Resume wording is not exactly the most exciting topic for most dental hygienists. But the results of a well-written resume can be.
The bottom line is you need a resume that gets interviews, right? That’s the goal – resume wording that gets you one step closer to a job.
Unfortunately, most dental hygiene resumes read pretty much the same – making it hard for candidates to stand out.
Studies show employers spend less than 10 seconds with each resume when deciding who gets an interview. Fair or unfair, that’s the reality in saturated dental hygiene job market.
So let’s make sure your resume wording makes the most of those 10 seconds and pulls them in for longer views and interviews.
Being Stingy With Words
Get your resume wording as tight as you can so you end up with a document that is no more than one or two pages. No one ever got a job interview from the second page of a resume. Just like interviews, resume first impressions make a big difference.
Lengthy resume wording, characterized by long sentences and large blocks of text, communicates that you are either over-selling or have a hard time efficiently articulating things. Rather than wade through it, employers these days skim when the resume wording is not efficient.
Keep your statements short and stingy on words. Become a literary tightwad and pretend you have to spend $20 for every word. Consider the following:
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%.”
Use Resume Wording that Leaps off the Paper
This ties into the last example. Did you notice I started the first sentence with “I” and the second 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 and how well you did it. Employers are conditioned to look for these active words and will penalize you for not complying.
Start all your bullet-point descriptions of abilities, experiences, and accomplishments with a verb. Try not to use the same verb more than once to avoid redundancy. If you’re stumped, here’s a list of 500 of them.
Speak the Same Language
If you have significant experience in dentistry this may not be a problem for you. Just be sure you are using industry technical terms and brand names correctly. Failing to do so shows you either don’t pay attention to details or lack experience.
For example, the popular caries detection tool DIAGNOdent has a unique way of writing its name. Part of the name is in all caps and part is lower case. Be sure to get this and other brand names correct to validate your experience with them.
Another example. You may say you are empathic or empathetic – both are correct, but one is usually better understood than the other depending on where you live in the United States and Canada. And, some dental professionals think “x-ray” is okay, but most agree “radiograph” is more appropriate.
Picky? Yes, but it all comes down to maximizing your initial 10 seconds with employers. Some really do, throw you out on small resume wording technicalities like this when other things seem equal or similar.
Grammar, Punctuation, Spelling
This should go without saying because it’s so easy to miss something. Everyone makes mistakes, but mistakes can cost you an interview with grammar-police types.
Here are four important ways to make sure yours is error-free:
- Read through your resume several times – enough so that the last two times you spot no errors;
- Review it over the course of several days to give your eyes a break as they become less effective the shorter the break between readings;
- Have at least two other friends read it, who you believe are good writers/editors, honest in critique, and detail-oriented in nature;
- Read your resume backward – this will force your brain to look more carefully at each word and focus less on the flow.
Throw Out Your Objective Statement
Employers already know your objective is to land a job with them. Save your words for something more useful to them, such as a statement that tells them what they get when they hire you. You can consider this section your personal brand or a type of elevator pitch.
At the end the day, employers want to know about YOU not what you want from THEM. So give it to them. Develop a succinct statement that encapsulates who you are in 1-2 sentences.
Old-School Objective Statement: “To obtain a position with a great practice that allows me to use my skills and grow as a dental professional.”
Summary or About Me Statement: “As an energetic and optimistic professional dental hygienist, with a gentle touch and personable nature, I make it my mission to give every patient a new reason to smile after each visit.”
The first example creates no expectation of what the employer gets when they hire you. The second one, on the other hand, delivers a powerful message of your traits as well as your focus and goal. Further, it emphasizes a keen interest in their patients – something they desperately want from employees.
Your resume wording can draw employers in for more. It needs to because if it doesn’t then it’s hard to make a case that you are the one. Spend the necessary time on your resume wording to make it simple to read and even hard to put down. When you do that, you will get more interviews and more job opportunities. You have my word on it!
Check out this funny video of fake job interviews. Hopefully your next interviewer won’t be this guy!