If you’ve been watching the job outlook for dental hygienists, dental assistants and dentists, you may feel like you’re getting conflicting reports. Most reporting agencies, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, say that job growth in dentistry is above average and that the job outlook is good. At the same time, many dental professionals feel frustrated and believe that the market is saturated.
Dentistry is growing as a whole, which means new jobs will continue to be added at a steady rate. However, in many places the supply of dental professionals is outpacing demand. The solution? Make yourself look good! Here are a few steps you can take to stand out from the crowd.
Pound the pavement
An open dental job may attract hundreds of resumes, so hand-delivering a paper copy is a great way to get some face time. While you may not get to talk to the boss, you’ll get to introduce yourself to the front staff, who have the boss’ ear. Making a good impression with the people at the front desk can give you a boost.
Maintaining professional profiles on LinkedIn and other sites will help you make contacts. More importantly, hiring managers often search for the names of applicants online. Having a solid, professional profile that corroborates your resume is a plus, so be sure your profiles are current and highlight any relevant expertise and experience.
On the other hand, embarrassing pictures of you from your younger years can cost you the job. Clean up your social media profiles and lock down the privacy on your personal accounts. If necessary, remove tags from friends’ photos.
Over the long term, you can use the internet to build credibility. Having or contributing to a dental blog, for example, shows that you’re a true expert who really cares about dentistry. So if you have expertise in a particular subject, consider publishing relevant content. It’s not a quick fix, but it will help over time.
Many dental professionals only consider permanent positions. But that’s not the only way to succeed in the dental industry. Working short-term gigs as a traveling dental assistant, traveling dental hygienist, or traveling dentist can lead to permanent employment or become a rewarding career in itself.
Choose a niche (but keep your possibilities open)
Make yourself a rare commodity by specializing in a particular area. For example, you might pursue additional certifications for expanded functions. (Dental assistants can see requirements by state at danb.org. Dental hygienists who are currently employed might ask to take on expanded functions as allowed by their state.) Another option is simply to engage in self-guided study in a particular area such as pediatric dentistry, nutrition, or diagnostic technology. If you select a niche, you’re free to apply to any job, but you’ll stand out when applying to jobs that align with your interests.
It’s tough but worth it
The job market can be difficult to navigate, and it can be frustrating at times. It’s important to keep your eye on why you went into dentistry in the first place. It may take you a while to find the perfect fit, but the hunt will be worthwhile when you hear the words, “you’re hired.”
Dr. Reza Sanjar is a co-founder of Cloud Dentistry, LLC and co-owner of Dental Art in Katy, Texas. His years of experience as a dentist and dental practice owner give him unique insights that inform the practices of Cloud Dentistry. A graduate of Boston University and Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Sanjar has been practicing dentistry since 2009. He knows the industry well and is pleased to bring the benefits of Cloud Dentistry to other dental practices and dental professionals.