Everyone knows, the dental hygiene job market stinks. But there are job openings (maybe not enough, but they do happen) and so you should be getting regular interviews.
Are you getting interviews? If so, that’s good – you are doing some things right. But if your phone isn’t ringing much or at all, despite applying for lots of jobs, you should read on because there could be a variety of things going on.
If you feel good about your resume (how it looks and reads) then consider the following:
Your Bad Contact Information
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 two suggestions – create a really easy-to-type or remember e-mail address and then make sure YOU have it listed correctly on your resume (I wrote more about e-mail addresses here). Also, make sure your phone number is listed correctly and that you have a clear, simple voice message greeting.
Their Bad Contact Information
Sometimes the problem is on their end. Whenever you e-mail your resume always ask for a quick confirmation they received it. If they don’t respond within 24 hours I would recommend you call, visit or try e-mailing again. If they legitimately didn’t get your resume, you’ll be glad you followed up.
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 and you don’t that could be downfall. It’s a standard practice to include a cover letter so always send one and then make sure you are using it to help sell or market you for that specific job you are applying for. Here’s seven tips for writing a great cover letter.
Review the job advertisement carefully and address each of the things they are requesting. This is one of your best tools for helping to sell yourself to them. They want someone who is a good fit and if you ignore the qualifications or don’t adequately share how you fit your application will be easily dismissed (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 them. 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, they don’t get the call.
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.