It may be sunny outside right now, but the dental hygiene job market is still cloudy.
However, there are breaks in the clouds for those that go the extra mile.
Are you getting interviews? If so, that’s good – you are doing some things right. But for those that aren’t or maybe the interviews seem just token or like the employer has already made up their mind, here are five problems that may be hurting your chances.
Bad Contact Information
This one goes both ways – on your end and on theirs.
Sounds ridiculous, right? A lot of employers today reply by e-mail these days to schedule interviews. This avoids the whole phone-tag thing since most people don’t answer their phones when it’s an unfamiliar number. You can’t avoid when someone mistyped your address but here’s three suggestions:
- Create a really easy-to-type or remember e-mail address (I wrote more about e-mail addresses here)
- Make double-, triple-, quadruple-sure YOU have it listed correctly on your resume
- Do the same for your phone number, and even consider getting Google Voice to route calls through your cell phone so that you can create a custom voice message for potential employers
Sometimes the problem is on their end. When you e-mail your resume always ask for a quick confirmation that they got it. If they don’t respond within 24 hours, call, visit or re-email them – you’ll be glad you did if they legitimately didn’t get it. SPAM blockers are very aggressive these days and sometimes legit mail just doesn’t make it.
No Cover Letter
Lots of employers don’t even ask for a cover letter, but if your peers applying for the job all send one that could by why you don’t make the short list. It’s a standard practice to include a cover letter – no one will penalize you for including one, but some will if you don’t. Here’s how to write the perfect cover letter.
Review the job advertisement very carefully and address each of the things they are requesting. This is one of your best tools for helping to sell yourself. They want someone who is a good fit and if you ignore the qualifications or don’t adequately share how you are a great fit, you probably won’t get an interview (you can read more about this here)
Directions Not Followed
In job markets where there is lots of parity between hygienists, employers will look for anything to differentiate candidates. That includes playing little tricks on you. I’ve read lots of job announcements where the employer will plant a very important statement at the end of the advertisement to see who’s paying attention.
For example, there will be a line that reads something like “Please include in your cover letter the name of the current president of the United States.” Those that comply pass the first test of being “attentive to details” and those that don’t… well, their resume gets tossed.
Nothing Has Happened Yet
It’s frustrating for sure, but employers will sometimes hold off for various reasons, putting not just you, but everyone in limbo. It would be appropriate, assuming you have confirmed they received your information in the first place, to contact them 1-2 weeks after you submitted your resume (I wrote more about that here). I sometimes look at that as a red flag that perhaps the employer isn’t someone you would want to work for anyway.
My wife, Tracie, had an experience like that when she was first seeking employment. There was a doctor that had her come in as a temp several times and told her he would soon be seeking a permanent hygienist, but he would never pull the trigger even though he got to the point where he had no permanent hygienist. For whatever reason he struggled with making decisions and it wasn’t just this situation, there were others Tracie heard about later.
Finally, one of the best pieces of advice I can give when seeking a job is never push pause. By that I mean keep looking, keep sending resumes, and keep making contacts with people. One great job interview or one potential dream job can cause a great deal of stress and the best way to alleviate that is to push forward to the next one… to the next opening in the clouds.