10 Tips For Writing Great Resumes

by Patti on June 1, 2012

in Advice for CNA's, Spot Light Series

Many CNA’s have resumes to help them secure employment. A resume is a marketing tool that presents you in the best possible light, for the purpose of getting invited to a job interview. A resume is NOT a job application nor does sending one guarantee a job. A well written resume will enhance your ability to get a job however.

1)Identify the problems of the potential employer: If you consistently see HELP WANTED ads in the paper for a facility, then this is a good clue that they have trouble with turnover. That, or you may know a new management team has just taken over the place. Maybe you have a friend or two who work for this nursing home and you get the inside scoop on what the problems are. A good thing to put into writing is how YOU can help CHANGE the problems. Be brief and to the point. “I have excellent conflict management skills” is a good phrase to use. Make sure you KNOW something about the facility you are hoping to get hired at. Cookie cutter resumes tend to get tossed into the trash because- well, they all look alike and show nothing different or above average in skills. YOU have to find out what these places NEED.

2)Keep TRACK of who gets resumes! I had a friend who went thru the yellow pages and sent resumes to every nursing home, assisted living home, hospital, and home health care company she could find. She did not write down which place she sent her resumes to- so she forgot- and mailed out more! And more! This is not only costly in terms of stamps, but its a good way to kill your chances for getting a job at the places that get your resume multiple times. So draw up a list of where you sent your resumes, what date….keep it organized.

OK onto the actual resume itself. Keep it simple. Do not  overdo it. One or two pages at most. This is a document to highlight your work experience. It’s not a novel about you.

Do not write your age, nationality, gender, religious beliefs- or your marital status or sexual preferences. It’s not necessary info and in fact could get your resume tossed. Hiring managers are not interested in diversity so much as they are SKILLS. Remember that.

It should be common sense but it’s not: Do not lie about previous job experiences. If you’ve been fired, say so. It’s always better to be honest and up front, than to always be worried the boss will find out you lied on your application. Which is a cause for immediate termination, by the way. Sure, the resume is not a application, but it is what gets you in for that initial interview.

3) There are two basic formats to use when writing resumes:
Chronological  and Functional
Choose the Chronological format if you’re staying in the same field.  A chronological format highlights your employment history. This format can work if you have a solid work history in a particular job or field and you’re planning on looking for a similar position.

Choose a Functional format if you’re changing fields, because a skills-oriented format shows off your transferable skills better and takes the focus off your old job-titles. A functional format highlights your skills. Use this format to show what you’re capable of doing, even if it’s not directly related to your work history. It’s the best choice if you’re changing careers.

4) White space: Lots of white space makes text easier to read. Text that’s too dense may discourage time-pressed readers from reading further.

5) Bullets

Bulleted text allows you to break down complex information into readable chunks, and also highlight key points. Hiring managers, DONs and others charged with reviewing resumes consistently say bullets really make resumes stand out.

6) Easy-to-read headings

Your reader should be able to quickly locate key areas on your resume, such as education, without extensive searching. To much text, all crammed together, will get your resume tossed.

7) Limited number of fonts

Use no more than two fonts styles—one for headings and the other for body text. More than that is distracting.

8) Selective use of bold

Use bold carefully and consistently. For example, if you bold the name of one nursing home or facility you’ve worked for, do it in all cases.

9) No underlining (except links)

Reserve underlined text for web links. If you need to emphasize something, use bold or a different font size instead. And CNAs, be careful what links you might place in a resume. Never link to your Facebook page or private web site.

10) Consistent spacing

Use the same amount of space before and after headings, between bullets, etc. This gives your resume a uniform look.

11) Better-quality paper (print)

For print resumes, use better-quality paper with a rag content of at least 25% and a watermark. The paper should be neutral in color- pale grays or off white. Never use brightly colored paper and never use funky colored fonts!



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