If it’s been three months or longer and you still haven’t found a dental hygiene job – you need to step back, evaluate and probably change some things.
It could be due to circumstances beyond your control – maybe you live in a rural area and job openings are few and far between. But for most dental hygiene job seekers, landing a job should go fairly quick (many of my clients are reporting 1-3 months) if you are giving it a good solid effort and exhausting all your tools and resources.
Tight job markets, like dental hygiene, do require some extra muscle. Rejection after rejection can take a lot out of you. Since no one really enjoys it, it’s best to hit it really hard so you don’t find yourself limping along through a search six, nine, or even 12 months later and beyond.
So, let’s take things up a notch and get this done!
Here’s five ways to reignite your search for a great dental hygiene job:
Proactive Job Searching
Rather than only jumping on the same old job boards day after day (and yes, you should continue that). Be proactive and send out some postcards (learn more about those here). Three out of four job openings go unadvertised. That means there are lots and lots of employers out there hiring hygienists they learn about other ways that posting the opening on a job board. Postcards is just one way to take your search to a more proactive level. Networking both in person and online are others.
We all have friends who we ask for advice from time to time, but maybe you should consider getting an outsider’s perspective. Visit with your local professional staffing agency for some feedback and honest critique about the materials you are using or not using, such as your resume and cover letter. Also talk to them about a mock interview so you can get that feedback, too. They want you to succeed because it makes them look good and maybe they can spot something that’s just a little bit off that makes a difference.
Evaluate Your Materials
Take a really good, hard look at what you sending out in your cover letter and resume. You’ve probably done it before, but do it again with a fresh set of eyes to ensure there are no errors, red flags or other glowing problems. We provide a free one-minute review of your resume and can tell you how it stacks up against the hundreds of dental hygiene resumes we’ve read. Contact us for more information about that.
Consistent and Constant Baby Steps
How do babies learn to walk? They take a step, fall, get back up, take another step, fall, get back up and before long it’s two steps, then three, and more. Getting out and beating the bushes, visiting offices can make a big difference for you. Why? Because they can see in-person how cool you are and are more likely to trust calling you in for a temp assignment or an interview.
Don’t try to take on the entire list of offices you would potentially work for in one day. Like a baby, take it a step at a time. Spend 15-30 minutes each day contacting offices. If you get to five one day and only one the next day, so be it. But stay constant and consistent and before long you will have visited quite a few in a short period of time. If you want to take it up a notch, leave them with your postcard or a plate of cookies – anything that makes you memorable or stand out.
You probably already know a few hygienists in your area. Make it a goal to extend those connections another layer. Go to lunch with a hygienist you know and one they know that you don’t know. Hope that makes sense – the point is to meet other professionals (dentists, assistants, front office staffers, and of course other hygienists) you don’t know by leveraging the ones you do know. Do this on a regular (weekly or more) basis for a while to branch out quickly.
You can also do a form of this online through social networks on Facebook and LinkedIn (these are linked to the two largest RDH forums on those platforms). They provide a number of forums in which you can stay connected with and meet new professionals.
Get involved in your local association or component if you haven’t already – that’s one of the huge benefits of participation in associations is the networking it provides. You can’t meet everyone at once, but you can, just like visiting offices mentioned above, incrementally get there.
There are lots of small things you can do to re-ignite your dental hygiene job search, but again, you have to take things up a notch and be different than others and even different than you have been if you really want to get it over and done with quickly.