I have a fantasy that someone is going to call me one day and say something like, “We’ve heard about your incredible abilities and want to offer you a job at our office.”
It’s not that I’m pessimistic or lack confidence, but 99% of the time jobs just don’t fall into people’s laps like that. I’m sure it happens on occasion, but you can’t bank on it in today’s job climate.
So where ARE the jobs and how do you find them? The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says 72% of all jobs that get filled were unadvertised. That sounds really high to me, but I have to agree that even if it’s not sure, it’s mostly true.
Especially in dental where even though the competition between offices is stiff, they (the doctors and staff) generally are cordial to one another and do break bread together at statewide and local conferences and meetings.
So chances are good that a dental hygienist leaving on maternity leave knows one or two colleagues that can fill in for her. Likewise, dentists have other dental friends often put the word out they are looking for an employee.
So let’s talk about the five key places you find jobs.
1. Traditional searching
Again, pretty obvious, but are you checking out all of these or just one or two? Make sure you aren’t missing out:
- General National/Local: craigslist.com; monster.com; indeed.com; careerbuilder.com
- Industry National/Local: ihiredental.com; dentaljobs.net; dentalpost.net; dentaljobs.com
- General Local Searches: newspaper and TV stations often have community job boards; other community-based websites sometimes have job boards.
- Corporate or chain office websites will often post job openings.
- Local office social media pages sometimes will post openings.
- Association National and Local websites usually have job boards. For example ADA and ADHA both offer listings, as do many of their state/local affiliates and components.
2. Job Alerts
Most of the aforementioned sites give job seekers the ability to create alerts which are where you sign up for a free e-mail alert whenever a job opening is posted that matches your criteria (such as location). Those are very hand and will save you lots of time going to these sites each day and doing searches.
You can also set up search alerts through Google Alerts and Mention.com. Both allow you to specify keywords like “dental hygienist” and “job opening” and set them to send you an e-mail daily or weekly. They search the entire internet and even include searches for posts on social media sites so they can be very effective.
It used to be that networking meant meeting and talking to people at monthly or yearly meetings, or the occasional chat over coffee. That’s still a very important way to do it, so be sure to include attendance at those functions and other informal gatherings with your peers.
But another one is virtual networking. That’s where you occupy a professional presence online and use that space to reach out and create connections. This can include online social media sites, forums, and blogs. Put your professional self out there. Many of you have created and joined local Facebook groups for dental hygienists in your area to share stories, ask questions, and post job openings. LinkedIn has started a similar thing, in fact GetHiredRDH manages a group page there if you are ever interested.
One of the tips we often talk about is creating a professional Facebook page – like a business page. Then target the offices within the area you want to work by “liking” each of their Facebook pages. This will give you access to what they are talking about – usually it’s targeted at their customers but why not jump in and participate here and there (Hint: You are creating a professional Facebook page – title your page with your name and RDH next to it (“Jenny Smith, RDH”). When you like, share or comment on their postings they will get a notice of that and might get curious about who this “Jenny Smith, RDH” is and check out your page.)
4. Pro-active Searching
If you have read anything about our story, you know that postcards were one of the signature ideas that helped Tracie land a great dental hygiene job. In fact, it was one of the singular reasons we launched GetHiredRDH.com and continues to be hailed as an innovative job hunting tool.
Post cards really are an effective tool to find jobs. Often, finding job openings is all about timing and if your post card or e-mail or online presence strikes a doctor or an office at the right time you could be like Tracie and get one of those unadvertised job openings. Typically, a doctor won’t all of a sudden think one day “I need to hire a dental hygienist.” It usually comes to them over a period of weeks or even months.
They’ll toy with the idea, think about all the pluses and minuses (even sometimes when they are simply replacing a hygienist that is leaving). That means there’s a space of time where if they get your information, are impressed (and they will be), they won’t feel the need to advertise it. They’ll call you in for an interview (working interview in Tracie’s case) and bam! Offer you a job right there.
5. Temporary Staffing
Finally, it would be a mistake to not include temping as that, too, is how lots of people end up employed. Either the agency has an actual opening you can audition for or you leave a great impression on an office when you fill in, give them your card, and guess who could get a call a month or two later with a job offer? YOU