CNA Resume Templates and FormatsBefore creating your CNA specific resume, make sure to do some research on the place you are applying for. Because CNAs can work in a multitude of places like hospitals, retirement homes, etc., it is important to tailor your curriculum vitae to meet the needs of each individual place.
First, start off with the job notification that alerted you to the job opening.  How did you learn about the job opening? Online? In a newspaper?  Take this resource and really look into how it is worded.  What does the source stress?  What tone does it have?

Once you have gathered as much information as possible with the job source, then turn to the internet.  Try to gain as much information about that particular job or company as you can.  Do they have specific programs or goals?  What is their history?  Do they specialize in anything or have they won any awards.  This information is extremely important for your interview but can also play a key role in what you highlight in your resume as well.

CNA Resume Filtering

Using the knowledge you gained from your research, you should now start the process of filtering your background information and seeing where it fits.

As a basic rule, you should include your professional background, academic qualifications, relevant experiences, key skills, and core competencies. Your professional and academic qualifications should include a comprehensive but concise list of your schooling and certifications. If you have a lot of different jobs that you have worked at, filter them out to include only the ones that are relevant and make sure that you include your most impressive responsibilities and achievements in that position. You do not want to overload your prospective boss by placing too many mundane facts that only serve to highlight other aspects not important to the job at hand.

Select the Right Skills and Competencies

Furthermore, using the research information, prioritize your information so as to best highlight the qualities you think they are looking for.  Do they have a community service program for the elderly?  If so, then perhaps community service experiences and skill sets should be mentioned over other important facts.

The interviewer wants to hire the right CNA who will fit into their team as best as he or she can.  Make it easy for them by reflecting this in your resume.

How to Organize Your Resume

How to organize these on paper is different from person to person and also needs to be tailored to the position and organization you are applying for. Furthermore, the style in which you use should depend on your specific background. You can organize your skills and experience chronologically, functionally or as a combination of the two.

o   A chronological approach is best if you are relatively experienced; in which case you can arrange your jobs chronologically with skills acquired and used at each job presented in the order you learned them.

o   A functional approach is best for CNAs who are new to the field and it can be used to emphasize academic qualifications and other skills.

o   A combination of the two approaches above is not recommended. Most times this can become confusing and lead to dismissal.

Check out our CNA Sample Resumes

Now that you have read about how to create a CNA Resume, check out a professionally made resume that has been tested in the field. Not only can you download it and use it, you can also read an analysis and learn about what can be done to improve your resume.

CNA Resume Sample 


While this might make the task more time consuming, creating a detailed and concise resume will be worth it. Remember, this is the first look your potential employer has. It stands to leave the biggest impression and if your resume doesn’t reflect your ability to perform that job, then you will have a hard time finding someone who will give you an interview. A great resume, along with a great cover letter is absolutely essential to secure a job as a CNA. Follow these guidelines and check out our example resume, and you should be absolutely fine.

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