Words are boring! It’s visuals and actions that people look for first in almost everything (those are the path of least resistance, right?).
So it’s kinda hard to make resume wording advice interesting. But that’s exactly why you should read this post and make sure YOUR resume nails all the key ingredients. Most people (hygienists are no different) spend very little time making sure their resume reads well – make sure YOUR resume is the exception by following today’s five simple tips.
If it’s the “little things that count,” then consider these five small ones an important step toward a great job:
1. Being Stingy With Words
Write your resume as tight as you can. Last week we talked about the value of lots of white space in your formatting. The more experience you have, the harder it is to find white space – tight writing can help with that. But you also want to use words sparingly so that your resume doesn’t look as intimidating to read.
Bad: “I 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.”
Good: “Implemented new patient orientation program, elevating retention by 25%.”
2. Use Words that Leap off the Paper
This ties into the last example. Did you notice we started the first sentence with “I” and the second one with “Implemented”. By eliminating the pronoun and going straight to the verb the sentence gets a jump start. Studies show it drive’s the reader’s attention directly to what you did – resume readers are conditioned to look for these active words. Start all your bullet-point descriptions with them. And mix them up, look for good ones. If you’re stumped, here’s a link to a pretty good list of them: http://jobmob.co.il/blog/positive-resume-action-verbs/
3. Speak the Same Language
I don’t think this is as much of a problem in the dental hygiene field because the skills and duties are fairly narrow and standard. But you should read over your resume once to ensure it correctly captures the correct parlance of the dental industry. Make sure the industry-related words in your resume are specific and generally accepted so that the person reading (the doctor) it will understand. Probably the situation to be most cautious of is when you are going to school in one region and planning to work in another.
4. Avoid the Chronic Problem with Most Resumes (grammar, punctuation, spelling)
This should go without saying, but it’s shocking how many resumes contain obvious typos. Recognizing, most hygiene schools don’t include an English class, you would do well to hearken back to when you did have those classes, pull out your red pen, and go to work on a serious proof reading session (or two). There are some employers who are really big sticklers on grammar, spelling and punctuation. Others, not so much. The problem is you don’t know which you are getting when you hand that resume over.
If you don’t trust your eyes, your best defense is to get as many different people to proof-read it as possible. But try and find friends or family who you believe or know are good at writing and editing. We recommend you find at least three other sets of eyes – it might seem overkill until you have a doctor or office manager who loved English class and holds a tiny mispelling against you. You could also hire someone to write your resume for you or hire a copy editor off Elance.com to edit for you – this can usually be done pretty inexpensively and it’s well worth it.
5. Customize Your Objective
As we mentioned last week, most resumes begin with an objective that is some sort of ho-hum vague statement about your career objective.
Too Vague: “I want to land a job working for a practice that utilizes my skills as a dental hygienist.”
Why not take that space and turn it into something that shows you are interested in this specific job, like this:
More Meaningful: “I am well qualified for the position at All Smiles Dental in that I have the flexible work schedule, years of experience and knowledge of Dentrix that you indicate are important to you in your job ad.”
Doesn’t have to be a long statement, you could also do it in three short bullets.
Along with the job announcement itself, you can find good custom wording from the practice’s website, Facebook or other social media pages. You may even find it on the walls in their office if you happen to find yourself in there before you give them your resume. Or maybe you know the doctor or front office person and have spoken with them in the past about the kind of office they run. The point is, take every piece of information you can gather and use it so that you can build bridges and connecting points with them.
Bonus Tip: In his book “2,239 Tested Secrets for Direct Marketing”, author Denny Hatch discusses the 14 most powerful words in marketing. These are the words that trigger an emotion in everyone’s brain and are very persuasive. You don’t need to go out and buy the book (unless you want in-depth analysis), I’ll share them with you here. Most of them are probably not words you will think to use in your resume, cover letter, other materials or conversations toward landing a job, but they are powerful and a few of them like “proven”, “love”, “results”, “now”, and “you” could easily find their way into your materials and interviews. But here’s the full list: Free, Now, You, Save, Money, Easy, Guarantee, Health, Results, New, Love, Discovery, Proven, Safety,
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