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Dental Hygiene Resume Objectives that Fail

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In my opinion – and I think I’m safe because it’s shared with lots of resume writers – that section at the top of most dental hygiene resumes called “Objective” is by far the biggest waste of space on your entire resume.

Happy-at-computerAt least if you write it like many do.

The number one goal of a resume should be to stand out and be different. Unfortunately, objective statements too often read exactly the same: “To obtain a job in dental hygiene with a great office,” or something similar.

Isn’t that every applicant’s intent – how does that make you stand out?

Simply put, the objective statement on a resume is antiquated. And the worst crime of all is it’s located near the top of the resume – as though it’s one of the most important features.

There’s a better way to use that space that will help you differentiate yourself from other hygienists. So here are five guidelines or ideas for making the most of that space:

  • Give it a better title. Instead of “Objective” call it “About Me” or even “About Amber” (insert your own name)
  • Keep it at the top of the page, just below your name (it’s still important). When done right, this statement can help give an employer better insight about you than anything else on the page.
  • Keep it short. One to two sentences in most cases, and somewhere between 35 and 50 words. If you get too wordy they won’t read it.
  • Talk about your personal brand – the two or three things that make you especially unique or different (yes, everyone has a personal brand).
  • Talk about the type of work situation you seek. But do it in a way that continues to sell you. Between the lines an employer should be able to read that you will achieve results for them by working well with the staff and making patients happy.
  • Finally, one alternative, or possibly an add-on to the statement is to share a story of why you became a hygienist. Stories are both engaging and can give readers great insight into you. Just keep it short and with a point, then go into your brand the work situation you seek.

Simple as that, right?

Well, not everyone loves to come up with this stuff. So here are a couple samples to hopefully get you started:

Example One: “As a focused yet compassionate dental hygienist, I am confident in my skill and ability to create great patient experiences and look forward to working with a fun and awesome team of hard-working dental professionals.”

Example Two: “I became a dental hygienist because I loved how I felt after visiting my hygienist – she made me feel good inside and out. Now I get to do the same for others, sharing my love for oral health with a great team of compassionate professionals.”

Secret Weapon for Dental Hygienist Job Interviews

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It was 2002 and I was coming off what I thought was a pretty strong interview for a great job opportunity. I mailed off my “secret weapon” – a hand-written thank you card the day of my interview and crossed my fingers.

A couple days later I got a call from the employer. “We appreciate you coming in, but have offered the position to someone else. You interviewed strong and we noted your thank you card – no one else did that,” the employer said.

thank-youI was sad, but didn’t dwell on it and kept looking. Two days later something happened, and it wasn’t the first time in my career, nor was it the second.

For the third time in my career, I went from being rejected for a job to a few days later being offered that same job because the person ahead of me had a change of heart or circumstances.

Was it all because I sent thank you notes following job interviews? No, obviously other stars need to line up – you can write a beautiful thank you note and still be a lousy candidate (I’ve been in that boat, too).

But when you’re a strong candidate and things are pretty equal – as often is the case for dental hygienist job interviews – who would YOU hire: The five people who didn’t go the extra mile to send a thank you note, or the one person that did?

The only reason a thank you note after a dental hygienist job interview is a secret weapon is because most won’t do it. Here are five key elements for sending one:

When to Send?

Immediately after you interview. In fact it have it ready in your car, addressed and stamped so the employer can get it the next day. Alternatively, you could drop it off later that day or the next morning . The point is you want to get to them before the make a final decision. Some have used e-mail. It’s better than nothing, but not as good as a physical note.

Typed or Handwritten?

If you have bad handwriting (as in some say they can’t read it), I would type it. But handwritten always looks better, more personalized.

What kind of paper?

A small box of pre-printed thank you cards that look professional work great.

What should you include?

Your business card, if you have one.

What should you write?

This depends on your interview, so here are some scenarios, but keep it short and succinct (2-5 sentences).

Scenario 1: You feel like you may be lacking in a key area

Focus a comment or two on your biggest strength. Draw their attention away from the weakness. If you are certain you will not get an offer, then take a gamble and address it, coupled with how you will make up for it. Example: “I recognize I only have one year of professional experience, but I also have four years of dental assisting in my background and worked closely with the hygienist observing and learning during that time.”

Scenario 2: Things were left unsaid

Sometimes there are things you wish you would have been asked about because you had something really strong to say. A thank you card is a great way to share it.

Scenario 3: When everything went well

If you feel your interview was good then reinforce your strengths. Example: “Thank you for the opportunity to interview with you today. You mentioned the importance of finding someone nurturing for your patients. My co-workers have said, my strengths include treating patients like family. I think you have a wonderful office, and I would love to help continue the success you have achieved.”

Think Outside Your Dental Hygiene Resume

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It’s been fun coming up with great ways for dental hygienists to market themselves for a job over the years. Whether it’s postcards, video resumes, digital resumes (websites), or testimonial sheets – it’s all about making YOU stand out and look professional. Today, I’m pleased to announce a new idea for you to consider. Actually, […]

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Problematic Dental Hygienist Resume Information

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Last week I talked about the two most important things dental employers want in an RDH candidate. I promised this week I would cover things they wish you would put on your dental hygienist resume that you might NOT want included. I’m not aware of anything illegal about these things they want, but recognize that […]

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What Employers Want in Dental Hygiene Job Seekers

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A couple months ago I posted an article entitled “The Perfect Dental Hygiene Resume” and got lots of great feedback. Curiously, some of it came from dentists, which while unexpected is awesome. I recall one dentist made several interesting suggestions, but a few of them were not necessarily to your advantage. There’s a subtle game […]

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5 Things to Avoid the Day of Your Job Interview

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I recently went through some mock interviews with new dental hygienists and real interviews with individuals applying to be my assistant. It’s made me reflect on all the interviews I’ve been in on over the years and some of the interesting experiences they have given me. So this week’s tips are five things you want […]

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The Number One Way to Find RDH Jobs

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I need to be careful not to give you all the wrong idea. Job boards are extremely important – lots and lots of hygienists find jobs that way. They are easy to use, convenient and often packed with features. You can’t ignore them. But there is another way to find RDH jobs too many seekers […]

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Give Your RDH Resume a Design that Grabs Eyeballs

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There are lots of things you learn in dental hygiene school – techniques, instrumentation, treatments, oral anatomy, to name just a few categories. By and large, I think schools do a good job of teaching the trade of dental hygiene. But in my experience and informal research, they don’t teach much a lot about putting […]

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Punctuating Your RDH Resume with Clarity

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The other day, while assembling a ping pong table, I was reminded of one of life’s great lessons – don’t overlook the small stuff. As I was following the instructions, there was a section where I read the first sentence, looked at the diagram, and charged ahead with the next two or three assembly steps […]

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What’s Your Unfair Advantage?

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The other day I was at the store picking out some fruit (apples). There were several varieties on display and dozens to choose from of each variety. My family likes the Gala variety and they are inexpensive, so I often go for those when I’m the one shopping (Tracie and I trade off). At first […]

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