One question that we frequently get from nursing assistants is the following: does my resume have to be 1 page long? Sometimes the question is asked by younger CNA job candidates that have little to no work experience and are having a tough time figuring out a way to fill out a 1 page resume. Sometimes though it is asked by a nursing assistant that has 10+ years of work experience as a CNA at different jobs and they want to include all of their prior work experience on their resume.
So we get the same question from CNA candidates at the opposite ends of the work experience spectrum. So surely our advice has to be different to them. But guess what? Our answer is the same 95% of the time: CNA resumes should be 1 page long.
Submitting your resume is the first step, not the ONLY step, in the hiring process
When CNA job candidates are concerned about what length their resume should be, we always remind them to think back to what the purpose of submitting their resume is: to get the interview. Submitting your resume, cover letter and application is only the first step in trying to get the job. You won’t immediately get the job offer after this first step, no matter how much you blow them away with your resume and cover letter.
So if the purpose of your resume is to get the interview, how do you write your resume to make sure you increase your odds of getting an interview? By clearly demonstrating that you have the qualifications, certifications and skills required to be able to perform the job duties of the posted CNA job.
It’s easy to get caught up in the job application process and lose sight that there is more to the hiring process than just submitting your resume. There are no shortcuts in the job hiring process though. So when it comes to your resume, make sure your objective is getting the interview and you don’t overwhelm the resume reviewer with too much information. Which brings us to our next point…
For most CNA job candidates, your resume should not be a biography
Many CNA job candidates forget the objective of the resume when writing it and start wanting to basically give a biography on their resume. Don’t do this. You need to stay focused and provide targeted information about yourself for this specific CNA job. If your resume is longer than 1 page, we highly doubt you are doing this.
However, we don’t think younger candidates need to follow this advice. Why? Because the younger/less experienced candidates essentially need to give a biography just so they can fill out an entire page for their resume.
Younger candidates should try to get their resume to be close to 1 page long if possible. If that requires a little more biographical information, we are okay with this. A 1 page resume with a little biographical information is much better than a resume that is only 1/2 page long.
CNA job candidates that have enough work experience and other information to fill out a 1 page resume should not be giving a biography though. You don’t need to go over a page if you’re including unnecessary information like high school extracurricular activities from 15 years ago or you first job from 20 years ago. If you’re including this type of information and your resume is over a page, you need to go back and edit your resume. Ask yourself, does this really add value to my CNA job candidacy? If not, remove it.
All candidates need to remember that if there’s something that is really important to you from your past, you will have the opportunity to share it at your interview. For now though, make sure your focus is on being concise and conveying to HR or the hiring manager that you meet the qualifications and skills that warrants an interview.
Demonstrate concise but effective communication
Nurse aides need to be concise but effective when communicating on the job. Guess what? A 2 page resume doesn’t help prove that you have these skills. It shows that you have difficulty deciphering what is important and pertinent to the situation.
CNA’s have to be able to take notes and write down accurate but concise information about patients everyday. And they don’t always have a lot of time to do so. We’re not saying that you need to make everything on your resume as short as possible, but don’t use 2 pages to do something when you can get the job done (and more effectively) in 1 page.
Unfortunate truth: resumes are reviewed extremely quickly
Most studies estimate that HR and hiring managers on average review each resume for around 30 seconds or shorter. That is really quick!
Some CNA candidates think they will just include every possible detail about themselves on their resume and let the person reviewing their resume figure out what’s important and just ignore the rest. This doesn’t work though.
You want to make it as easy as possible on them to say yes to your resume. Including a bunch of unnecessary information doesn’t help this. In fact, if they get lost in your 2 page resume, there’s a strong chance they will just move on to the next candidate.
Resumes get reviewed very quickly, and honestly not everything on your resume gets read. However, younger/less experienced CNA job candidates still need to try and make their resume 1 page long if possible, even if all your content won’t get read. 1/2 page resumes often give HR just as much concern as resumes that are longer than 1 page. So even though resumes are reviewed quickly, make sure you try to fill up the page as much as possible.
Bottom line: 95% of CNA resumes should be 1 page long
1 page resumes are the optimal length for most CNA job candidates, whether you are young and have little work experience or you have several years or more of work experience. If you’re looking for more information or a sample of what we think a good 1 page resume should look like, check out this post on the basic structure of a CNA resume.
Just remember: the purpose of your submitting your resume is to help you get an interview, not an actual offer for the job. Keep you resume concise and focused on the CNA job you’re applying for, and you should have no trouble writing a 1 page resume.