Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Six Ways To Stay Positive During A Difficult Job Search

This is a great post from Lindsay Olson on the Brazen Careerist.

Rejection, especially in this job market, is an unavoidable reality. You won’t win every time. It’s okay be be disappointed, for a minute, but set a limit and move on. Part of job search success requires self-evaluation. It’s important to recognize the possibility you might be doing something wrong and, if so, to be open to positive change.

If you’ve been on the hunt for awhile and you feel like you’re getting nowhere, consider asking your recent interviewers and peers for constructive criticism. Be prepared for the sugar-coated version, but at least you will gain some perspective on what you may be able to change for future interviews.

I find the most frustrated job seekers are those who walk blindly through their job searches. Recruiters and hiring managers are keen at sniffing out those with chips on their shoulders. Not being aware of negative feelings or the inability to control emotions throughout a difficult job search process will quickly send a job seeker to the depths of job search hell, and we all know that is not a pretty place to be.

I know it’s easier said than done, but keeping your chin up and sending out positive vibes throughout every step of an interview process is critical to your success. Here are 6 ways to stay positive during your job search:

1. Take responsibility for your happiness.

Too often we let other people determine our happiness. When you let a potential employer, or anyone else for that matter, control your feelings, you’ll never end up very happy. Happiness, bitterness, or frustration are all choices. How you decide to react to any situation in a job search is up to you. There are a many issues you won’t have any control over. The key is knowing what is within your power (yourself) and what is out of your hands (everyone else).

2. Reward yourself for the small successes along the way.

Celebrate when you get a phone interview or second-round interview. Ok, it’s not a job offer, but it’s a step in the right direction. Even if you aren’t selected for the job, it means your resume is communicating the right things to a potential employer.

3. Find a job search partner and surround yourself with positive people.

Networking should play a huge part in your job search, however, if you find yourself surrounded by “Debbie Downers”, find another group! This goes for a job search partner, too. While finding someone to talk to who’s in the same boat as you and who understands the frustrations is very helpful, make sure you help keep each other motivated and positive.

4. Set goals. Get up and get out.

Don’t allow yourself to sleep in and lounge around. Take your job search seriously and search every single day. Set daily goals and track your progress so you have a good idea of where you are heading. Setting a job search schedule will give you a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.

5. Find time to do things you enjoy.

Keeping your life balanced will help you stay positive and keep things in perspective. Explore a new hobby. Catch up on your reading list. Eat right and exercise! Stay engaged with your family and friends.

6. Consider exploring a cause you are passionate about through part-time volunteer work.

Not only can volunteering lead to possible job leads and new connections, but it’s a good way to add structure to your days and feel like you are contributing to a positive cause.
How do you stay positive when life gets you down?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

CareerBuilder’s Annual College Job Forecast: New Grads Must Step it Up

Do you know someone graduating this spring (and no, watching the “Donna Martin Graduates” episode of old-school 90210 doesn’t count)? Chances are if you do, you’ve sensed or outright listened to them rant about heard their trepidation about entering the “real world” and throwing their hat into the current job market ring. Because, well, the environment right now is not exactly what it used to be for soon-to-be or recent grads. Things are a little tough out there.

The class of 2009 will face the most competitive job market in years, as companies continue to proceed with caution amid economic uncertainty, according to CareerBuilder’s newly released annual college job forecast.The percentage of employers planning to hire recent college grads is roughly half of what it was just two years ago. Only 43 percent of employers plan to hire recent college graduates in 2009, down from 56 percent in 2008 and 79 percent in 2007.

2009 Salaries

Along with the economy, entry-level salaries have taken a bit of a dive. Among those employers planning to hire recent college graduates, more than one in five (21 percent) said they will decrease starting salaries for recent college graduates in 2009 as compared to 2008. But there’s hope! A whopping 68 percent of employers plan to keep initial salary offers the same as last year, and 11 percent will increase them.
  • Thirty-three percent of employers plan to offer recent college graduates starting salaries ranging between $30,000 and $40,000.

  • An additional 17 percent will offer between $40,000 and $50,000

  • Fourteen percent will offer more than $50,000

  • Thirty-six percent will offer less than $30,000

“While recent college graduates are facing a highly competitive job market right now, there are still opportunities out there,” said Brent Rasmussen, President of CareerBuilder North America.

