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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 similar to how Coca-Cola views their search for the perfect customer?

Okay, I agree. You are not a soft drink, but stay with me for a few minutes as I share how you can easily and successfully use the same “branding” strategies that Coke and others use to turn a potential employer into a real employer.1

Just like Coca-Cola, you have a brand. In a nutshell, your brand is a promise of what your employer will get when he or she hires you.  Are you great with kids? Are you good at helping patients relax? Do you work hard? Are you a team player?

By now you have probably nodded your head in agreement to all those things and I could probably keep listing you would keep nodding, right?

That’s fine, but dive into your own head and figure out what your brand is – your strengths! Then ask a few of your friends and acquaintances who know you professionally (so mom probably doesn’t count).

Take all that information and create a long list in a Word Document of everything. Leave it all there, but shorten it down to your top three to five at the top of the page – each one could be a word or a short statement.  Save this document in the same folder as your resume because this is your brand and you’re going to be using it often as you market yourself as the best employee money can buy.

Next Steps

Okay, so a job opening is posted in an area near you – you’re interested. No joke, here’s a listing I found today as I am writing this that reads like this: “We are a fun, family dental practice looking for a self-motivated, enthusiastic, adaptable team player to join us 1-2 days per week, including Saturdays.”

“Perfect” your lips whisper as your eyes widen. You are only looking to work a day or two a week while you go to school and Saturdays are no problem.

Almost without looking you start to open up your generically-written cover letter and resume, save them as PDF files and begin composing an e-mail to send with your attachments.


Before you send that e-mail, you’ve got some important things to do to improve your chances of getting an interview. It won’t take you long but it does make a difference.

Re-read the ad. They are a “fun” office and looking for someone “enthusiastic,” “self-motivated,”  and “adaptable.” In one sentence they gave you a hint of their brand “fun” and the brand they are looking for  “enthusiastic,” “self-motivated,”  and “adaptable” (which are probably also extensions of their brand).

Now, open up the list of your branding traits. How does it match up? If not at all, then do some more investigating if it’s really the job you want. It’s okay if it’s not a perfect match, so long as you see some areas that are common.

Next, and most important of all, open that cover letter back up and make sure what it says reflects what they are looking for. Because while YOU know you are all of those things, they won’t unless you demonstrate or tell them about it.

Along with the usual paragraph formalities included in traditional cover letters, include a truthful paragraph about how you are a great fit for their office because along with your technical skills you are (bullet these out):

  • Have a high level of enthusiasm for dentistry,
  • Described by co-workers and friends as proactive or a self starter,
  • Uniquely skilled at adjusting to different job duties.

Did you see how I reflected exactly what they were looking for without copying and pasting their words? Assuming you are being honest, you should absolutely marry your brand with their brand in the cover letter. So open up that online thesaurus and find some synonyms that capture what they are saying without being a copycat.

This same approach should also be taken with your resume. Anything they want and you have, make sure you include that in your cover letter AND resume before you send them out.

Vague Ads

So what if you find a job listing that tells you next to nothing about them? It’s pretty rare for that to happen, but you can go to their website, visit their office, talk to people that know people who work there.

Anything you can pick up on that will give you clues as to the type of brand they are and are looking for will help you be able to position your brand as a great match with their brand. If you have extra time, you should try and do this anyway, especially if they invite you for an interview. The more you know, the better prepared you can be to match your brand.

Final Quick Tips

I could go on and on a lot longer, but let’s wrap this up with six additional quick tips:

  • If you get an interview, you’ll need to turn your brand into an “elevator speech” that you can share within 30 seconds to a minute. Google “elevator speech” to get some ideas.
  • Create a consistent “look” or design for your brand on any printed or electronic marketing you do for yourself (business cards, post cards, website, design of your resume, etc.).
  • Does your physical appearance match your brand? There’s a wealth of research on colors, clothing, and hairstyles that can help guide you in this area. Search for that, too.
  • Have your friends help you with your behavior and mannerisms, again to ensure they are consistent with what you are saying is your brand.
  • How about your voice? Nobody likes hearing their voice, but do you sound like you think your brand should sound? Friends are good for helping you with that, also.
  • Finally, make sure your social media sites and general presence on the Internet is not inconsistent. Google your name and see what you find. Studies show, most potential employers do this so it’s best to get ahead of that to make sure you are okay with what they see and read.

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

love rdh
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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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GethiredRDH Tip #16: Dress

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We’ve had a few people ask recently about appropriate dress for dental hygiene job interviews. So we thought this would be an excellent topic for this week. Job interviews can be downright scary experiences and so you want to both look and feel confident. Just so we get it out of the way – definitely […]

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