Dental hygiene job hunting is hard enough without adding the element of doing it from a distance. When you don’t live in the area where you need to find a job, you have to some extra things to make you current location not an issue.
But it can be done (I’ve had several dental hygiene clients pull it off) and here are a few considerations and pointers to make it happen for you.
It’s really important you get a handle on the situation where you want to move to. Spend some time profiling the area. Learn everything you can about the area – average hygiene wages, where job openings are posted, proximity to hygiene schools (more schools often equals tougher competition), contact information of local staffing agencies, contact information of local dental hygiene associations or components, and so on.
If the decision to move is still up on the air, it’s really important to know what you are getting into before you make any commitments. It may cause you to change your mind or at least adjust your plans and expectations.
The next thing you will need to consider, and hopefully this is obvious, is RDH licensure. What will be required in terms of a new license? What’s legal or not legal where you want to move?
Anesthesia licensing, for example, may be perfectly normal where you live now, but in some areas it’s a new practice and some doctors just aren’t as comfortable with it yet. Are you okay with that?
The absolute best and most important thing you can do is begin networking with other hygienists in the new area. You can find them on LinkedIn or Facebook in many cases. Or perhaps you have friends in the new area that have contacts.
There are lots of dental hygiene Facebook discussion groups that are tied to specific cities or regions and I believe most followers of those groups will be happy to help you. I help administrate the largest social media group on LinkedIn called Dental Hygienists (at coming up on 13,500 members, you can click here to join them).
I had one client who contacted some dentists and hygienists in the area she wanted to move to and was able to not only make some new friends, but ended up lining up a couple interviews before she even moved there.
Here’s a good approach for that instead of “Do you have any job openings?” Ask instead, “What advice would you give a hygienist looking for work in your area?” People love giving advice – it’s less threatening, yet if they do happen to have or know of an opening, they will share it with you.
If you plan an actual field trip to the new area, consider contacting a few working dental hygienists in the area you want to work in and offer to take them out to lunch – but target ones who are active in the local association as they will generally be better connected. Just tell them you are looking for mentors and contacts to help you find work.
Consider visiting at a time when you can attend a local dental conference or monthly chapter meeting. That will land some great opportunities to network. Bring lots of business cards or postcards to hand out.
Finally, contact the local temp agency. They can get you up to speed on the area’s job scene.
I mentioned getting some postcards printed to hand out. That’s a great strategy but try and concentrate it on a smaller radius of where you might want to live, then mail them out to the broader area.
I would also recommend that on your resume you remove your mailing address. Employers look for the least path of resistance and also for any small thing they can to eliminate you as a potential candidate – where you live could be an automatic dis-qualifier for them.
You may even want to consider getting a Google Voice phone number (free) with a prefix that is more common to the area you want to move to.
The local staffing agency can be a huge resource to helping you get off on the right foot. Make an appointment to meet with them to talk about the local job scene. Treat your visit with them like a job interview – impress them, make them want to give you their best leads and staffing opportunities.
Finding a job in another city is challenging, but with the right preparation and steps to market yourself you can land a great dental hygiene job.