Wednesday, April 08, 2020

By popular demand, I created a section for help with making resume's and getting ready for the real world. Under each section I have included my personal documents that I have used with great success to be examples for you. Feel free to use any wording, styles, templates, etc that I have. I want to help YOU! Just don't apply for the same job I am! :-)

It is important to create the following four documents:

- Cover letter

- Resume

- Reference

- Follow up letter

Also it is of great importance to create a professional portfolio as well.  This will be explained below.

Cover Letter

The cover letter is one of the most important first impressions you can make. Try to keep it simple, yet personable. This is often the letter that gets screened by the office managers before being given to the dentist so its always nice to throw in a few things that will catch their eye as well! This should be where you list anything that might go as an "objective" on the resume (read resume' section for more info). If working in a Christian atmosphere is important to you then this is the place to mention - "I am looking for an office that shares the same Christian beliefs as myself ..etc etc.." If you are fresh out of school it is a good place to mention that as well.. just word it in a positive way! Never downplay your working experience if it is lacking, but rather boost up your eagerness to learn from Dr. X and become a team player with his staff.  Make yourself marketable and stand out from the crowd.  Currently there are 292 dental hygiene schools nationwide.  Compare that to the 57 dental schools and you can easily see the dentist to hygienist ratio is ridiculous.  The majority of these dentists that are graduating are either going to work for group practices or associates that already have a full hygiene staff.  The percentage of new offices opening up from scratch is very small and you have many hygienists all competing for the same jobs.  This can make the employers more choosy in their selection to hire a hygienist and it is your responsibility to stand out from the rest!

Click here to see my cover letter


Keep this on one page. Remember Legally Blonde? That's right ....nothing on pink scented paper please. I follow the KISS method (Keep It Simple Stupid). Before dental hygiene, one of my jobs was working for a Fortune 500 company. Part of my job duties was screening résumé's and conducting interviews. I think the use of "objectives" on a resume are pointless and frowned upon by many in the business world. You will get mixed reviews on this from older people who might think it is important, but in the dental hygiene world there is no need for it. Anything that you want to list in an objective should be included in your cover letter. It is just wasted space!! I can not stress that enough! The resume' is your space for your accomplishments to make YOU look good. Not for a cheesy 1-2 sentence objective! People with objectives on their resume's are people who don't have enough positive things to say in the content! Period!

Another important topic to discuss is listing your dental background. Every employer knows what a dental hygienist does. You shouldn't have to list the ability to take impressions, radiographs, scaling, sealants, etc. Its understood! I don't think anyone with RDH after their name does not know how to do the duties of a dental hygienist. Listing everything is boring, and makes you look unimportant. The fact that you graduated dental hygiene school is enough to show you can do the duties. Anything you have done in addition to hygiene should be listed, however. If you have been a dental assistant, front office, hygiene assistant, insurance agent, etc should be listed. This is where what I call the "ality's" come in. Employers want to see stability, dependability, adaptability, communicability, sociability, and compatibility. Show that you don't jump from job to job, you can work well under pressure, you get along well with others, can handle multiple tasks at once, work with little or no supervision, etc. Market yourself!

Click here to see my resume'


This should follow the same type of format, font and letterhead as the rest of your documents. Keep it organized, in alphabetical order. Be sure you have told every reference listed that you will be putting them as a reference. Nothing hurts your chances more than a phone call to your reference that mentions they had no idea you were listing them! List references that have had some type of supervisor role to you in the past. Teachers, employers, dentists you have observed, etc. Friends can be biased... well they should be if they are your friend!

Click here to see my references

Follow Up Letter

This should be something short, simple and sweet to say thanks for the opportunity to see the office. Be sure to thank them for the time to talk to you, mention the staffs friendliness, cleanliness of office, the way seems ran smoothly, etc. Then mention that you are waiting for their response. Simple, sweet and lets them have a good lasting impression of you.

Click here to see my follow up letter.


This is hopefully something you have done in school your senior year.  It is a portfolio or basically a file of your accomplishments, letters of recommendation, files or documents you have created that are related to your profession, etc.  For instance a portfolio may have success stories from patients who have improved their periodontal condition because of or thanks to you. It could include letters of recommendation from previous employers, examples of your relationships with patients whether it be photos, cards, etc.  There are only so many things you can put on a resume' to show you are a dental hygienist.  The portfolio is what you need to prove what you have done or your experiences.  Maybe you present classes on dental hygiene to local schools?  If so, take photos of you speaking and include that as well.  List all the dental publications you receive and currently read, include the CE classes you've taken.  Perhaps you have extensive continuing education in cosmetic dentistry.  Show what you've taken and add it to the portfolio.  Are you a writer?  Include your essays, papers, articles, etc also.

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