Are all clinical dental hygiene jobs alike? Of course not.
Are all employers alike? Ha – not even close.
So should your dental hygiene resume be the exact same for every clinical job interview?
It’s a legitimate question to consider. If I had to guess, I would say that about 99% of all hygienists probably do indeed send out the exact same resume for every clinical job.
Lots of career coaches will tell you that’s a bad idea, but I’m a little torn on it. I think if you’ve crafted a nicely-designed, well-written dental hygiene resume you are probably going to be fine… 80-90% of time.
Is that good enough to get you an interview that will lead you to a job? Probably, but not always.
There are always going to be employers out there who look to see how personalized your resume and cover letter to their unique job opening and so it really does make sense to at least look it over each time you send it out.
Here are four tips to help ensure you are sending out the best possible resume:
Read the ENTIRE Job Announcement
On more than one occasion I have seen employers place little tricks within their announcement to help weed out the less-attentive job seekers. Most commonly I have seen where they will place a very specific instruction at the bottom of the text telling you to include something different – maybe it’s an answer to a question or possible some word they want you to share with them in your e-mail back to them.
If you aren’t reading carefully you will miss it and your resume will get the automatic heave-ho.
It’s very rare (mostly in government-type jobs), but I have seen job announcements that specifically say “do not include a photo.” If your resume has a place for a photo on it, have an additional copy without it. In place of it you could put a nice monogram of your initials or perhaps some tasteful clipart or dental related design.
About Me Section
We are complex creatures with lots of dimensions. Your personal brand may be strong in one area such as being “detail-oriented” but maybe they seem to be more focused on someone that is fun to be around or compassionate. If you are those things, too, then consider modifying the wording of your About Me section to best match what they are seeking.
Using the functional style resume we recommend – placing skills and experiences in a section of their own near the top – there might be a specific set of skills you don’t list but that they are wanting, such as using intraoral cameras. Include that if you have it and, in fact, do so prominently near the top of your list. Likewise, if you have something they are interested in already on your resume, move it up near the top.
Work History Section
If you have worked for an employer that was a bad experience (whether your fault or not), consider pulling it out if you are applying for a job and you know the potential employer knows that employer you had a bad experience with. There’s no law or ethic violation for omitting previous employers.
You may also benefit from including a non-dental hygiene job among your list of previous employers if there was a transferable skill gained. For example, if you worked at a day-care center for a year or two and are applying for a job with a pediatric practice you would likely want to include that.