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CNA Interview Corner: Who Should You Choose as Your Reference when Interviewing?


When applying for a CNA job, references matter.

The right reference can be a deal breaker when it comes to whether or not a prospective employer makes an offer. You should have three to five solid references – not on your resume, but ready to go on a separate document that you can provide to a hiring manager if asked.

Who – and How – to Ask

Any professional person who can vouch for your competency and work ethic makes a solid reference. Be sure to select people who are can attest to both your skills and your character.

References can be coworkers, physicians, nursing supervisors or, if you’ve been out of school for less than a year, an instructor. Someone from a non-nursing job is acceptable as long as they can speak well about you and your work ethic.

If you need to find references, network.

Identify the people who could most help your career and direct your efforts toward them. Attend the same conferences and events, and be proactive about approaching and getting to know them better. Have a supply of your business cards with you.

Look for diverse references.

Each one should be able to speak to a different one of your strengths. This will provide employers with a well-rounded picture of you as a talented clinician and team player.

Get their permission first – not only to list them as references, but also to provide their current contact information.

You don’t want them to be caught off guard when an employer contacts them. And, this ensures that your reference will be comfortable saying positive things about you.

Supply references with a copy of your resume.

This serves as a reminder of your exact employment dates, job titles you’ve held, and specific duties and projects. Plus, you never know to whom your reference may be speaking. It could be someone who is looking to hire a CNA.

Give references a heads up when you supply a company with their names.

Fill them in on the details of the position for which you are applying, so they can refer to this information when they are called. Remind them of significant accomplishments and milestones that they can weave into the conversation.

Stay in touch.

Keep your references appraised of your job search progress. Stay connected to them via LinkedIn and other social media, as well as in person via an occasional email, coffee or lunch. Be sure to formally thank them with a note or letter if you land a job based on their recommendation.

Your references are a key resource to help sell you as a CNA candidate – and you need to keep selling yourself until you land your next great job. Contact MedicalPros Recruiting + Staffing for additional tips and advice, as well as access to the top CNA openings in the Northwest. Our experienced healthcare recruiters are committed to your success.

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