You graduated from dental hygiene school! Now what?

You survived embryology and histology, radiography, oral pathology, pharmacology, hours upon hours of clinic, and board exams! What now? How do you go about finding a job that you’ll love? Colleen M. Olson, RDH, gives you five tips from her own recent postgraduation job search to help get you on your way to an exciting career in dental hygiene!

Sep 10th, 2014
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Congratulations! You survived embryology and histology, radiography, oral pathology, pharmacology, hours upon hours of clinic, and board exams! What now? It’s time to put all that hard work to good use and begin the career you’ve worked so hard for. How should you go about finding a job that you’ll love? Let me offer a few suggestions from my own recent postgraduation job search:

1. Polish up that resume. Have several people proofread it to check for grammatical errors and to make sure the layout is easy to follow and understand. Make sure that all pertinent information is current and accurate.

2. Get involved. Become (if you aren’t already) a member of the ADHA and your local district dental hygiene society. These organizations can be an excellent resource for hygienists searching for part-time or full-time employment. Your local dental hygiene society can be a good place to network with other hygienists to find information about the type of office that you are interested in.

3. Network. Network. Network. Fill in as a temporary for offices you would consider for employment. Attend any event where members of the area dental community will be present. Invite prominent area dentists to lunch even if they are not looking to hire a hygienist. If an opportunity for positive interaction and face-time with area dentists or hygienists arises, seize it.

4. Be picky. You should interview an office just as much as they interview you. Don’t settle for a position where you feel uncomfortable with the doctor’s ethical practices or the catty attitudes of the other office staff. You’ve worked hard and deserve to have a job where you are valued as a team member.

5. Don’t get discouraged. You’ll be able to tell a good practice by the low turnover rate of the office staff. Veteran hygienists fill many of the good positions, and this can make the perfect fit for you more difficult to find. It is well worth a couple of weeks or months of temping and interviewing at various places to find an office that you love.

These tips — combined with a positive attitude and winning smile — will help get you on your way to the start of an exciting career in dental hygiene. Good luck job hunting!

ALSO BY COLLEEN OLSON |Strategies to help the teenage patient achieve greater success with oral hygiene

Colleen M. Olson, RDH, earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&M University in 2008 and worked in sales for five years. She graduated from the Blinn College Dental Hygiene program in 2013. She is currently a full-time hygienist in private practice in San Antonio, Texas. Colleen enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, Zach, and their dogs, a Great Dane named Shiner and a shepherd mix named Duddley.

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