The most effective clinical dental hygiene resumes begin with great format. Sadly, there’s not a lot of good information out there pertaining specifically to dental hygiene resumes.
This week I want share with you the most effective format for a dental hygiene resume and it’s really pretty simple.
The Three Formats
There are three types of resumes – reverse chronological, functional, and some variations or hybrids of those two.
Reverse chronological is the most common among all professions, displaying your work history near the top in reverse chronological order (current job to oldest). They feature a near-the-top, up-front display of your work history, coupled with either a summary or bullets of things skills and experiences beneath each job. This works well for jobs and career paths where there is a lot of diversity from one job to the next.
However, in clinical dental hygiene, there is very little diversity from one job to the next (as compared to other career fields), so it can fee pretty redundant to list the same skills and experiences beneath each clinical hygiene job.
That’s why I recommend hygienists use the functional style of resume. Instead of putting the same or similar list of skills and experiences beneath each job you’ve held, this style has you listing them in their own section (call it Experience and Skills), near the top of the resume. And don’t just list things out, create lines of text that describe how great you are at them. For example:
- Bad: “Patient Education”
- Good: “Unique ability to communicate, education, and influence patients toward better oral health”
- Bad: “Dentrix, Eaglesoft, and Softdent”
- Good: “Working knowledge of Dentrix, Eaglesoft, and Softdent”
The third format doesn’t really have a name but is just a hybrid of the two. The most common way I see this type of resume displayed is to create an Experience and Skills section, similar to a functional resume, but also include an abbreviate summary or list beneath each job you have held, similar to the reverse chronological resume.
This type of resume can work well if you have done other jobs outside of dental hygiene that are relevant, along with your clinical dental hygiene history.
Other Resume Sections
I’ve described two very important sections above – the Work History and Experience and Skills sections. Other sections you need to include for sure are an About Me section (sometimes called a Summary or Objective Statement) and the Education section.
For a lot of clinical resumes, that’s all you really need. But if you still have space and need to fill up the page more then you could add sections for certifications, community service, references, and membership involvement.
Next week I will share the most effective length for a clinical dental hygiene resume. Until then, let me know if you have any questions.