“The biggest challenge is showing relevant experience, which employers say is one of the most important factors they look for in applications from recent college graduates. This isn’t limited to professional work experience, so don’t get discouraged. Class work, school activities and volunteering also qualify as relevant experience and can be included in your resume as well.”

So how can new graduates differentiate themselves in the current job market, and what are the absolute faux pas that today’s candidates need to be aware of — and steer clear of? Employers who participated in the survey weighed in below.

Relevant work experience?

I’m pretty sure grads (and candidates in general) should leave that week-long stint with a cult or the Britney Fan Club honorary board member award off their credentials. But with that said, what activities qualify as pertinent work experience for recent college grads to include on their resumes?

  • Internships

  • Part-time jobs in another area or field

  • Volunteer work

  • Involvement in school organizations

  • Class work

  • Involvement in managing activities for sororities and fraternities

  • Participation in sports

Hey new grads, don’t do this:

Employers also shared their opinions on the biggest mistakes new grads make when applying and interviewing. Wearers of Spandex unitards and lovers of keg stand Facebook profile pictures, take note:

  • Acting bored or cocky - 63 percent

  • Not dressing appropriately - 61 percent

  • Coming to the interview with no knowledge of the company - 58 percent

  • Not turning off cell phones or electronic devices - 50 percent

  • Not asking good questions during the interview - 49 percent

  • Asking what the pay is before the company considered them for the job - 38 percent

  • Spamming employers with the same resume and/or cover letter - 21 percent

  • Failure to remove unprofessional photos/content on social media such as social networking pages, Web pages, blogs - 19 percent

  • Not sending a thank you note after the interview - 12 percent

CareerBuilder’s Annual College Job Forecast was conducted from February 20 to March 11, 2009 among 2,543 hiring managers and Human Resource professionals. Get the full press release here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Are you ready to add an Associate Dentist

All to often I speak with practice owners that say they would like to add an associate dentist, but after speaking to them I find that they lack the revenues, patient base, or planning to really make this happen. First and foremost, as a practice owner, you have to ask the question, "Why do I want/need an associate?"

Reasons I often hear are: "I am much to busy to keep up with the demand on my practice." "It is time I start transitioning ownership over the next 3+ years." "I want to work less." These are decent starts, but you have to take a look at several other factors.

Is the practice productive enough with one doctor?

You need to determine the number of truly active patients in the practice. A single practitioner needs at least 1500 active patients over 12 to 18 months. You also need to be grossing at a minimum $750,000 annually. Also, considers the types of cases. If your cases are generally very large producers then you patient count may be lower. Bringing on an associate dentist if you practice is doing less than the following will most likely cost you, the practice owner, money. Not make more.

Do you have enough patients for a new doctor?

You need to plan on several things in order to ensure your new associate will be busy and productive. You need to have at an excellent new patient flow. You are most likely not willing to give up your own active patients. That cost you. Marketing, is going to have to be addressed. If you only get 15 to 20 new patients per month you will have to step up the efforts to get more so your associate can work. Take a look at inactive patient records as well, and see what you can do to reach out to them, and get them back.

What do you normally refer out?

If you are referring out molar endo, oral surgery, or implants you should target associates that can add more value to your practice. Associates with the ability to do these procedures in your practice simply adds to your bottom line. More and more practices are taking this approach. NOTE: if you are looking to add an associate with these skills then you will have to be willing to invest in the necessary instruments and equipment required.

Is this your exit strategy?

If you are hiring an associate with the goal of transitioning out then you need a detailed, written plan for what will happen and when. Talk about these thing up front with candidates. Show them the plan. This allows the potential associate to know what is expected. Let the associate have input, and expect negotiation.

Do you know what Associate Dentist expect to be paid?

You have been in practice for 20+ years. You were paid $70,000 a year as an associate when you first graduated Dental School. Associates candidates now making around $120,000 in a good private practice associateship.

All in all you have to plan well ahead and make sure this will benefit you, your practice, and your associate.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Balancing Dental School and a Family

This is a great post from the Visit his site for more great articles.

