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9-steps-to-find-the-right-fit-after-graduation

Congratulations! Your hard work has paid off, and you’re graduating! But would you believe me if I said that now is when the learning happens? Your education does a beautiful job of laying the foundation for a successful career in dentistry. But it is up to you to find the right supportive environment to foster significant career growth as you navigate your new dental profession. Below are 9 steps to help you find the right fit.

1. Make a list of priorities

What is your ideal commute time? Are you interested in working in pediatrics, periodontics, or general? Small or large? Think about patient demographics. Are you interested in public health? It is always good to shadow a variety of offices to truly get a feel for how each operates. 

Find more tips in Step 1: Pre-Search Prep of the FREE 5-Step Job Seeker Toolkit.

2. Research the dental office

Before you send over your resume and hope for an interview, research the office. Dig into their website. Do they have a social media account? This is often a great insight into the office culture. Check out their reviews. Are patients raving about the service they are receiving? 

3. Start practicing for interviews

Research typical interview questions such as, “Tell me why you would be a good fit for our office?” Then, grab a friend, family member, or mentor and start practicing these questions out loud with one another. You want your answers to be natural and not sound memorized, so the more you practice, the more comfortable you will become. 

Prepare for and learn how to be confident in interviews in Step 4: The Interview.

Also read this Interview Checklist: How Dental Grads Can Nail a Dental Interview and 5 Things I Wish I Asked In My First Dental Job Interview.

4. Tailor your resume and cover letter

Customize your resume and cover letter for each job application, highlighting your skills, experiences, and accomplishments most relevant to the position. Be sure to bring extra copies on the day of your interview. There may be others on the team who may join in on the interview process without prior notice. 

Get more tips in Step 2: Build a Winning Resume Profile.

5. Search for dental jobs online

Utilize platforms such as DentalPost to help jumpstart your job search. DentalPost has free professional and personality assessments to help you understand your needs and priorities so you can find the best fit for you. 

More information is in Step 3: Search & Apply.

6. Network with your peers

Stay connected with your classmates, instructors, and alumni from your dental hygiene program to learn about job openings and gather recommendations. Attend local dental association meetings and conferences and connect with peers and vendors to stay informed about opportunities in our field. 

7. Evaluate job offers

When you are offered a job, be sure to follow up with specific questions before accepting, such as salary, benefits, work hours, opportunities for professional growth, and the level of support and mentorship available.

Not sure what to look for and how to weigh your options? Review Step 5: The Offer.

8. Trust your instincts and be patient

Pay attention to your gut feeling when visiting a dental office. If something doesn’t feel right, it may not be the best fit for you, don’t rush the process just to be employed. We are lucky that hygiene is in demand in most areas right now. Be patient and align your new employer with your values!

9. Remain open to Other opportunities in Dentistry

Our profession has many options besides clinical hygiene. Keep learning and growing, and be open to opportunities that may come your way.

Ultimately, the decision of where to start your career as a dental hygienist is a personal one, and you should take the time to research and explore your options before making a final decision. Trust your instincts and choose a practice where you feel comfortable and supported and where you can see yourself growing and thriving as a dental hygienist!

Want more advice? Check out these blogs:

Advice for Recent Dental Hygiene Graduates

Starting Your First Dental Job? Get Off On The Right Foot.

Tips For Graduates (From Real Dental Professionals)

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