Nursing homes employ various kinds of health care professionals, including nurses, physical therapists and caregivers, in addition to workers who might be needed in any residential facility: cooks, housekeeping staff, security guards, receptionists and managers. If you feel called to serve in this field, a well-crafted nursing home resume is the key to getting in the door.
This writing guide, along with the nursing home resume examples it contains, will cover everything you need to know about creating this essential job application document:
- What does a nursing home worker do?
- How to write a nursing home resume
- The five essential components of a nursing home resume
- Best format for a nursing home resume
What does a nursing home worker do?
Nursing home workers are needed to address all aspects of the care of aging clients. Also known as retirement homes and assisted-living facilities, nursing homes offer various levels of assistance, some catering to seniors who are mostly independent and some offering more intensive care to those who are bed-ridden or otherwise incapacitated.
Nurses, CNAs and nurse’s aides are commonly employed by these facilities, as are personal caregivers who may help clients with mobility, bathing, dressing and eating. Physical therapy and rehabilitation specialists are also needed to guide residents through recovery from injuries or illness, or to lead the healthy in exercises aimed at preventing physical and cognitive decline.
Some nursing homes have full-time doctors on staff, while others have doctors on call or physicians who visit the facility on a part-time basis. Some nursing homes have drivers who transport clients to doctor’s appointments or other outings.
Nursing homes serve three meals a day to their clients, so they employ cooks, servers, dishwashers and other food service workers. They also need janitors and housekeepers to clean common areas and residents’ rooms, as well as laundry workers to wash sheets and clothes.
Security guards, groundskeepers, maintenance workers, medical receptionists and management staff are also needed at nursing homes.
How to write a nursing home resume
Nursing home workers need big reservoirs of empathy, compassion and patience, as well as a stomach for doing unpleasant chores that most people wouldn’t want to do. These qualities should be highlighted prominently in any nursing home resume in the appropriate section.
Speaking of which, there are five essential sections in any resume:
- Resume header
- Employment history
So you have just five things to write, which doesn’t sound so bad. The challenge is making all five fit on one page, and it’s strongly recommended that your resume not exceed one page. Let’s talk about how to do that.
Resume header: Who you are and how to reach you
The header is an attractively designed element at the top of the page that contains your name, occupation, address, phone number and email. Some people add a photo, and you can also add your LinkedIn profile or another link to a site that highlights your professional qualifications and experience.
The header is the easiest part of the resume to write and the hardest to design. A good header is carefully crafted in an attractive font and varying font sizes, with good spacing, a sense of visual balance and perhaps an accent color.
Unless you’re an expert page designer, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and potential errors by using a pre-designed layout. Take a moment to review some of our 300+ occupation-specific resume examples and writing guides at Resume.io, and you’ll find a wealth of header designs to choose from. Click on one you like, and our builder tool will guide you through the simple steps to making it your own.
Once your header is in place, you have just four things left to do….
Nursing home resume summary example
The resume summary, also known as a profile and sometimes as a job objective, is a short but carefully written statement under the header that describes what you do and why you do it well.
The summary will often mention your years of experience in the field, the education and training that qualifies you for the job, and the job-critical skills at which you excel. But isn’t that what the rest of the resume is about, experience, education and skills? Yes, but the summary gives you a unique opportunity to highlight your “greatest hits,” your primary qualifications, in the language of your choice, and in sentence form rather than in bullet lists.
We mentioned that compassion, empathy and patience are all qualities that should be highlighted in a nursing home resume. The summary is an excellent place to describe these kinds of intangible traits that are so important to those who make hiring decisions at nursing homes.
Optimizing for ATS: How to beat the bot
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are software programs that most larger employers use to green-light resumes that contain crucial keywords and reject those that don’t. These keywords are terms that describe essential qualifications for any open job, and they are input into the ATS by the employer.
When the job is posted and resumes start rolling in, they are fed into the ATS, which searches them to see if they contain the necessary keywords. Resumes that contain none of these words are likely to be rejected automatically without any human review. But resumes containing text that closely matches the stated job qualifications will rise like cream to the top of the pile.
This is why it’s essential to read job listings closely and make sure your resume mentions the skills the employer is seeking. It’s also why you should customize your resume for each employer.
Take a look at the summary from our adaptable nursing home resume sample:
Highly capable and compassionate Nursing Home Assistant with experience providing optimal assistance and care to residents in collaboration with other staff members. Committed to ensuring the highest level of care and support through best practices.
