I get lots of requests for help with transitional resumes for dental hygienists. For various reasons, including burnout, boredom, and back or neck pain, some hygienists want non-clinical work.
And there are lots of opportunities in dental sales, product education, speaking and consulting, practice management, and academic instruction, to name only a few.
So, how does one create a resume that addresses the transition? How do you move from one career path to another?
Well, much of the structure I have talked about in other articles can remain the same. This includes work history, education history, and a summary section.
The main difference is in the language you use – the content.
Reverse Engineer It
In essence, when I create a transitional resume for a client I start with who they are right now. If, for example, they are in a clinical setting, I visualize them interacting with patients and performing traditional clinical duties.
Then I try to visualize who they want to be. If they want to be a sales rep, I picture them in this new setting interacting on sales calls, building relationships, discussing the features of their product, responding to concerns, and so on.
Then I work backward to reverse-engineer that transition. What will make that possible? What is it about this particular client that an employer looking for a sales rep is going to like or want?
Leverage Your Experience
Once I have that in my head, I begin writing and leveraging. Leveraging that which they have done as a clinician that can be re-positioned and re-framed for this new type of job.
Obviously, if haven’t worked as a sales rep, you can’t say you have. But you can sell employers on your possession of good sales rep attributes. And there are lots of them – some are soft skills and attributes, and others are more technical. And some may come from other experiences of your career. Could be volunteer work, independent sales rep experience, or even work you did in a completely different industry.
So it’s really important to put lots of thought into your resume. Reverse-engineer it so that you are thinking about it from an employer’s perspective. What is it that they want in a sales rep and what do you have that matches or complements it.
Branding and Positioning
It comes down to branding or positioning yourself within the job market. Don’t just think that if you create an average resume that touches on everything that you will appeal to everyone. When you try to make yourself attractive to everyone it’s harder to appear perfect for anyone.
Learn what the employer wants and engineer your resume to articulate how you meet those needs.
Accomplishments and Results
I always preach accomplishments and results on resumes. Fill your resume with as much of this content as you possibly can, as opposed to lists of tasks and duties.
Employers want to see that you are an achiever, not just a doer. They want to see that you get results not just stuff done. This, of course, goes back to keeping a journal of accomplishments throughout your career. That information is gold on a resume and when shared in interviews.
It’s especially important when you are transitioning because you may not have a lot of experience. But if you have accomplishments employers will make the assumption you are accomplished in general.
It is possible for you to transition to different career paths. Experience is important but just as important is your ability to communicate the relevance of your experience. Help employers see you can do what they need done.
Doug Perry is an expert resume writer and job search coach. He and his wife, Tracie, who is a dental hygienist, created GetHiredRDH in response to the challenging dental hygiene job market and have helped thousands of dental hygienists through tips and individual services. If you need individual, click here to contact Doug.