If you're just starting out in your career as a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, you're probably eager to find a full-time job with competitive pay and excellent benefits. Finding a job in general isn't difficult, but landing one that suits your needs is a bit trickier. Thanks to the great pay and superior benefits that are involved, many CNAs aspire to work for the government. Such jobs are much less plentiful than RN positions, but they are still out there. From federal correctional facilities to VA hospitals, many CNAs work for government agencies and facilities. It may take some time, but you can most likely land a government CNA job with persistence, patience, and the right skills.
Top 5 Tips for Finding Government Jobs as a CNA
Keep the following tips in mind to increase your odds of working for the government as a CNA:
- Get Some Experience - Because they're so highly coveted, government CNA jobs typically go to people with decent amounts of experience in the field. Therefore, it's generally best to work a job in the private sector first and to later apply for government jobs. By that time, you will have plenty of points to list on your resume, which will dramatically increase your odds of being hired.
- Check Listings on USAJobs.gov - The quickest, easiest way to see which government CNA jobs are available in your area is by checking listings on USAJobs.gov, the official website for job openings with the U.S. government. It's also a great resource for discovering how much these professionals are paid and the types of benefits they enjoy.
- Write an Effective Resume - Since you'll be competing with so many others for government CNA jobs, you need to find ways to make yourself stand out. One of the best ways to do so is with an excellent resume. Many people really skimp when writing theirs, so take your time. Better still, hire someone to write it for you. If you're allowed to include a cover letter, do that too. Customize it to reflect the unique characteristics of the agency you're applying to work for.
- Be Persistent - All too often, CNAs apply for government jobs once, get no response, and never apply again. The fact of the matter is most government workers applied several times - sometimes dozens or even hundreds - before landing interviews. Persistence is crucial if you're serious about finding a government job as a CNA, so keep applying even if you are hired elsewhere. Eventually, you might just land that interview.
- Be Patient - This tip goes hand-in-hand with the last one. Very few government workers applied and were hired for their jobs quickly. Even if you land an interview, you can expect to wait quite a while before hearing anything back. With that being said, though, be sure to ask. Many times, government agencies have strict protocols regarding their hiring practices. It's much more reassuring to know roughly when you can expect to hear back about a job than to be left hanging.
Even if you have a lot of experience, excellent skills, and many other positive traits, there are no guarantees when it comes to finding a government job as a CNA. Regardless of the circumstances, you can expect your search to take a long time, and it will be frustrating at times too. By sticking with it, however, you could eventually land a great government job.