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Applying for your first job out of school can be scary. You’ve spent a lot of time daydreaming about graduation and your first time working with a patient, and now it’s time to start making it happen. There are probably a lot of thoughts running through your head; what kind of practice do I want to work at? Do I want to stay where I am or move to a different city? Am I willing to start out working a few days at different practices? …the list goes on.

You might feel nervous and overwhelmed, but we’ve got some tips to help you figure it out. Weshutterstock_53544529 reached out to our friend and CEO of Banta Consulting, Lois Banta, to get her best advice for recent hygiene graduates. Lois has over 30 years experience in the dental field and devotes her time to helping practices succeed.

These three tips from Lois will help you get a better understanding of what you hope to get out of your first job and, when the time comes, make a great impression.

1. Seek out employers that encourage total patient care, including patient education. You’ve spent a lot of time learning about the best way to care for patients so it’s important to find a practice that puts that at the top of their priority list. A commitment to patient care and education sets the standard for the rest of the practice and ensures that your future coworkers will be just as dedicated to patients as you are.

2. Create a list of questions for the potential employer in order to facilitate interactive discussions. Take the time to prepare for your interview. Write down a list of things you want to know about the practice, employer and employees. Being prepared for an interview will help keep you calm and ready for whatever is thrown at you. When it’s your turn to ask questions at the end of the interview, do it! Ask questions that create conversation and show that you are genuinely interested in the position. Doing this will help make a lasting impression and might help you get the job.

3. Prepare to keep learning. You graduated right? That doesn’t mean you are done learning. Go ahead and accept that learning and continued education are a lifelong process. Not only will you continue learning things about your job, you might also be asked to learn other employees’ tasks. Cross training employees is essential to a well rounded, high performing team.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you respect in the field. We’ve all been in your shoes before, so hearing advice from someone you admire may help motivate you. Landing your first job probably won’t be easy, but don’t get discouraged. Keep a positive attitude and put yourself out there. Once you land your first job, it will all be worth it.

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