As the baby boomer generation continues to age, the need for CNAs, or certified nursing assistants, is going to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 20 percent increase in the need for CNAs at least through 2020. So, it’s going to be easy to get a job, but where you work can make a huge difference in how well you like the field. Getting into a high-end, exclusive retirement community is going to take a little more than a certification. Your resume must shine. And, an effective resume starts out with a killer objective.
The objective is the first section under your contact information on the first page of your resume. For busy directors of nursing or health-care facility recruiters, a clear, concise and informative objective can save time, since they won’t have to read through all the other stuff to find out key imperatives. For example, you can’t get a CNA job without being listed on your state’s registry, so let the recruiter know right up front that you’re on the state registry. Coupled with a few other key phrases, you’ll land an interview right off the bat with a strong objective statement.
No matter how great your resume is, it’s not going to be of much use if it can’t make it by the software many employers use to filter the initial round of applications when they post a job opening. Keywords are words and phrases the program looks for, and when it finds them, passes the resume on for further attention. No keywords – nobody sees your resume. So, use the objective to pad your resume with keywords important to a CNA candidate. Examples include registry, patient rights, safety, infection prevention, skills proficiency, patient care and reliable. Find the words in the ad for the job or in the job description on the facility’s website.
Use the objective to promote your strongest skills. While you’ll go into a little more depth farther down in the resume about your skills and qualifications, you can add a sentence or two to the objective to really play up your strongest points, while using the keywords to get past the scanners. For example, if you were really good at taking vitals in your classes, refer in the objective to your excellent technical patient care skills or your efficient nursing abilities. If you love the elderly, include a statement about your empathetic and compassionate personality.
Every resume you send out should contain a personalized objective statement. That’s where you want to show that you are truly interested in working for that particular facility and are not blanketing the market with your CV. Include the exact job position and the facility’s name in the first sentence. For instance: “Registered professional brings strong interpersonal skills to work as highly skilled CNA with the wonderful elderly residents at Grove Park Retirement Community.” Stick in a compliment if you can honestly say it and show that you’ve done a little research about the place. One more thing – check and double-check your spelling and grammar, especially when you write a new objective on every resume you create.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."