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Four tips from mentors about a dental hygiene career

May 22, 2017
Elicia Lupoli, RDH, has four suggestions for graduates embarking on a dental hygiene career.

By Elicia Lupoli, RDH, BSDH

You will undoubtedly become an expert in the clinic. I have faith in you, and you should too. I would like to share some tips for your future as a registered dental hygienist that I have collected from mentors, work experience, and just thinking, “I should have done that.”

1. Establish a portfolio

Had I done this during and after graduation, I would have saved myself countless hours trying to put years of education and career life into something tangible for prospective employers.

The portfolio is a collection of your professional life, which began the day you stepped into your first university class and ends when you retire!

It can include photos and video, list of per diem assignments (including any advanced technology or software you utilized), all your hiring/ending dates of health-care related employment, and your past/current job descriptions to avoid putting the generic one/two-word job description “RDH” or “Dental Hygienist” on applications.

You may see an ad for your dream job that requires filling out a ten-page application, and it’s easy to procrastinate when you don't have all the information at your fingertips.

2. Resume/CV

Have more than one and always use a cover letter, even if the employment ad does not request it. You may also include your references, which shows confidence and preparedness. I have always used a resume for private practice, but when I applied for other types of positions, a CV afforded me with an interview.

3. Letters of recommendation

Ask for a letter of recommendation anytime you are schooled or employed in the health-care field. Ask your professors now while they are easily reachable, and your good work is fresh in their minds. You can create your own generic version and have them sign it, or ask them to write one.

Use LinkedIn for additional references. In his course called Beyond the Operatory, Dr. Tony Stefanou states, “Many companies look at your LinkedIn accounts to scope out candidates first.” Check your Facebook and other social media pages as well to ensure the image you portray there reflects what you want to be known for in business.

4. Generational

If you are a millennial, use that to your benefit! Employers are starting to target employees who display social media savvy to manage internal Internet marketing, including writing blogs. If you know the ways of PCs and Macs, Microsoft Office, and social media platforms, include that on your resume/CV.

Lastly, if you are to take on this role, inquire about additional compensation. It may already be a line item in their marketing budget.

Elicia Lupoli, RDH, BSDH is a Fones School of Dental Hygiene graduate and the owner of the Facebook Page, “Dental Hygiene in Connecticut.” Elicia is an advocate for mentorship throughout dental hygiene and is always active in volunteering events throughout her state. To contact her by email, [email protected].