Your dental hygienist resume could be your ticket to riding out the current economic crisis in comfort, as demand for dental hygienists is very high right now. According to the Department of Labor, job prospects for dental hygienists are excellent, because “dentists continue to need the aid of qualified dental assistants.” The Department of Labor explains that, “as dentists’ workloads increase, they are expected to hire more assistants to perform routine tasks,” thus opening up more positions.
To benefit from this boom, however, you must have a polished dental hygienist resume that quickly and effectively markets your skills. Before we discuss specifics, please look over our main article on how to write a resume. That article covers basics that apply to all professional resumes, including your dental hygienist resume.
When it comes to a dental hygienist resume in particular, here are 4 specific items that you should include:
1. Licensing and certification information.
As we always say, no one will assume you’re licensed or certified if you don’t tell them, so always include this type of information on your resume.
Be sure to include the name of the state in which you were licensed, since dental hygienists are generally only allowed to practice in the state in which they have been granted a license.
Remember that you can list more than your Registered Dental Hygienist license on your resume, too. Here are some examples of related certifications that can make your dental hygienist resume stand out:
- Expanded Functions Certification
- Radiography Certification
- Nitrous Oxide Monitoring Certification
- Orthodontic Assistant Certification
- Registered Dental Assistant Certification
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Certification
These items should go under a “licensing” or “certification” section on your dental hygienist resume. You should also consider including either the year in which the license or certification was issued or the year in which it will expire. Don’t use abbreviations.
2. People skills.
As a dental hygienist, you will be working face-to-face with many different types of people – literally. So, it’s obviously important that you can handle social interactions well.
Just saying you are “good with people” isn’t enough for a dental hygienist resume, however. Most dental hygienists could say the same thing. You should think about the extra value that your people skills could bring to a dental team.
For example, are you especially good at helping patients who suffer from dental anxiety or phobias? Are you great with children and parents? Do elderly patients enjoy working with you in particular? What about patients with different physical or mental needs?
These are the kinds of specifics you should focus on in your dental hygienist resume, although, as always, you should only mention the skills that are relevant to the position for which you are applying . A good place to cover them is in your professional summary, which provides a quick, punchy run-down of your most marketable skills.
Of course, you will have to work closely with dentists, dental assistants, receptionists, and other dental hygienists, too. So, if you can emphasize past experiences in which you’ve successfully worked as part of a team, you will be all the more marketable.
As always, you should only list interpersonal skills that you can back up with evidence, since anything on your dental hygienist resume will be fair game during an interview. For example, if you write that you can work well under hectic conditions, have an example from your previous work experience or college days in mind to drive that point home.
3. Applicable continuing education information.
Most states require dental hygienists to take continuing education courses on a regular basis.
However, requirements vary widely. In South Dakota, for example, 75 continuing education hours are required every 5 years for all dental hygienists. This includes a mandatory 5 hours of Radiography. In Wisconsin, on the other hand, there are no continuing education requirements for dental hygienists, or even for dentists.
Even if you aren’t required to take continuing education courses, but have chosen to do so, mentioning ones that are relevant to the position for which you are applying can boost your odds of landing a job. Of course, you shouldn’t just list all of the classes you’ve taken, just the ones that fit the best.
For example, let’s say that you are submitting your dental hygienist resume to an oral surgeon’s office known for handling difficult dental extractions. If you have taken Nitrous Oxide Sedation in Dental Offices as one of your continuing education classes, this would probably be relevant to the position.
Continuing education experiences, if included, should be placed in a separate section. Having a section titled “continuing education” helps emphasize your commitment to honing your skills as a dental hygienist.
4. Dental care skills and areas of specialization.
Including your areas of technical specialization helps the hiring staff see how qualified you are. Here are some examples of areas of specialization that could be emphasized on a dental hygienist resume.
- Preventative Care
- Protective Sealants
- Disease Exam/Screening
- Dental Charting
- Oral Cavity Exam
- Self-Care Programs
- Stain Removal
- Patient Management
- Nutrition Counseling
These are just a few helpful examples. To find more, look for dental hygienist positions on websites such as Monster.com, or other job search engines specific to the health care field. Write down the desired skills you see listed most often in those job ads.
Then, look over them and see which apply to both your own areas of specialization and the jobs you’re interested in applying for. Those are the best ones to include on your dental hygienist resume. It’s also helpful to point out those skills in a corresponding cover letter.
A final piece of advice for your dental hygienist resume…
As a dental hygienist, chances are high that you will be working in a dentist’s office alongside many other types of dental staff who are already used to working with one another. You need to show that you are qualified, skilled, and personable enough to contribute to this existing team.
If you focus on specific ways you can add value to the practice, your dental hygienist resume will stand out for all the right reasons.