Putting in the time, effort and resources to earn an NHA certification can say something about your character and your capabilities. But how do you let people (especially hiring managers) know about your hard work and meaningful achievement?
We put together some tips to help you talk about your certification — both on your resume and in an interview — to empower you to make the most of your NHA certification.
Adding Your Certification to Your Resume
Adding your certification at the top of your resume (following your name) can help you stand out — especially if a nationally-accredited credential is listed as required or preferred in the job posting. Here's a format to follow:
Your Name, Degree (if you have one), Credentials Earned
If you're adding these credentials by your name, you'll also want to call them out further down on the page so that you can provide more details about your achievements. These details help the hiring manager understand what your certification represents. Create a section near the top titled "Certifications" or "Certifications and Licensure" (not all allied health professions require a state license) to group your NHA certifications and similar achievements.
Here are some details about your certification to include:
- Your certification title with the acronym in parentheses
- The name of the organization from which you received your credentials
- A description based on categories in your certification's test plan
- You may also want to add a link to your test plan PDF if you're submitting your resume online
- If you have recertified multiple times, list the length of time you have been certified
Here's an example of what your certification on your resume may look like:
Remember, your resume isn't just about your certification. Hiring managers are looking at many factors when they assess candidates including experience, training, skills and professionalism. Each job you apply for is a little different and each application you complete should be customized to that specific position.
Talking About Your Certification in an Interview
As important as it is to have your certification on your resume, it's also crucial to be able to explain what it means to others.
In an interview, you can describe the eligibility requirements you met (either through training or work experience) to sit for your NHA certification exam. You can also share what tasks are covered in your certification exam and how you are required to complete continuing education to maintain your certification.
Passing an NHA certification exam comes after you've acquired a set of skills and base of knowledge, but you shouldn't assume having a certification will tell your story for you. One way to craft your personal story is to emphasize how the skills and knowledge you built as you worked toward certification are relevant to the job you are applying for.
Maintaining a folder of accomplishments, or "Brag Book" can be a great tool to use during the interview process. Documents such as your certification, academic and/or professional recognitions, and a nice copy of your resume are a few examples to include, but there may be others. Be familiar with these documents and accomplishments so you can speak to their significance during your interview. The interviewer may not ask to see these things, but you'll be extra prepared!
NHA has awarded over 750,000 allied certifications since 1989 and is one of the largest certifying bodies in the country for allied health professionals.
However, within the full landscape of healthcare certifications and licenses, employers may have varying levels of familiarity with different certifying organizations. A hiring manager may prefer candidates with NHA certifications while others might not be aware of NHA yet. If you encounter the latter, here are some things you could include in your discussion:
- All NHA certification exams are nationally-accredited through NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies)
- Every two years you must complete Continuing Education (CE) credits to maintain your certification and keep you up-to-date
- All NHA certification holders must meet certain eligibility requirements in order to take their exam
- This could be a good opportunity for you to talk about the training or work experience you had that made you eligible to sit for a certification exam
For jobs where a certification isn't required or preferred, you could talk about how earning your certification...
- Required you to have more training or real-world work experience.
- Shows you have a special commitment to healthcare, and wanted to go above and beyond to prepare to enter your chosen profession.
- Demonstrates you are responsible and disciplined enough to prepare for and follow through with completing a rigorous certification process.
Certification is Just One Part of Your Professional Story
Success in the job search isn't just about your certification. Employers are evaluating your skills and experience, and are trying to determine if you are the right fit for their organization.
While certification can help you craft your personal story or "pitch", there are other skills to work on before you submit your application. Research the organization you're applying to. Customize your application to align with what that specific employer is looking for. Practice answering some of the more common healthcare interview questions and be prepared to answer practical profession-specific questions. Get comfortable talking about yourself and your experiences – including your certifications.
Although your certification is only a piece of your story, being able to highlight it on your resume and speak about it in an interview can help you demonstrate your commitment, professionalism and willingness to take that extra step in your career. Now it's time for you to start your job search!