If you live in an area where dental hygiene job openings are infrequent, consider conducting a proactive job search. Instead of waiting for jobs to open and get announced, go on the offensive.
The truth is if you are only responding to job opening announcements on job boards you are only getting about 25-30% of what’s really out that. That’s because, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, most jobs aren’t posted.
Most jobs are filled by way of networking. Yep, more than sometimes, it’s who you know. But there are also other ways, too, so let’s review how you can go on a proactive job search.
I have written and lectured about the value of sending out postcards so much, I am guessing I don’t need to go into the details here. But keep it in mind as a key part of your proactive strategy. Simply put, they work. I don’t know of a single client they haven’t helped in some way, and usually profoundly through job offers and lots of temp work.
Sure, networking has always been the most important proactive job search tool in your arsenal. But are you doing it? I find that most hygienists are a little shy or feel it takes too much time. And some simply don’t know where to start.
Those shouldn’t be concerns because networking can be done both in-person and over the Internet. This removes some of those common barriers.
Along with your local meetings, study groups and component gatherings, consider meeting peers virtually. I’ll give you three or four suggestions here
- LinkedIn’s largest dental hygiene forum called “Dental Hygienists“
- Facebook’s alternative dental hygiene career path group called “Trapped in an OP“
- Facebook’s largest dental hygiene group called “Dental Hygienists Talk“
- Finally, nearly every state has a Facebook group page called “(state name) Dental Hygienists Talk.” And there are dozens of others that are both national and localized you can find. There are no shortages of group pages to network on.
With all networking, seek first to help and serve others and they will seek to return the favor to you – that’s the big secret to successful networking.
One traditional way some hygienists perform a proactive job search is dropping off resumes at offices. This can take lots of extra time but if you just take a day and knock them all out it can be very effective.
The downside is that most employers will file and forget your resume. Instead, consider leaving them with a postcard or business card. Those tend to get posted on bulletin boards or put in top drawers.
You could even consider a more creative leave-behind, such as a sticky pad with your name and phone number on it or some treats. The key is that you leave something memorable or useful.
But the biggest reason drop-in visits are effective is the opportunity you have to connect interpersonally. They get the chance to meet and see your likeable personality. That’s important because they can’t get it from a traditional paper resume, and it puts you one step closer to creating a connection of trust with them.
Okay, no one loves spam, but you can take the “spammy-ness” out of a simple, custom e-mail you send to an office by letting them know you are available for work as a sub. It’s really not much different than sending a postcard, except that it costs you less. The downside is it’s much more difficult to gather working e-mail addresses than it is mailing addresses so creating a list is harder, but still worth pursuing.
And the extra cool thing is you can add some curiosity factor (mentioned above) by including a link to your website or LinkedIn page. That will drive some of them to your website and get you an additional opportunity to impress them.
A final note
Don’t feel bound by these ideas – there are so many great things you can do to pro-actively market yourself digitally and in-person. It’s primarily through networking and these pro-active methods that people find work these days – in fact, the Department of Labor suggests that approximately 75% of all job openings go un-advertised.
So, don’t spend your entire job search energy on job boards – you can’t ignore them, they have an important place and lots of people find work this way – there are so many more things you can and should do to land a great dental hygiene job.