Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2018 05 Whiteleythumb

Tips to writing first resume, part 2: Leaving a good impression as a dental hygienist

May 21, 2018
In this article, we will continue with other ideas to make your first resume as a dental hygienist one that leaves an impression with hiring managers.

"A resume that simply lists tasks assigned is not
helpful. Most of us know what a server, cashier,
dental assistant, or hygienist does."

By Julie Whiteley, BS, RDH

Last month, in part one of this series, we talked about some strategies that new or newer graduates can use to write a professional resume that sets you apart from other candidates. In this article, we will continue with other ideas to make your first RDH resume one that leaves an impression with hiring managers.

Showcase awards: Think about awards or recognition you have received either at school or in a work setting. Perhaps you got a scholarship based on academics or leadership. Maybe it was a promotion at the job you balanced while you were attending school. Share those victories! They are a part of your story and showcase the type of person you are.

List more than tasks: Use words to describe how you have done your jobs. A resume that simply lists tasks assigned is not helpful. Most of us know what a server, cashier, dental assistant, or hygienist does.

What a hiring manager wants to know is what you brought to the tasks of that job. Simply listing duties like “assisted the dentist with restorative procedures, helped with the front desk, responsible for sterilization area and ordering supplies” doesn’t say anything special about you.

If you say, “performed all aspects of 4-handed dentistry, kept current with new materials and procedures, professional and compassionate chairside manner, used excellent time management and multitasking skills to ensure the operatory ran as smoothly as possible, developed an inventory system to more effectively order and track supplies, managed sterilization area in a busy multi-provider office using most current OSHA and CDC standards, work well independently and as part of a team, cross-trained on front desk procedures and voluntarily assist when the need arises” leaves a much more lasting impression in the mind of the reader.

Bear in mind that you always need to be truthful when describing your experience and skills.

Avoid system overload: Lastly, try to keep your resume as “clean” as possible. Stick to simple fonts and use a layout that is easy to read. I prefer categories with bullet points underneath. Readers can sometimes get lost in long paragraphs.

When you send a resume electronically, a pdf file is recommended. Otherwise, your format may become jumbled. Be especially thorough in checking your spelling and grammar. Your resume will be a first impression about you and your work style, so you want to present at your best.

Remember that your resume will evolve over time. This doesn’t mean that you need to update it every time you add a new skill. I would suggest keeping a file of job descriptions, projects, results, positive patient experiences, recognition, accomplishments, continuing education/certification highlights, and the like so that when it comes time for an update, all you need will be right at your fingertips.

This process can feel overwhelming at first, but I’ve observed that once new graduates start pulling this information together, they realize something pretty wonderful. They have more experience than they realized and that they have so much to offer a prospective employer. There is something very rewarding about getting that first resume done and seeing all that you have done on paper. You have so much to be proud about and you are only at the beginning of your journey!

Julie Whiteley, BS, RDH, is both a registered dental hygienist and a certified human resources specialist. She holds degrees in business administration and dental hygiene, and has worked extensively in both fields. She is also on the faculty of Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University. She bridges her knowledge and experience from business, clinical hygiene, and teaching to deliver information and programs that enhance dental practices.