Dental hygiene resume wording can be as challenging for you – the one creating the resume – as it is for a potential employer – the one reading resumes.
It’s important to remember that most employers simply don’t read every word of every resume. Research shows, you have about six seconds to grab their attention before they move on. Typically, they scan them for keywords and/or something interesting (such as the design).
If you were in their shoes you would do the same – with a stack of 40-50 dental hygiene resumes (and that’s pretty conservative for an RDH opening today) at about 450 words per page – one would have to read at least 18,000 words!
So what can you do to increase the odds an employer will stop and pause to read more on YOUR resume? Here’s five simple tips:
Use short, succinct bullet points to describe your experiences. If you can, keep them from wrapping onto a second or third line. Depending on the size of words you use, less than 15 words is adequate, but less than 10 is ideal.
Too Wordy: “Started a new patient program that included an office tour and sit-down meeting with myself and the doctor. We improved patient retention by more than 25 percent.”
Perfect: “Implemented new patient-orientation program, elevating retention by 25%.”
Use Words that Jump
In resume writing you begin each line with a verb to jump-start a sentence and give the reader a shortcut to what you did. In the examples above, both “started” and “implemented” are good verbs to do this. And we have a list of 500+ positive words you can use to do this.
Be an Active Writer
You also want to make sure your writing is in an “active” voice as opposed to a “passive.” Active is best (especially in resume writing) because it’s easier to understand text more quickly.
Active Example: “I love working with all kinds of patients.”
Passive Example: “There are all kinds of patients I love working with.”
Give Them What They Want
I’ve written often about the importance of knowing what an employer is looking for and then delivering it. Your cover letter is the primary place to do this, but it can also be done on your resume, too.
Read the job opening advertisement and pick out the keywords of things they are seeking in a candidate. Then make sure your resume hits on those keywords – you may need to modify a word or two or perhaps move some lines up in order of importance.
No Errors (grammar, punctuation, spelling)
It goes without saying your resume should be error-free. No mistakes in grammar, punctuation or spelling. There are for sure some employers who will over-look mistakes, but you just don’t know who will and who won’t so you really need to proof-read your resume many times.
I would even recommend you have a one or two friends that you trust read it over. Or you can even hire someone to do it.
When doing it yourself, read it backwards. This forces you to look at each word without getting caught up in the flow of how the sentence reads.
Marketing professional Denny Hatch gives the 14 most powerful words in marketing. These are the words that trigger a persuasive emotion. Not all 14 make sense on a resume, but a few do so consider using them on YOUR marketing materials (resume, cover letter, website, etc.)