Last Spring, Microsoft published an interesting report on attention spans. The results shouldn’t surprise – our focus is shrinking.
In 2000, research showed that the average human attention span was at about 12 seconds, but in 2013 that has dropped to a mere eight seconds (one second longer than a goldfish).
Keep this in mind as you try to grab the attention of potential employers. This weeks tips will help you do just that and give you an advantege over dental hygiene job seekers who don’t recognize and respond to these trends in 2016.
Keep Your Materials Brief
For clinical dental hygiene resumes, one page is plenty. Last year I wrote a couple hundred dental hygiene resumes for clients and only two or three of them were longer than a page. The feedback I get from clients and employers interviewing them is that the one page for a clinical resume is ideal. For those seeking academic positions or who have extensive types of experience, more can be necessary.
In general use an active style of writing and be stingy with your words.
It’s also no secret that employers are increasingly using mobile devices for everything – that includes to read your resume and other materials. Make sure you are sending them your information in a format that looks good and is readable on iPhones and Android devices.
To me, the solution to that begins and ends with PDF files. If you don’t know how to save or create your resume and cover letter in a PDF format, then it’s important to learn. Most other file formats are going to present a potential problem for someone trying to open them on any computer and smartphone.
It might seem obvious, but white space is the space between the text and graphics on your document. There’s a little bit of an art to knowing how much is the right amount, but more is better because it appears cleaner and more organized, and it increases the likelihood someone will read all of your resume.
So instead of large, single-spaced blocks of text, give them 1.15 to 1.5 inches between. Pull your margins out to about .5 inches around the document to give yourself more room to work.
Grab Attention by Acknowledging their Problem
Every dental employer has a problem when they need to hire someone. They want or need something (usually several somethings) specific in a hygienist. They will often spell one or more of those out in their job posting.
Grab their attention by immediately acknowledging it it in your cover letter or e-mail message to them (if you are applying by email). In fact, try posing it as a question in your opening paragraph or e-mail for extra affect:
“Do you need a hygienist that treats your patients like family?”
You are the Solution to their Problem
Once you highlight their problem – offer yourself up as the solution:
“I have developed a great family-like relationship with my patients. And I believe I can do the same for you utilizing my gentle and personable nature that quickly wins them over.”
Show Them Organization
Dental employers want new hires who don’t just say they are organized, but show it. And they are beginning to connect the dots between what you give them in your resume and other materials as evidence of your organizational skills. By creating a neat and organized set of materials, you give a very strong indication that you will be this way on the job as well.
It’s one thing to say it, but quite different when your organization skills are on full display. So, don’t just create a resume, create a suite of materials that match or look similar to one another.
Confidence and Asking
One thing I have noticed is that many dental hygienists are timid or afraid to ask for things. That includes interviews and even the job itself. But employers are increasingly looking for confident employees to represent the practice. You don’t have to be arrogant, just self-assured.
To do that, remove words of doubt in your documents and in your interviews with them. That includes these words: kind of, maybe, sorta, possibly. Those words simply set the bar too low for you and employers will always gravitate to the potential employee that doesn’t use them.
In your cover letter, email messages, and postcards (if you create those), make sure you finish them with a confident and straight-forward call to action.
Something as simple as this:
Call me at 503-895-4340 for your next temping assignment, or
I look forward to discussing my qualifications with you further – you can reach me at 503-895-4340