Have you ever been lost? I have! A couple Summers ago I was hiking in the High Uintah Wilderness area, located in Utah – about 45 minutes east of Park City. Our guide made some miscalculations on distances and what was supposed to be a 20 mile day hike, ended up being closer to 30 miles.
That’s scary, but it’s not unlike how dental hygiene job seekers sometimes feel as they are searching for the right path to a job.
One of the strategies outdoor experts advise is to do things that make yourself find-able. In other words, if you have to move, leave a trace so you increase the odds someone will find you. So this week, let’s talk about five big traces (or strategies) you can leave behind for employers to find you.
1. Business Cards
This first one is really pretty old-school, but still important. Wherever you go, take with you a few of your business cards. Hand them out freely – to people you meet and talk to in all different settings (professional, casual or chance meeting).
2. Post Cards
I’ve talked lots about postcards over the years and how they help hygienists find jobs. Some of their success is due to timing – they get your postcard on or about the same day they need a temp or to hire someone new. But the hidden secret to their success is that they have a long life.
Some will simply hand or mail out a copy of their resume. This has a similar affect as a postcard, but the big difference is that postcards tend to get kept longer and out in the open than do resumes. Who would post a resume to a bulletin board? Hardly anyone. Who would post a postcard to a bulletin board? Lots of people if the information is useful (and what you are offering is useful).
3. Online Profiles
Ninety-two percent of all employers “Google” the names of job applicants they are considering for an interview. Two of the top sites that often come up when you Google someone’s name are LinkedIn and Facebook. These are great virtual bread crumbs to get back to you. Take advantage of that by fully creating a LinkedIn profile (make sure you fill it out completely – shouldn’t take longer than 10 min.). Your Facebook page is also often at the top of search results.
Online profiles give you a digital footprint of who you are so employers can begin to connect with you (or spot red flags). But they also communicate two important things employers all want in a new employee: (1) that you are tech-savy and (2) that you are current with trends. It’s worth taking the time to ensure they can find you on the Internet also in part because you don’t want there to be case of mistaken identity (mistaking someone else for you).
Nothing can replace an in-person chat in the hallway at a conference, or sitting at a table with a dentist or office manager during the lunch of a conference. Those unplanned encounters are why 72% of all job openings that get filled are unadvertised (according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics).
This may not lead to a job for years and years, but the repetition of this over and over again (year after year) will yield results so it’s never too late to start.
5. Your Network
Put the word out among your community of friends (dental or not) that you are looking for work. Most of your friends see a dentist – have them put some feelers out to their dentist or other contacts. Honestly, this is a big way in which people find jobs so don’t dismiss it as a long shot.
6. Office Visits
This can be very time-consuming, but also very worth-while. Simply drop-in, introduce yourself, tell them you are seeking a job, and leave them with some information (preferably your business card or postcard). Some might prefer to do this all in one day, but I think it might be more effective and easier for you to plan to do this for say 15 minutes each day for several weeks.
How ever you work that out, look at it as a way in which to make a more impressionable connection with people. Seeing your face, talking with you, and learning that you are great is so much more effective than any other way.
It’s quite frustrating to be looking for work and few opportunities are showing up on the job boards. But you can greatly improve your odds of employers finding you by doing the things mentioned above consistently and regularly until you land a great dental hygiene job.