Over the course of this website’s history I have recieved several emails asking how I balance dental school and a family. While I am no professional in the subject, I have been married for six years and have half as many kids, so my opinion and experiance will have to do. I encourage any comments on this subject as well.

Dental School is just a step in life. It ends. It lasts for four years and then life moves on. Your family on the other hand stays with you - or at least it should. The first thing to do is to prioritize. Family comes first. This is up to interpretation of course. During finals week my family might have dropped a few notches on the priority totem pole. I have come up with a few items that have helped keep my family happy - most of the time.

1. Time. Your family needs a daily dose of time. There is always 24 hours in one day. Subtract the time spent at school, the needed study time, dinner time, etc. and use the leftover time to spend with your wife and kids. Sometimes you won’t have any time at all. During my second year I remember leaving early for school, coming home, eating, putting the kids to bed, talking to my wife for 10-15 minutes and studying until bedtime. This was common during the first two years but was remedied by a simple thing seen in #2.

2. Date Night. My classmate (who helped write this article) who also has a family likes the following saying, “It is better to spend money on date night during dental school than to spend money on marriage counseling after dental school.” If you go a week and have only spent 15-30 minutes a day with your family than a date night is a good time to relax and have fun. My uncle went through dental school with a family and his motto was to study hard on weekdays and have fun on the weekends. Date nights on a budget usually consist of going out to dinner, a movie, renting a movie, hanging out with friends, going into the city, playing rockband together, etc. You don’t have to go all out each time, it is the quality of time spent together. Find other families in your area and do a swap. Each week one family takes all the kids for THREE hours while the other families go out. Each week rotates between familes. That means that if you get 4 families to participate you get to go out for three weeks in a row and babysit on the fourth week. The babysitting part isn’t so bad because all the kids entertain each other.

3. When you are spending time with your family are you there in mind or just body? Sometimes when it was close to finals I would find myself hanging out with my family, but my mind was elsewhere. I would be half listening to my boys or my wife - or sometimes not be listening at all. When you are hanging out, take a deep breath, relax, and hang out. Then get back to your studies or lab work, etc.

4. Help out around the house. My wife stays at home with our kids and her routine is pretty much the same. Chores don’t change that much and don’t get more or less exciting. If you come home after along day and you see a pile of laundry on the couch or the garbage is overflowing…take a minute to help out. It only takes about ten minutes to do a few chores and your spouse will appreciate it whether they say so or not. It is the small things that help a relationship.

5. Communicate. This is done daily and is self explanatory. Dental school is stressful for everyone. Your spouse wants to spend time with you, your kids miss you, and you miss your family. I won’t get too mushy here, but express gratitude, tell each other you miss them during the day. More communication can be done during date night.

6. Marry an understanding person. My wife is a strong women. In fact she ran 3 or 4 eight-minute miles almost everyday up until about 6-7 months into her third pregnancy. I can’t drive three mile without breaking a sweat. She is very understanding and has made many sacrifices so I could pursue my studies. Make sure to be understanding of your spouses sacrifices and spouses make sure you realize the sacrifices your spouse is making while in dental school.

None of this information is profound in anyway. This is a little of what we have done in dental school. A lot of this is different depending on the family dynamic and the relationships and personalities of each member. Not all my time is spent with either school or family which makes prioritizing difficult. I am a member of several clubs at school and am a scoutmaster for my church and I am looking at pursuing more education after dental school. LIFE WILL ALWAYS BE BUSY. Dental school is just one chapter in the whole scheme and it is very possible to get through dental school with a family. Remember: Roughly 4,500 new dentists graduate each year, a decent percentage of them are married with kids and if they can do it, so can you. I hope this helps and feel free to comment or ask specific questions and I will do my best to answer them.

The original post can be found by clicking the title to this article.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Interview for All Dentist

Because you are looking for a long-term position, it is as important for you to interview the prospective employer as it is for them to interview you. It is good to have some questions prepared. This will show interest and give you information you need, as well as take some pressure off the interviewer.