Resume employment history example: Your track record
The crucial employment history section is a listing of the jobs you’ve held in the past, starting with the name and location of the company, your job title and the years you worked there.
Under each employer, include a bullet list of your responsibilities and achievements on the job. Be specific, using facts and figures wherever possible, and use strong action verbs to describe what you actually did at these jobs. Avoid saying “Was responsible for” and instead emphasize your actual accomplishments and successes.
If you have a long work history, you don’t need to list every job you’ve ever had, especially those in the remote past that have nothing to do with the role you’re currently seeking. But if there are significant gaps in time between the jobs you do list, employers may wonder about this.
Gain more insight from our nursing home resume example:
Nursing Home Assistant, Hillsdale Nursing Home, New York
November 2017 - June 2021
- Assisted residents with all care needs including bathing, dressing, and eating.
- Handled medication management plans, wound care, and all aspects of physical assistance.
- Engaged with residents and acted as a physical, emotional, social, and mental support for them.
- Worked collaboratively with the entire Nursing team to ensure the highest level of patient care and satisfaction.
- Maintained a clean and safe environment for patients to thrive in.
Home Care Nurse, Edgewood Living, Newark
May 2014 - October 2017
- Provided one-to-one compassionate and thorough care for all patients.
- Followed all physician orders and carried out patient care plans with precision.
- Remained up-to-date and familiar with emergency procedures and equipment.
- Notified the supervisor of any changes in patient health and stability.
Nursing home resume education sample
In the education section, list the universities, colleges and/or trade schools you’ve attended, along with any certifications you’ve received that are relevant to nursing home work.
Name the institution, where it’s located, the degree you earned and the years you attended. If you have specific educational achievements worth highlighting, like a stellar GPA or membership in an academic honors society, list these in bullet points under each one.
If you have a postsecondary degree, it’s generally not considered necessary to mention where you went to high school, though it does no harm if you have room.
Check out this adaptable education section from our nursing home resume sample:
Bachelor of Science in Biology, Manhattan College, New York
September 2011 - May 2015
High School Diploma, Yonkers High School, Yonkers
September 2007 - May 2011
Resume skills section example: Where you excel
Every resume should contain a list of job-related skills that will be of interest to the employer. This list should include a mix of hard skills and soft skills.
Hard skills are specific, job-related technical capabilities acquired through education, training and experience, like the ability to move patients from beds to wheelchairs, to administer injections or to lead group physical therapy sessions. Soft skills are more intangible people-related talents, like being a good listener, an effective communicator and a compassionate caregiver.
Here’s the skills section from our resume sample:
- Multitasking Skills
- Time Management Skills
- Interpersonal Communication Skills
- Patient Care
- Medical Knowledge and Terminology
Best format for a nursing home CV
Resume format is another critical consideration in creating a nursing home CV. (And CV or curriculum vitae, by the way, is simply what most countries outside the U.S. and Canada call a resume.)
One important format consideration is the order in which you list your past jobs and schools. By far the most popular, and usually the most advisable, is reverse chronological order (sometimes, oddly, referred to as chronological order). This means you list your current or last job first and your first job last.
If you’ve had a more or less traditional medical career path, working your way up in your occupation from lower-ranking to higher-ranking jobs, then listing them in reverse chronological order allows you to put your latest and most impressive job first (rather than your first job as a teenager at Burger King).
Another option is the functional resume format, where past jobs are grouped under categories that emphasize specific skills and types of experience. This option can be the best choice for those who have followed a non-traditional career path, who have spent a lot of time as a freelancer or contractor, who have big gaps in their employment history or whose recent work experience is in a totally different field.
Resume layout and design
Other critical formatting decisions include layout and design, which determine the look and feel of your resume. You can write perfect text for your resume and then totally botch the job by poor design choices that make it look terrible.
There are many design decisions to make when creating a resume, including fonts, font sizes, text alignment, margins, achieving an eye-pleasing balance and making judicious use of white space. And again, unless you’re a whizbang page designer, your best bet is to use a pre-designed resume template where these choices have already been made for you.
- Nursing home workers need an abundance of empathy, compassion and patience, and their resumes should reflect these qualities.
- Nursing home resumes should generally be one page only, but must contain five essential components that contain all the necessary information and nothing that’s extraneous.
- Resumes should be optimized for electronic ATS gatekeepers, and should be customized for each job application.
- Resumes should be formatted and designed so that they look as good as they read, and the simplest way to make that happen is to use a professionally designed, field-tested resume template.
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