How to write a standout senior caregiver resume
When you’re looking for a job as an adult or senior caregiver or home health aide, having a resume that highlights your strengths and your certifications can set you apart from the competition. Whether you’re applying to jobs via online sites like Care.com or finding prospects through word of mouth, it can be helpful to have printed copies of your resume to give to families or businesses during in-person interviews.
Your resume should include your skills, your relevant certifications and any training that you may have had. When all of your details are clearly laid out on your resume, it’s easier for someone who’s hiring to see that you’re an ideal choice for the job that they’ve posted.
“You always want your resume to align with the job duties and job description,” says Lorraine Rise, a certified professional resume writer and career coach based in the Washington, D.C. area, who is a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. “A resume shouldn’t read exactly like a job description but more like a response to a job description. Meaning, your resume should showcase how successfully you’ve done the duties listed in the description.”
Here’s what to include:
Begin with a professional caregiver summary
List your name and contact information — including an email address — at the top of your resume. Directly beneath your personal information, include a Professional Summary, which is a special section that highlights your qualifications as a caregiver. This section is essential because people who review resumes often only glance at each one for a few seconds to decide whether or not a candidate will be a good fit for the position. You’ll be more likely to land a job interview with a strong professional caregiver summary at the top.
“They should have a two-sentence paragraph, and in it, they should say the most important things that they want the hiring manager to know,” says Sharon Stern, an ACC-certified career coach based in the New York metropolitan area. “Say something like: ‘Energetic licensed nurse with experience working with the elderly,’ and anything else they feel is really important. If they’re fluent in Spanish or French, if they have CPR certification, it should go there.”
Name your specific skills and experience
Within your Experience section, list the skills that are unique to being a senior caregiver or home health aide, so that hiring families or managers will know that you have the background to do the job well.
Mention what you’ve done in each position that you’ve held, and give examples. Say that you help elderly or frail people to go about their daily functions, drive them to doctor appointments as needed, help them take medication, prepare meals for them, act as a companion, help them exercise, assist them with bathing/grooming and that you communicate concerns about their health to the supervisor.
You can also highlight some of your positive qualities, but don’t go overboard. It’s more useful to say that you’re strong enough to assist someone in and out of a wheelchair than that you’re cheerful.
“For home health aides, I believe that reliability, professionalism and sense of customer service are also critical to emphasize,” Rise says. “It’s a good idea to add a few soft skills — time management, organization — to the resume, but don’t over-rely on them.”
If you're drawing a blank on what skills you should include in your caregiver resume, an easy way to jog your memory is by seeing what other caregiver candidates are putting on theirs. You can do this a few ways:
- Talk to any friends who are caregivers and ask them what they've included on their resumes.
- Check out senior caregiver profiles on Care.com to see what they've listed on there.
- Read through senior caregiver job postings on sites like Care.com and Indeed.com and see what skills employers are looking for.
Include relevant personal experience
A caregiver resume is an excellent place to list any senior care experience that you may have had, even if you gained that experience by caring for an ailing relative.
“They should just write down exactly what they did — all those things like getting to appointments at the right time, being able to transport them, caring for their bodily needs and their showers,” Stern says. “They don’t need to mention that it was their father or their uncle.”
It's perfectly reasonable to list the family caregiving experience within the Experience section of your resume, even if you weren’t paid to care for a relative. “If it’s something that you did for an extended period of time, list it in a similar manner to your jobs,” Rise says. “If you took time off of work to do the caregiving, then you should definitely list it as a job.”
List all pertinent certifications
Are you certified in CPR and first-aid training? Do you have a current driver’s license? Do you have a nursing degree or other caregiver training or certification? Include all of these details in a Certifications section of your resume.
“For most other industries, these items would not be necessary, but for a home health/caregiver position, these are very relevant items,” Rise says. “Certifications also add credibility and competitiveness and demonstrate a commitment to the profession.”
Round it out with final details
Many employers want their senior caregivers to be high school graduates. If you’ve graduated, list this detail in an Education section within your resume.
“For home health aides, a high school diploma is typically necessary,” Rise says. “If you don’t have one, you can skip the Education section.”
If you’ve only been a caregiver for a few years, it’s OK to list jobs in other fields within your Experience section to show that you’ve been steadily employed for the past 15 years or so.
“People want to see what you did for all of those years,” Stern says. “As long as you worked, it’s good.”