Questions for your interviewer:
NOTE: DO NOT lead off with questions about compensation.
a. What are your treatment philosophies?
b. What would be expected of me as an employee; what role would I be expected to fill; would I be limited to certain types of cases, such as endo or pedo, etc.?
c. Tell me about your patient base: families, geriatric, pediatric, etc.
d. What demographic changes have occurred with your practice in the last ten years? What changes are on the horizon?
e. Do you actively market or depend on referrals?
f. What kind of equipment do you use?
g. What about your practice are you the most proud of?
h. Where do you see the practice in five or ten years?
i. What are your personal and professional goals?
j. What are your goals for the practice?
k. Are you referring a lot of certain type of case out of the practice?
l. What specific things are you looking for the new Associate to bring to the practice?

The telephone interview
1. Return your phone messages and E-mails promptly. It speaks to your motivation, interest, and courtesy. Don’t let returning phone calls or e-mails become an issue or an obstacle to getting an interview. Even if you don’t think you will be interested in an opportunity, return the call. On more than one occasion we have seen a candidate get a call from Practice B when he was already talking with Practice A. The candidate puts off returning the call to Practice B. Two or three weeks later, the opportunity with Practice A does not work out and now Practice B will not consider the candidate because no calls have been returned.
2. Your main goal in a telephone interview is to get a face-to-face interview.
3. Ask for the interview. Take the initiative to set a time. Say something like, "From what you have told me, I would be very interested in meeting with you and coming to see your practice. When would be good for you?"
4. Smile--even on the phone. You really can hear when someone is smiling.

The face-to-face interview
1. Treat the staff with courtesy and respect. A practice owner often feels like his or her staff is like family and will listen to their opinion, especially if it is negative. On more than one occasion, we have seen excellent candidates not offered an opportunity because they treated a staff member poorly.
2. Smile and show some enthusiasm. More candidates are hired because of their personality and positive attitude than because of a specific clinical skills. One high-end cosmetic practice told us they had interviewed six different dentists. They hired the candidate who smiled and appeared to truly enjoy being a Dentist, passing on a some more experienced candidates with less personality and enthusiasm.
3. Show sincere interest in the hiring Dentist's situation. Understand that the Dentist needs to solve a problem. Maybe the practice just lost a key associate or partner. Maybe the practice is growing and cannot keep up with patient demand. Maybe the Dentist needs someone to take over the practice when he or she retires. You need to get a clear understanding of the Dentist’s true motivation for adding an associate. Once you truly understand needs of the hiring Dentist, you can mutually determine if you are the solution.
4. If you are interested let the owner know you are interested. At the close of the interview say something like, “I just wanted to let you know that I am very interested in this opportunity and I am ready to take the next step, what ever that is. How should I proceed from here.” This doesn’t mean that you will accept the job with no further discussion. It simply shows you would be sincerely be interested in discussing contract terms or meeting with other partners, consultants, or staff members as needed.

After the interview
1. Thank you notes. Always send a Thank You note after an interview. Buy Thank You notes prior to going to the interview. Make sure you get a business card from everyone you speak with so you can verify the spelling of their name, their title and the correct address. Immediately after the interview, drive to the local post office or collection box, write a brief Thank You and mail it immediately. Do not put it off. If your timing is right, the practice will get the Thank You note the next day. Even if you don't want the job, it is professional and impressive to thank your interviewer for his/her time.
2. Call the practice in two or three days. If you don't hear anything from the practice after a few days, call them and let them know you are still interested.
3. Working Interview. Offer to do a one or two day working interview.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

You have the interview. What should a associate dentist candidate prepare for?

Congratulations, you have the interview and you need to prepare. Any job candidate should not just "wing" it. Preparation is key. Here is a short list of tips to consider for your interview.

1. Be open to a variety of opportunities. Go to every interview you can. It never hurts to talk, and an opportunity may turn out to be more than you expected. You can learn from each interview even if it doesn't lead to a position.

2. Be open to other locations. The Law of Supply and Demand applies to career and practice opportunities. Typically, the farther you get away from a Dental School, the better the opportunities. Many of the best opportunities are located in great communities just forty-five minutes to three hours away from major Dental School cities. Typically you can increase your earning potential from 10% to 100% by settling in a city or community that is underserved.

3. Get your references ready. They can be former employers, co-workers, or teachers. Contact them to let them know to expect some calls. Have all their contact information in one place.

4. Have your production numbers ready. If you do not have production numbers, then have something that will give the hiring doctor a good idea of your skill set, speed, and experience. If you are just getting out of dental school or a residency, your procedure log may be a good substitute.

