Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. This Chinese proverb may be hundreds of years old, but CNA’s currently looking for a job would be wise to listen to this message when writing or updating their resumes.
We briefly covered this in another recent post, but we are still getting requests to post sample CNA resumes so we thought it was worth repeating: stop trying to copy sample CNA resumes! (By the way, when we say copy in this article, we mean taking large pieces of content and only changing a few words out to reflect you experience.)
You may complete your resume quicker by essentially copying a sample CNA resume, but you are really doing more harm than good when you use this approach. Your work experience, educational/training experience and everything else about your candidate profile is unique to you.
There’s no need to try and replicate another person’s resume. Yes, you might be able to apply bits and pieces of what they have used to your resume, but there is no quick 30 minute solution to writing your CNA resume. It takes some time and effort to get it right, but once you do it is worth it!
3 reasons why copying a sample CNA resume is a mistake
1) The sample CNA resume was not written for your unique background
Or you could look at it as though it was written for a specific CNA candidate, but that candidate was not you! Even if the sample CNA resume you use has similar work and training experience as you, you are not going to be able to just switch out a few words and have a great resume.
HR can spot a copied resume from a mile away. Whenever candidates use a sample resume and just change out a few words, it doesn’t come across as natural or genuine. It usually feels forced and like they either a) copied a sample resume or b) can’t effectively communicate what they did at their prior jobs.
2) The sample CNA resume was not written for the specific job you are applying for
Most CNA jobs have similar job duties, but this doesn’t mean they are all the same. Each resume and application you submit should be targeted for that specific job. And copying a sample resume is not going to help you achieve this.
Candidates looking for a CNA job at a hospital may want to focus more on their organizational skills, working on large projects in a team setting and process flow skills. Meanwhile, candidates looking for a CNA job at a nursing home may want to emphasize their communication skills, customer service skills and patience in difficult and stressful situations.
Our point is that most sample resumes are written for a generic CNA position, but you are not applying for a generic CNA position. You are applying for a specific job that requires specific qualifications and skills from its candidates. It would be a mistake to not tailor your resume to fit the job posting.
You are going to spend so many hours studying and working to get your CNA certification, why not spend just a little more time and effort and ensure that your resume reflects how great of a candidate you are for this specific job? Trust us, it will all be worth it in the end.
3) What if other candidates are using the same sample CNA resume?
Imagine the following scenario. You find a sample CNA resume and it’s a great resume. It follows the correct basic structure of a resume, the formatting is great and the content is very similar to you past work experience. Might as well use it and save some time right?
Well what if another candidate finds the same sample CNA resume and also uses it? Both of your resumes get submitted for the same job and your profiles look eerily similar. What do you think the person reviewing your resume is going to think?
They might just focus on the content and evaluate your credentials. Or they might think to themselves, well if they were willing to come very close to basically copying a sample resume, how do I know all of the content is accurate and truthful? How do they know you won’t just copy other people’s documents at work? Will you be able to communicate effectively at work without having to rely on other peoples wording?
There’s no need top put any doubt in the mind of the person reviewing your resume. Don’t risk the chance of this happening. Healthcare organizations are overly cautious when it comes to hiring people they can trust. Any red flag could cause them to remove your application from consideration.
Sample resumes should not be used to write the content on your resume. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use sample resumes at all. In fact, here’s 3 times we think sample resumes are helpful.
3 reasons you should use a sample CNA resume
1) Resume formatting and layout
Formatting and designing the layout of your resume should not be overly difficult, but it it very important. Unfortunately, if you screw this up bad enough, it could cost you an interview. Even if the content on your resume is exceptional.
Sample CNA resumes can help to show you what your final layout and formatting should look like. Just don’t get caught up in the content of a sample resume. It can be very tempting to look at a sample resume for the formatting, and then all of a sudden you’re copying entire bullet points of the resume because it sounds like your past experiences too. That’s why we recommend writing all you content first, and then formatting you resume.
2) Brainstorm for adjectives, verbs and other great CNA targeted words
Never copy entire bullet points. You should also never copy entire bullet points and only change a couple of words. This is very close to plagiarism and there’s just no need to do it.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t identify some of the adjectives, verbs and other words that are targeted specifically at drawing the attention of CNA recruiters. The key to doing this though is just identifying the powerful CNA words, not using entire bullet points or phrases.
Our recommendation on how to do this is to do the following: get some sample CNA resumes and highlight all adjectives one color, highlight all verbs a second color and any other powerful CNA words a third color.
Now go back through and pick out any words that you think describe yourself or your previous work experience. You now have some great adjectives and verbs to use on your resume, but the rest of the content will be in your words.
This is a great way to help find the right CNA power words to use on your resume without plagiarizing, whether it was done intentionally or accidentally.
3) Preparing for your interview
First of all, writing your own resume is the best way to prepare for your interview. It helps you to be able to remember your resume like the back of your hand when you are feeling stressed in the interview and can’t seem to recall all the answers you had prepared. You won’t be stumbling over your words or trying to remember what you put on your resume if you actually take the time to write it yourself.
However, studying sample CNA resumes can help you prepare for your interview as long, as you study them AFTER you complete your resume. Looking over other CNA resumes will help get you in the right mindset of what a successful CNA looks like in the real world. Even though you have just completed your CNA training program and gotten your CNA certification, it is still easy to forget what CNA’s do day to day.
That’s why we recommend finding CNA’s in the real world and look over their prior CNA work experience. One of the easiest ways to do this it to find other CNA’s on LinkedIn and just look over other CNA profiles. What did they achieve that makes them a good CNA? What can you apply from their CNA job duties to your interview?
You are a uniquely qualified CNA candidate and your resume should reflect that
Copying a sample CNA resume is not productive and it’s a big risk to take. If the person reviewing your resume figures out what you did, it most likely means the end of your candidacy for the job. But even if you don’t get caught copying a sample resume, you are not adequately preparing yourself for the interview.
It may seem like more work right now, but trust us when we say it is less work in the long run if you just take the time to write your own resume. This certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get help on your resume. (And we think this blog series is a pretty good place to start ;))
We will be posting sample CNA resumes in the coming weeks, but we really hope CNA job candidates don’t use them the wrong way. Sample resumes can serve value, but only when used properly. So please take the time to write your resume the right way the first time and don’t just copy a generic sample resume. We think you will greatly increase your odds of blowing them away in the interview and getting the job if you do!