You have approximately 8.5 by 11 inches of real estate to craft the most important document of your career – your dental hygiene resume! That’s not much so every word has to count, right?
Well, yes and no. Yes, your resume wording should be as well-crafted as possible to maximize your opportunity, but you also have to remember that when an employer is looking at a stack of 50+ resumes they won’t be reading them all.
So this week, let’s discuss five things that you can do with your dental hygiene resume wording to make it really stand out and thus increase your odds of getting an interview.
Bullet points are your friend on resumes – they do such a great job of keeping your writing clean, short and succinct. They are also the friend of employers who welcome a good bullet list here and there. If you can, keep them from wrapping onto a second or third line. Depending on the size of words you use, less than 15 words is adequate, but less than 10 is ideal.
Too Wordy: “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.”
Perfect: “Implemented new patient-orientation program, elevating retention by 25%.”
Writing that Jumps
In resume writing you begin lines of information with a verb to jump-start a sentence and give the reader a shortcut to what you did. In the examples above, both “started” and “implemented” are good verbs to do this. And we have a list of 500+ positive words you can use to do this.
You also want to make sure your writing is in an “active” voice as opposed to a “passive.” Active is best (especially in resume writing) because it’s easier to understand text more quickly.
Active Example: “I love working with all kinds of patients.”
Passive Example: “There are all kinds of patients I love working with.”
I’ve written often about the importance of knowing what an employer is looking for and then delivering it. Your cover letter is the primary place to do this, but it can also be done on your resume, too.
Carefully review the job description and find the keywords of things they are seeking in a candidate. Then make sure your resume hits on them – you may need to modify a word or two or perhaps move some lines up in order of importance.
It goes without saying your resume should be error-free. No mistakes in grammar, punctuation or spelling. There are for sure some employers who will over-look mistakes, but you just don’t know who will or won’t so proof-read your resume many times.
I would even recommend you have a one or two friends that you trust read it over. Or you can even hire someone to do it.
Another tip: When proofing it yourself, read it backwards. This forces you to look at each word without getting caught up in the flow of how the sentence reads.