5. Consider preparing a “Proof Book” containing:
a. A current CV/Resume
b. Case presentations
c. Before and After photos
d. Production numbers or equivalent
e. Accomplishments
f. Treatment plans
g. Letters of Recommendation
h. References
i. Blank paper for notes
j. Questions for the practice
k. Blank Thank you notes
You may never have to open it, but it demonstrates preparedness and professionalism; this will set you apart from other candidates the practice may be considering.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dentist Cover Letter Sample for a New Graduate

We are always looking for great ideas on what to write in a cover letter. New or soon to be graduates are definitely in need of substantive items to show they are not just the next run-of-the-mill new grad.

Check out the following:

Dear Practice Owner:

I am a fourth year dental student at the University of Dental School seeking an associate position as a General Dentist in the Happyville, USA area upon my graduation in May 2009. I am looking to work in a friendly environment where I can contribute to practice growth, while broadening my knowledge of advanced dental topics and procedures. As a hardworking and highly motivated individual, I am open to working mornings, evenings and weekends.

Through externships, research and participation in dental organizations, I have used my time in dental school to gain exposure to all branches of dentistry. I have attended many continuing education courses through my involvement with professional organizations and have volunteered and attended lectures at the Dentist Conference Meeting each year. I have received training to become a certified Invisalign provider and possess clinical and research experience with the appliance. While I am confident that my education and experiences have prepared me to diagnose and treat patients in all facets of dentistry, I am excited to enter the dental world where I expect my learning to increase exponentially into the future.

I strongly believe that my perpetually positive attitude, excellent communication skills (including an ability to speak Spanish fluently) and valuable background in Business Administration will allow me to be an asset to your practice. Before entering the field of dentistry, I earned a degree in Management Information Systems from the University and spent a year as a Quality Assurance Analyst at ABC Co., which has given me a fundamental understanding of business principles and will aid in my transition from student to practicing dentist.

I have enclosed my resume for your consideration. I welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss my qualifications and experiences in detail. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (555) 555-5555 or via e-mail at

I thank you for your time and consideration and hope to hear from you soon.


Great Dentist, D.D.S.

This is an actual letter (w/ some obvious edits) received for a new dental graduate. I find that it covers areas not typically noted by some doctors. Make sure to highlight the key training you have recieve. State your goals and aspirations.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

What are hiring dental practices looking for?

What are you feeling while trying to find a job when all the ads you see are for “experienced” general dentists. I speak to GPs everyday that are in the same situation. Don't sell yourself short. If you are seeing the same job ads I am then you should apply to what you see. In this market you cannot restrain from applying to the ads out there. Especially if you are in markets like Southern California, Southeastern Florida, Boston Metro, New York Metro, Atlanta, Metro, etc.

The first step is getting noticed by potential employers. Luckily most practices do not have computers searching CVs for keywords. They are looked at by an actual person. Usually, this is the doctor or office manager. Practices look at resumes for a few things first: Where did you go to school and when did you graduate. Next, they scan over for notable CE, GPR/AEGD programs. They are also looking to see if they know who you are, or if they know any of your references if you listed any.

Everyone is going to put on their cover letter or resume an objective stating how great they are with patients and staff, that they are team oriented, willing to learn, etc. You need to tell the practice what you can do to better their bottom line. Production averages, can you do molar endo, implants, surgical extractions, and more. In this current climate GPs are looking for ways to keep anything they can in house. You have to sell yourself in numbers, as well as in patient care standards and personality. Your personality will come out in a face to face or telephone interview, but you have to get them to take a serious look at you first via what is in your CV and/or letter.

Another important step in increasing your possibility of finding a great opportunity is in networking groups, study clubs, and local dental associations. These are really the way to meet these owners face to face and introduce yourself as an up and coming star in the area. You need to be a networking pro. It is fine being a member of an association on paper, but reach out and start introducing yourself today.

A final note: from experience, when great jobs openings exist with great practices they are rarely advertised on job boards. They are filled by word of mouth. Most of the job openings that I uncover as a recruiter are not listed. I keep in touch with practice owners constantly. When they have a need, it is my job to figure that out from what they are saying, and help they fill that need.