A really common question among dental hygienists concerns the proper or best length of their resume – so what is it? One? Two? Three pages or more?
I believe it depends on your goal and a little bit on how long you’ve been working. So here are some tips on determining the best length for your clinical dental hygiene resume.
Clinical Jobs vs. Other Jobs
Most of you are seeking a clinical dental hygiene job, but if you want something outside of clinical such as education or sales I will give you the green light for something lengthier IF you have the varied and valuable content to fill it.
The two V’s – varied and valuable – mean you have done more than just worked clinical dental hygiene jobs in your career. You may have worked at the college as an instructor, in a dental sales position or two, or even other non-dental fields. Or maybe you have written some dental-related articles, conducted some research, or been involved in component leadership positions. Those are all valuable and varied experiences and accomplishments and can really add to the depth and breadth of your experience when applying to non-clinical jobs, and thus can justify a lengthier resume.
Clinical Dental Hygiene Resumes That Get Interviews
If your objective is clinical hygiene work, stick with a one-page resume.
The main purpose of a resume is to get an interview. Your resume absolutely has to stand out among a sea of applicants or you are losing out on interviews – my clients will back me up on that as many of them have tried an average resume they found on the Internet then started using one I helped them with and got great results.
I believe some hygienists mistakenly think the way to stand out is by creating a lengthier (multiple pages) resume. But that strategy could actually hurt you and here’s why.
Brevity is what sells. With an over-saturated job market, employers simply don’t have time to review more than one page – so pages two and beyond accomplish nothing.
Secondly, studies show employers are making split-second judgements about you from your resume. One well-published study indicates they are spending about six seconds reviewing a resume before deciding to interview the candidate or not. What split-second thought do you think a two-page resume conveys to an employer hiring a clinical hygienist for their small practice?
If you guessed, “over-qualified” or “expensive” you are probably on the right track – there could even be some who surmise “old” or “behind the times.”
But I think what you REALLY want to convey from your resume are positive quick thoughts like “valuable” or “different” or “creative” or “organized” – I believe these can all be achieved better with a one-page resume.
And the good news is that it’s much easier for you to create a shorter, simpler masterpiece than coming up with enough content to fill out two pages or more.
Less is more for employers, but it’s still less for you. You can really hone in on the most impressive or effective information about you and your career and not feel guilty for keeping it minimal.
So what kinds of things should you include – what’s going to give you the most bang for your buck? That’s a good question and the topic for next week’s article so stay tuned and have a great week!