Digitize your job hunting approach

July 22, 2014
According to her boss, my wife Tracie did three things to land a great dental hygiene job in 2010. In fact, the office was so impressed that they never even posted the job opening. They met and hired her on the spot!

By Doug Perry

According to her boss, my wife Tracie did three things to land a great dental hygiene job in 2010. In fact, the office was so impressed that they never even posted the job opening. They met and hired her on the spot!

The first article that I wrote a few weeks ago discussed how we created and sent a postcard advertising her availability for temporary and permanent opportunities. This article will focus on the second one. In a few weeks I’ll write about the third one. If you can’t wait, just shoot me an e-mail ([email protected]) and I will share it with you.

The Digital Resume

When I started thinking about all the different ways I could help Tracie market herself to get a dental hygiene job, lots of things came to mind. But one of the first was to create a digital resume, which is a website that is an expanded version of a paper resume.

Only problem was I didn't have much of a background in website design. Those guys have a special skill set and charge thousands of dollars to build a website. I have always hired that work out during my years of working in marketing. But technology changes fast, and I did some research, seeing if there were any new options for a person like me who just wanted to create a simple website.

To my delight, there are several emerging web design tools and “platforms” for this. Many people use one in particular, WordPress. Not only that, but they were doing it at no cost. I found a few other options, too, but WordPress seemed to be the most prominent and it was hard to resist anything free.

So I created an account and, without getting into all the technical details of setting it up (which weren’t too bad, but even easier now), had a pretty decent website up and running that same day — well, decent as far as 2010 standards. I haven’t touched it in several years because my wife has been happily employed.

That site really helped to win over several potential employers. Along with her job offer, she received lots of praise and positive feedback from other offices.

Why A Digital Resume?

Again, as far as websites go, there's nothing fancy about it. At first, I just chalked it up as novelty or curiosity. It was something different, new, and unique — employers had never been invited to check out a dental hygiene job candidate’s website before, so, of course, they would click that link. It was an attention-grabber.

Since then, I've come to recognize two more important reasons you should consider a digital resume in your job-hunting plans.

First, no one wants to interview or hire someone they know nothing or very little about. Recent research indicates that 92% of all hiring managers admit they Google the names of those they are interested in interviewing.

Printed resumes — even nicely designed and written ones like we do at Get Hired RDH — are not that helpful in really getting to know who a person is.

A digital resume, on the other hand, gives you extra space to go deeper and share more about you. There are lots of things you can add that either won’t fit on a paper resume or are not traditionally appropriate for that format (I will mention some of those below).

Second, we like to make inferences about each other. When we don’t really know much about a person, we take what we do know and make educated guesses about that person to help us complete the picture in our minds. Even more interestingly, we tend to like to size people up quickly. Call it a survival instinct or whatever you want, it’s just what we do.

So when a dental employer sees a potential employee they’ve never met go the extra mile to create things such as stellar-looking resumes, postcards, and websites they are immediately impressed and begin to create inferences.

“This resume and website are really impressive. They obviously put extra time or expense into them. They are probably the type of person the goes the extra mile on things. They will probably go the extra mile for our practice,” an employer might subconsciously reason.

Simply put, digital resumes give you stronger connections with potential employers and a great wow factor — the ability to surprise and delight. As many dental hygienists on paper look very similar, digital resumes and postcards are great ways to take marketing you well beyond the traditional paper resume.

Here’s a few tips for creating a digital resume

1. Fear factor This isn't nearly as intimidating as you might suppose. Stop yourself from thinking, "There's no way I can do that," and just start looking into it. I started out thinking that in 2010 but can actually whip out a digital resume for someone pretty fast (couple hours).

Believe in yourself. Anyone who can graduate from the intensity of dental hygiene school can handle this too. There are lots of video tutorials to help you out. In fact, last year I created one, showing you how to create the outline of a basic (free) WordPress site in about 10 minutes. Click here to watch part 1 (5 min) and click here to watch part 2 (5 min).

2. What to include — Build it very similar to a paper resume with sections for work experience, skills, education, and contact information. But you can also include an "About Me" page, a memberships and participation page, continuing education and licensure page, and a testimonials or references page. You can also add pictures of you in different settings doing different things, or a picture of the office you work or have worked at or even a picture of the college you graduated from. These all help create connections with people.

3. The cost — You can build a free one through WordPress still (just as I did in 2010) or you can spend just a little $20 to $160) and get one that blows people away, like the one I created for a client (see Also, If you don’t mind paying a little bit, purchase your own address, as Debby did — it's just an added touch of professionalism.

4. Privacy concerns — Get a free Google Voice phone number that routes calls made to it to your main cell phone number. Then just publicize the Google Voice number and keep your number and mailing address private — no need to share that information on your website.

5. If you build it, they will come — Once you get the site built, it’s time to promote it. Add the address to your printed resume, business cards, postcards, and even as part of your e-mail signature line. Include it in your social media profile pages (especially if you have a LinkedIn account).

Also, mention it in your cover letter and in e-mails where you are applying for jobs. Add something like, “I would for an opportunity to further discuss my qualifications for this job opening. In the meantime, check out my digital resume at

In summary, do allow yourself to be bound by the traditional methods of finding a dental hygiene job. There are so many ways to put yourself out there these days and they are getting better, easier to implement and less expensive.

Doug and Tracie Perry are co-authors of the 2012 e-book “Landing a Great Dental Hygiene Job. Together, they own, a career website for dental hygienists, where Doug writes new tips each week and offers his dental job marketing expertise as well as one-on-one coaching, resume writing, and several other related services.