I am a recent grad but am having a difficult time finding full time work! I go on MANY interviews, part/full time. Many seem to go well but then I do not hear back. I have been temping left and right and I am ready to be in a good office 3-4days a week with steady hours. What am I doing wrong? Advice that will help make me stand out?
You are by no means the only hygienist experiencing this problem right now. I went through the exact same dilemma when I graduated. It seems that a dental office is on every other corner, but yet none of them are hiring! It’s important to understand why this is a problem as to not become discouraged with yourself. There was an increase in the number of hygiene schools, so the market has become saturated with more hygienists than there are dental offices to employ them. It seems most offices will hire the more experienced applicant no matter how the interview goes. In my opinion, it’s a real bummer and their loss, but you still need a job! I have actually been the second choice for a position because they chose the candidate who lived just a few miles closer to the office than me. So don’t think you are not being hired because something is necessarily wrong with you. I know it can be tough but it’s important to keep a positive attitude.
So first, keep temping! You are not only adding to your clinical experience, it allows you to work in many offices and learn a lot just by seeing the different ways they are run. That information becomes priceless when deciding if an office is right for you. The best thing about temping, is that you have the ability to walk into any office, know the exact questions and things you need to know- right off the bat- in order to get through the day. This is a huge advantage in your favor for working interviews and how you can shine. By knowing the right questions to ask right away (how to take radiographs with their software, how to pull up perio charting, how long does the doctor likes for exams, etc.) makes you look on top of things and competent. That right there should give you confidence – the confidence an office is looking for.
Second, is realizing that the assistants (and even the front office) might actually have a huge say in who the doctor hires. Shortly after I was hired the assistants told me the doctor asked who they liked best after all the interviews, and he hired me based on their answers. Meaning, you have to impress them too and make their day as easy as you can. For instance, ask where things are located instead of asking for them to get it for you. That makes you look self-sufficient and polite. Seems obvious, but always remember to be polite. Also, I try my best to keep up on my own instruments and trays and help them keep sterile going throughout the day (as time allows). If a patient cancels during your working interview, stock the hygiene operatory and keep yourself busy with “helpful” things. For example, if you see the slow suctions are running low, take it upon yourself to go grab more. If you can be “a part of their team” during your working interview, it shows you aren’t that typical “prima donna” hygienist. It’s a culmination of these little things that will make you just that much of a better choice for their office.
Beyond making yourself stand out in an interview, try to get more interviews. For example, if there are any volunteer opportunities, jump at them. In my area, there is a dental clinic for kids that dentists and hygienists are welcome (and needed) to volunteer at. You can meet many new dentists. In my case, the clinic had a place for resumes of their volunteers who needed a position. The dentists who volunteer are more likely to hire those who volunteer; and furthermore, more likely to hire people they have volunteered with. Also, make sure you add volunteer work on your resume. It is clinical experience!
Overall, remember to keep a positive attitude and your confidence up. You are a trained professional and eventually a job will open up. I hope some of this helps.
Keep temping and passing out your resume. I was an assistant for 20 years before hygiene school. I felt really qualified as an asset to a dental team, but was not getting replies on my digital resume. I dressed up nice and went into offices close to home, where I’d be willing to drive to. All my jobs came from those encounters, where I was able to walk in, smile, and share my confident and fun personality. Good Luck! It’s a tough, saturated market!
My advice is don’t wear scrubs to an interview (unless it’s a working interview of course!)… I went to an interview once dressed in slacks and a nice button down, business casual really, and at the end the office manager thanked me for “dressing so nicely.” I was like, really?? But apparently she didn’t find it appropriate for an interviewee to show up in scrubs.
It’s definitely rough out there. I have 3 years experience and have a job but am having a hard time moving on due to so few jobs out there. I think the main issue is over saturation…there are far too many of us out there and not enough jobs. I apply to jobs and due to so many applicants I never get called. It’s a tough market for new grads that’s for sure.
Keep temping and passing out your resume. I was an assistant for 20 years before hygiene school. I felt really qualified as an asset to a dental team, but was not getting replies on my digital resume. I dressed up nice and went into offices close to home, where I’d be willing to drive to. All my jobs came from those encounters, where I was able to walk in, smile, and share my confident and fun personality.
Definitely keep temping. I just got a great job because they liked me as a temp and have a hygienist quitting.
I find it’s hard to stand out as a hygienist since basically all hygienists have very similar skills. If you have a certain advantage of a skill make sure to play it up on your cover letter and in the interview. Print on resume paper and present and in a nice resume folder.
Of course look professional in the interview and try to be personable. Good luck out there!