We’re mid-holiday season now and so much is going on. But many of you are still looking for a better job, and even beginning to think about your New Years resolutions.
As you think about these things, think about what is you love about dental hygiene. Hopefully you can come up with lots of reasons or at least a few really big ones. Now, ask yourself, “Is my love for those things about dental hygiene showing to employers?”
Hopefully, it’s really obvious to them. Employers want employees who are passionate about their career – dental hygienists who love talking shop and making a difference in the lives of their patients. More than just saying it, you have to show it.
So here’s five ways to communicate your love for dental hygiene without even saying it.
1. Social Sharing
I’ve talked in the past about making sure you take advantage of all the great technology to help you create connections with potential employers. So once you’ve got yourself set up with a professional blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook account start using them to post, comment, share and “like” things about dental hygiene.
When employers begin to search for your name, they’re going to find these profiles and one of things they are going to look for are the kinds of things you are posting. It’s not to say you can’t have a life outside dental hygiene – no problem there. But sprinkled into your posts and things you share should be dentistry stuff you find interesting or come across. I would make a habit of posting at least one thing per week to keep it fresh.
There’s one more thing you can do also. Like or follow the social media pages of offices you are interested in working at. When they post an interesting item on their pages, comment on or “like” it. They get notifications of that and my get curious to see who you are. That gives you a very subtle connection with them as hopefully they will see that you are a hygienist in their area, which may lead to them reaching out to you to temp or even interview with them. Be subtle – don’t “like” or comment on everything they post – just create the connection with them here and there.
Find a way to volunteer either at a clinic for low-income people or maybe teaching school kids about dental hygiene. Then include that information on your resume – it sends a message that you really do care about people and your profession. To take it a step further, come prepared in your interview to talk about one or two volunteer experiences you have had.
A couple dental hygienist friends of mine, Andrew Johnston and Michelle Strange go on dental missions to third-world countries every year – Andrew through SomosAmigos.org and Michelle through palmettomedical.org. The trips are fairly inexpensive and great ways in which to volunteer and share your talents. They talk about this and other things on their new dental hygiene podcast “Off the Cusp Podcast” which you can subscribe to in iTunes.
Another friend and dental hygienist client of mine, Amy Pittelkau, runs her own non-profit organization called Amy’s Village where she organizes similar missions.
3. Conference & Chapter Participation
To maintain your license, you always need CE. So it’s not a shocker to see lots of hygienists at association and component conferences. However, take your involvement a little further by attending more than just the annual meeting. Volunteer to serve on committees and accept other leadership opportunities.
Not only does this look great on a resume, it keeps you extremely well-connected with others and that by itself will lead you to job opportunities. All of this communicates to employers that you take dentistry and your career very seriously.
4. Become an Expert
Find your own area of dental hygiene that really fascinates you and dive in deeper. Make it your niche so that you can share what you know and, again, talk with potential employers in a way that they will conclude you are an expert in that area.
You can further demonstrate your expertise by writing and speaking about it within your local circles of dental hygiene all the way up to a national or even international level. Hygienists who do this are regarded very highly and it shows you are passionate about dental hygiene.
5. The Little Things
Compared to the previous four, this might sound really silly to some of you. It is subtle, but really helps complete the picture of your love for dental hygiene so don’t laugh.
Find and use trinkets and symbols that show you are proud to be a dental hygienist. Here are some examples:
- Get a vanity license plate for your car that says ILUVRDH or RDHPRO;
- Put your keys on a keychain that includes a trinket about loving dental hygiene;
- Post a picture of yourself wearing a dental hygiene t-shirt on your Facebook page or blog.
If these specific things aren’t your style, that’s okay. Think about small ways like these that you can communicate the same thing. Sure, by themselves they aren’t going to land you a job, but it helps create within the minds of potential employers a depiction of who you are. They may have never met you, but when they see evidence (not just words on your resume) that you truly love dental hygiene they will be more likely to believe it. Creating that belief and then backing it up will get you on the path to landing a great dental hygiene job.