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- Kris, RDH

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Get Hired RDH #26: 6 Keys to Creating a Relevant Resume

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It’s easy to question the importance of the written content of your resume – after all, eye-tracking studies performed by recently indicate that employers only look at resumes for about six seconds when deciding who to interview.

And it’s probably true in some instances that making it eye-catching is all you need. Problem is you really don’t know who will read it through and those that won’t. Remember, six seconds is an average, not the max for everyone.

So you have to make sure it reads well too and part of that is making sure the content of your resume is relevant to an employer.

Relevance goes deeper than ‘is she a dental hygienist?’ – that part is obvious. So, here’s  six tips to making sure your resumes are relevant to who you are sending them to.

1. Begin with the Announcement

Relevance begins with understanding the job you are applying for. Carefully read the job announcement. Look for the keywords it lists. Do they want someone with laser experience? If you have that, make sure it’s included among your skills or duties performed. They may list other things like teamwork and helping patients stay relaxed – those are more easily brought out in your cover letter.Resume

2. Review their Website for More Clues

After you’ve reviewed the job announcement, take a few minutes to look at the employer’s website or social media page. What kinds of things do you see there that can help you customize your resume? What words do they use to describe their approach to serving customers? Use some of that language in your resume and cover letter, too.

3. Create a “Guts” Document

Sounds gross, huh? Well, by “guts” I am talking about the guts of your resume. Keep potential lists of skills, experiences and other things you can swap in and out of your resume. Sure, you can have just one resume with one set of content, but if you have some things you can swap in and out it gives you a great opportunity to make your resume more relevant to the office you are sending it to.

4. Steal from the Best

Look for other RDH resumes on the Internet. Find statements you really like or haven’t thought to include and add them to your “guts” document for potential use. It’s hard to think up everything you do or have done on your own and it’s perfectly fine to get ideas from others.

5. Results vs Duties

Focus your text/content on results and a little less on responsibilities, tasks and duties. Dentists are business owners – they do best when they focus on patient care, but they can’t ignore the bottom line. They need an RDH that can not only make a great impression on patients but are able to help keep the practice in the black. Sharing with them tangible and in-tangible results really helps complete you as a professional.

6. Design Consideration

The last thing you want to do is make sure you are comfortable with the design of your resume and it’s relevance to the employer. I guess the main example I can think of here is if you want to apply for a job with a pediatric practice and they have lots of really bright colors and themes on their website and job announcement, you may want to have a second version of your resume that sort of reflects that.

Get Hired RDH #25: 5 Places to Find RDH Jobs

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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.1

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:;;;
  • Industry National/Local:;;;
  • 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 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.

3. Networking

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 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

Get Hired RDH #24: How to Create and Sell YOU to Employers

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Up until a week ago I was a pretty avid Diet Coke drinker – I’m trying to kick the habit lately. But I’ve realized over the years how good Coca-Cola is at marketing their product to me and millions of others (probably many of you). Have you ever viewed your dental hygiene job search as […]

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GetHiredRDH Tip #23: 7 Tips for a Memorable Job Interview

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I was talking with one of my sons the other day about a conversation we had a few days earlier. I remembered the gist of it but couldn’t recall the details – and certainly couldn’t have repeated everything back word-for-word. It would have been nice so I could have made a better case for how […]

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GetHiredRDH Tip #22: 10 Tips for Using LinkedIn to Get a Job

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I’ve said it a million times (okay, maybe not a million) but probably 999! Create a LinkedIn account when you are searching for a job and keep it updated when you are not. While it’s not as big as Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is the de facto social media site for professionals – including, yes, […]

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GetHiredRDH Tip #21: The Do’s and Don’ts of Handling the Toughest Job Interview Question

Nervous Wreck
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I hate being put on the spot with tough interview questions – even ones that I could probably answer if given a chance to think about it without having someone stare at me impatiently for an answer. I shudder to think about the awkward silence and my mind racing for an answer that will satisfy […]

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GetHiredRDH Tip #20: 5 Ways to Job-Proof Your Online Presence

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Did you know that 92% of employers today include information they find about you from social media sites in the hiring process? Thinking back to my early college days, I recall a friend of mine having another friend take a picture of him standing on top of a building in Asia “buck naked” (backside facing) […]

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GetHiredRDH Tip #19: 9 Tips to Keep Your Job Hunt Fresh

Woman looking out window. Image shot 2013. Exact date unknown.
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It’s amazing as I sit looking outside right now, thrilled at the brightness of the sun and a hint of warmth. Winters can be pretty harsh – those of you in the East know all about that this year. Winter takes a toll on our vehicles, homes, and even dormant plants and vegetation. But every […]

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GetHiredRDH Tip #18: 5 Ways to Communicate You Love Dental Hygiene Without Saying it

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Well, it’s here – today is Valentine’s Day and hopefully you’ve got a valentine or two in your life to express your love to. Did you know it’s also (statistically) around the time most folks have given up on New Year’s Resolutions – I notice it every year at the gym I go to starts […]

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GetHiredRDH Tip #17: Great Simple Cover Letters

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First of all, do you need a cover letter? Why, yes you do. Thing is, most job announcements don’t even ask for one. They just say, “send your resume.” So, most hygienists think they don’t need to send one. True – maybe the office hiring won’t count it against you for not having one, but […]

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