I’ve said many times your name and contact information are the most important pieces of information on your dental hygiene resume. So what’s the next most important feature on your resume?
The next most important feature isn’t as specific, it’s more of an overall approach you need to take. It’s called Different.
Every clinical dental employer assumes that because you are a licensed dental hygienist that you know how to do SRP, sealants, radiographs, blah, blah, blah – right? But that’s not different!
Different is found in your EARS – no, not the things on your head that help support your loupes. EARS in this case are: Experiences, Accomplishments, Results and Solutions.
You should stay alert to these throughout your career because sometimes the really unique ones show up unexpected – on a routine day. Document and save them because they mean a lot to your career and you ability to find work eventually.
They make great content for your resume, cover letter, and other job-hunting materials. But they also carry a lot of weight during job interviews – those experiences are what seal the deal when it comes to demonstrating how great you are.
Let’s review them and give some examples.
Every day at work (even dental hygiene school clinics) you are having experiences. Often we just discount them as simple little interactions that come and go, but don’t mean much. And, yes, some are pretty routine so you don’t need to track all of them. But target the situations you face with patients that are unique. Maybe it’s an overly-anxious patient, or an angry patient, or a mother who insists on holding her baby during an exam. What was your approach? How did you handle the situation?
This information will help you define your personal brand and give you some great content to share on your resume about the type of hygienist you are. For example, you could include a line about how you are “Uniquely skilled at educating patients about perio treatment planning.” Then in your interview with an employer you can share with them one or two specific instances have recalled or recorded that speak to the skill.
This can sometimes be easier for dental hygiene students. In the resumes I write, I see all the time specific accomplishments about this or that award the person received in school. That’s awesome and you need to toot your horn about it on your resume. But what about other accomplishments? Maybe you are really accomplished at taking accurate x-rays or perhaps you are accomplished at a gaining patient compliance.
Again, word your resume with the generalities of it, then share the specifics in your interview.
Results and Solutions
Results and Solutions can be a little bit different in that you can sometimes get more specific on your resume. For example, some hygienists and practices value your ability to gain patient compliance to the point of an actual production goal. The specifics of that and other goals or results you achieve can be very valuable on your resume.
But it can also be more anecdotal in nature – focusing more on story than numbers. For example, “Detected cancerous growth during screening that resulted in patient seeking further tests and treatment for cancer.”
In summary, yes, it’s okay to include the ho-hum stuff you do as a dental hygienist, but hopefully you can spice it up with some great EARS content that will say way more about you and thus make you stand out and appear different than other candidates.