Make Your Dental Assistant Résumé Work for You
By Kimberly Brandes
Nobody knows better than a dental assistant that a good smile makes a great first impression. In the job market, however, a first impression is dependent on a great dental assistant résumé. If you're ready to enter the work force with a degree in dental assisting, you already have a solid foundation for a satisfying career. With a bit of legwork and creativity, you can polish your résumé to perfection and embark on your new course with a job you deserve.
Let the Brainstorming Begin
Make the task of writing a dental assistant résumé less intimidating by first compiling a list of your skills, work experience, educational background and qualifications. Write down your strengths and interests without thinking how they may or may not relate to your career as a dental assistant. From this list, you will be able to pick and choose the content to include in your résumé, and then tailor it for each position you apply for.
Get Back to Basics
Grab the attention of a potential employer. Set yourself apart from other dental assistants by using these essential tips:
- Know your audience: Use the job listing to pinpoint specific skills that each dental office is looking for.
- Include an objective: The people reviewing your dental assistant résumé will choose a candidate who is motivated and has a clear-cut sense of direction. Tell them that you want to expand your knowledge in a well-established office.
- A little lingo goes a long way: When describing your qualifications, use dental industry keywords that catch the eye and explain how your skills can be applied. Guide the reader to the important aspects with bold headings, bullet points and wide margins—but don't overdo it.
Use Your Education to Your Advantage
When seeking an entry-level dental assistant position, consider using a functional résumé that puts more emphasis on your skills and education than your chronological work history. You can include items such as:
- Sterilizing and disinfecting dental equipment in order to prepare for surgery
- Organizing instruments for each procedure
- Mixing fillings and materials for impressions and restorations
- Using suction devices to keep patients’ mouths dry and clear
- Applying topical anesthetics to gums
- Instructing patients on oral hygiene and post-operative care
- Taking dental X-rays and processing X-ray film
- Making casts of the teeth and mouth from impressions
Highlight Your Work History
Even if you're looking for your very first dental assistant job, you can still emphasize the important skills you've gained in other fields. Potential employers will be looking for applicants with excellent people skills, who work well on a team and have experience in a fast-paced, service-oriented atmosphere.
List responsibilities you've had in other jobs that demonstrate these attributes. Any leadership roles, promotions and volunteer work are also valuable experiences to list.
Highlight any skills you have gained from working in a dental office throughout your education, such as:
- Answering questions about dental care
- Making appointments and sending reminders
- Greeting patients and fielding phone calls
- Organizing and filing patient records
- Sending patient bills and receiving payments
- Ordering dental supplies