Dental assistants play a crucial role in oral health and hygiene, finding employment opportunities in dental offices, community health providers and educational institutions. While figures vary across Canada, government statistics reveal a relatively favourable job outlook in British Columbia over the next few years, where new positions are expected to open up due to retirements. In the current economy, however, a competitive edge is more important than ever.
Launching a career after dental assistant college might seem daunting, but successful candidates improve their chances with key job-hunting strategies. From industry networking to interview approaches, these tactics help new dental assistants gain an advantage – and distinguish themselves in a competitive field.
Read on for important tips on landing your first job as a dental assistant.
Top Applicants Market Themselves and Their Qualifications
After honing your skills at a leading dental assistant college, the next step is presenting your credentials to potential employers. A strong resume helps candidates stand out from the pack, demonstrating their unique attributes and professional passion. While presenting their educational background, dental assistants are advised to highlight any practical experience – an important consideration for employers in the industry.
Resumes should include a short description of the dental assistant program you attended and the qualifications you earned, signalling your industry insight and attention to detail. First-time candidates can also highlight previous job experience elsewhere. While it might not seem directly relevant to a dental assistant career, previous experience in the retail, hospitality or restaurant industries, among others, can highlight important professional qualities such as customer service skills or organizational abilities. Thinking critically about their qualifications, candidates can leverage all pertinent aspects of their personal history toward earning a new position.
Networking Maximizes Opportunities After Dental Assistant College
Dental students are likely to have heard about the professional wonders of networking – a must for successful job searches in all sectors. Complementing a finely-tuned resume, networking helps alert all possible employers of your qualifications and availability. Building a professional is network is not only helpful with entry level jobs, but also long-term professional growth.
While networks are typically maintained across industry professionals, first-time applicants should cast their net as widely as possible. Since everyone interacts regularly with dentists, even professionals in other industries might have information on a dental practice looking to hire new talent.
During dental assistant college, students can start building a professional network on digital platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. These sites help communicate a candidate’s passion, personality and qualifications– and provide all-important news of job openings. On Twitter and Instagram, students and graduates can use and follow hashtags to keep abreast of industry developments. Below email signatures, candidates can also highlight their qualifications and specify their job-seeking status.
The Final Step is a Strong Job Interview
Once a candidate’s resume has made it into the right hands, the next phase is the interview. The interviewing process might seem intimidating, but simple preparation goes a long way toward steadying nerves. Candidates can prepare by researching the dental practice, assessing its services and anticipating future needs.
Not only will this knowledge help candidates tailor their answers for future employers, it will also signal their professional passion. Candidates should also prepare questions to ask the interviewer, demonstrating a keen interest in the dental practice – and the larger industry.
Successful candidates give employers a sense of their personality. Since the industry requires close contact among professionals and clients, dental practices are seeking new employees with a friendly disposition and a collaborative spirit. A gentle tone is especially important for dental assistants, since they are often required to welcome and soothe anxious patients.
Are you ready to become a dental assistant?
Find out how Discovery Community College can help.