I write a lot about what to include on your dental hygiene resume so this week I want to share some things to NOT include on your resume. These are things that, if shared, may actually hurt your chances of getting a job.
As you consider these four things keep in mind that in a saturated job marketing like dental hygiene, employers are looking for ANYTHING that makes a candidate stand out to them (in good ways and bad ways). These things may seem trivial, but if you were tasked with choosing one person out of 50 or more who all have similar experience and credentials, you would probably start to look at the small things, too.
1. Multiple Phone Numbers
Only give employers one phone number to contact you with. I still see a lot of resumes where the hygienist has included two (sometimes even three numbers). Choose the most reliable and number you can be reached – for most people these days that would be their cell phone.
If you give them two, there’s a chance they will try you on one but not the other or that they will leave a message on a phone where you don’t regularly check messages. One number keeps it easier for you and for them.
Tip: There’s a free service in the US called Google Voice that will route phone calls to your cell phone. Google Voice will give you an additional cell phone number, which allows you to create a unique voice message and receive text messages. This means you can keep your regular number private and give your Google Voice phone number out and have your own custom professional voice message service.
2. Salary Requirements
Dental employers want to know what you expect for a salary to help weed out some job seekers. Don’t be afraid if you are asked about this, but you also don’t want to offer it up if they aren’t asking.
I’ll be talking more about salaries and salary negotiation in an upcoming article, but you should have an idea of what the going rate is in your area and if you get asked about your requirements I tell clients to give them an extra-broad range. So if the average is $32 in your area, I might consider telling them something like $32 – $42.
In fairness to you, it’s hard to know what you are willing to accept when you don’t know the entire package. Along with health and retirement benefits, there’s commissions, bonuses, paid training, uniform allowance, patient load and amount of time with each patient, assistant or no assistant, and situational considerations like being forced to clock out when there are no patients. There’s also external factors like how close the office is to where you live or the office’s reputation in the community.
All of these are important factors and you can’t simply say, “I will work for $32 per hour” if everything else about the job stinks. Again, give the employer a broad range, tell them it depends on lots of factors, and leave it at that until they make you an actual offer.
Tip: One possible win-win, if they offer something meager, is to agree to that rate, if they agree to a six-month review and adjustment to your rate, provided the review is favorable.
3. Home Address
There are three main reasons they want to know where you live: (1) If you are close and have transportation issues you still have a shot at getting to work quickly (via a neighbor or mass transit); (2) similarly, if they need you at work sooner than expected or to fill in for someone it can be done more easily; and (3) if you live close, you may already know existing or potential patients and that helps them build or retain patients.
Unless you live ultra close (a few miles or less), I say leave it off. If it comes down to you and another applicant, the tie-breaker could be who lives closer. If you do live really close, you can actually use it to your advantage, but I would bring that up in the interview by dropping little hints in your conversation with them like, “Oh, yes, I have a few friends who come here.”
4. Some Previous Employers
Sometimes you just don’t have a good experience with an employer. I’ve heard lots and lots of clients talk about bad experiences they’ve had with this dentist or that front office person. It’s most definitely okay to leave an employer off your resume.
The dental community in some places is fairly tight-knit – people talk and share information with each other. Ideally, you want to create distance between yourself in those experiences. That can include simply leaving it off, but sometimes you are so far removed from a situation (in terms of years) that it’s okay to include.
Tip: If your current employer is a problem (bad experience) – you can still include that employer, but simply leave the name of the office off and tell the potential new employers that you wish to keep that information confidential so as to not compromise you relationship with that office. Most employers will appreciate that clarification and it helps protect your current issues.