Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dentist Cover Letters

Popular opinion varies on the importance of cover letters in the hiring process. Fewer than 25% of Dentists include a former cover letter when applying for a job, yet this is often the only way for a job seeker to tailor his or her achievements to suit the hiring practice. It is important to remember that CVs and resumes highlight achievements but do not tell the whole story. Cover letters can add a touch of personality and humanity to help a job seeker stand out among the pile of CVs.

When writing a cover letter, keep in mind that all cover letters should:

• Explain why you are interested in the position and why you are looking for a job

• Include how you became aware of the position or why you contacted them if you are not aware that they have a position to offer.

• Express your personality, communication skills and motivation.

• Highlight components of your background that would be particularly suited to the practice or the particular position.

• Convince the hiring dentist to take another look at your CV.

Brevity is important. While you want to effectively highlight your best qualities you must keep in mind that the reader likely has little time to dedicate to sifting through applicant information. Your cover letter must never exceed one page in length and is generally most effective if confined to three to four paragraphs.

This first paragraph should be a general introduction. This is where you should explain your interest, reveal how you came to be aware of the position, and summarize why you could be a good match.

The second paragraph should be all about you. This is where you highlight your accomplishments, tell your story, explain your motivation and add personality. Don’t be afraid to get somewhat personal as long as you remain generally professional. This can be a tricky balance. If you cannot keep this to one paragraph, you can consider splitting into two.

The third paragraph is all business. This is where you ask for the job interview. Explain the follow up steps that you indicate to take. If you will be visiting the area soon, include the dates here. Be sure to close by thanking the hiring dentist for his time.

While drafting a cover letter, keep in mind that the hiring authority will judge your communication skills. Be sure to abide by the format of a formal business letter. Also, have a friend proofread your letter.

A sample cover letter is available at this link to our earlier blog on dentist cover letters.

Written by Morgan Pace, Dental Recruiter for Southeast states. You can reach Morgan at (540) 491-9102 or out more at

Friday, March 26, 2010

Landing the Best Associate Position: Go Where You are Needed. Think Like an Owner.

For Early Career Dentists, it’s a wonderful time to be entering the Dental profession. There is a tremendous need for dentists nationwide. The supply of Dentists will shrink until at least year 2020 while the demand for Dental services will continue to rise. If you are an early career Dentist, you can get a job. No problem. But, to land the best Associate position takes far more than just earning your DDS or DMD. Our team identifies, recruits and places hundreds of Dentists with practices across the country each year. Two pieces of advice:

1. Practice where you are needed- The need for Dentists is most critical in communities located an hour or more from a dental school. It’s the simple rule of supply and demand. -- The greater the demand for your services, the easier it will be to become successful.

2. Think Like an Owner - Here are some common concerns that often run through a practice owner’s mind when evaluating an Associate Dentist candidate. As recruiters, we hear these concerns daily from our clients. As a candidate, you may never hear them verbalized. Also included are some tips on overcoming these concerns. They should better equip you to ace your next interview and land an Associate position in your dream practice.

Owner Questions:

Q. Would I enjoy working with this Dentist for years or even decades? Is this Dentist eager to do what it takes to be successful, or will he wait for me to spoon-feed him patients, arrange CE, work through problems, etc.?

A. It is critical for the hiring dentist to have confidence in your ability to self-manage. Talk about situations that demonstrate you have initiative and that you can work independently. Draw from previous experience to show how you’ve creatively worked through challenging situations.

Q. Will my patients and staff enjoy being around the Associate? Will patients feel like they've been passed off from the Sr. Dentist to the Jr. Dentist?

A. Demonstrate you are committed to life-long learning. No Sr. Dentist believes that any recent dental school grad really has solid clinical skills. It is more important to convince the Sr. Dentist that you are committed to improving your skills every day, every month and every year than it is to convince him that you are a clinical superstar today.

Q. Is the Associate candidate committed to the area? Will I have to look for a new Associate in two years and start the process all over again? Does he really want to be here?

A. In your cover letter or during an interview demonstrate how you will work to connect with the local community. Describe why you want to be in that community. Demonstrate you have done your homework and are familiar with the area. If you have ties to the region that are not readily apparent, make sure you point them out.

Q. Will this Dentist develop a patient following or rely completely on me to bring in new patients?

A. It is important to note that the owner dentist makes more money producing $100k himself than he makes on an Associate producing $200k. The rule of thumb in any service-oriented business is that an employee needs to produce three times more than he/she is paid in order to be a worthwhile investment. Be prepared to discuss specific strategies you will implement to grow referrals and generate more revenue for the practice. Take a Dale Carnegie Course. Join Toast Masters. Describe how you will take every opportunity to get out there and meet people. If you are not from the community, demonstrate that you will become active in community groups, church, or the school system and develop your own following.

Q. Does it appear that the Associate Dentist candidate can work through conflict? Let's face it, from time to time there will be misunderstandings, conflicts, and mistakes made in working with staff and patients. Can the Associate work through these issues with ease or will he be a constant source of negative energy in the practice?

A. Be prepared with situational examples which demonstrate your ability to work through conflicts and misunderstandings with peers, colleagues or others. Talk about your problem solving skills and draw from your experience to show how you have resolved situations in the past.

Q. Does the Associate Dentist candidate have a good smile?

A. Smile! Believe it or not, we know dozens of Associate candidates who were not offered positions simply because they did not smile during the interview. Patients, staff and colleagues want to work with someone who is positive, upbeat and confident.

You've chosen a wonderful profession. You’ve worked too hard to settle for just another associate position. Remember to go where you are needed and think like an owner.

Article written by Mark Kennedy, Owner/Director of ETS Dental. You can reach Mark at (540) 491-9103 or

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Choosing the Best Practice Decor

Does your waiting room make your patients feel welcome, or is it cold or outdated? I found some great tips on choosing the best decor for your waiting room that will not only make your patients feel at ease but can also promote your business.

To check it out, click here: Make Better Use of the Waiting Room of Your Dental Clinic.

Article written by Marsha Hatfield-Elwell, Recruiter for Florida & the Northeast States at ETS Dental. You can reach Marsha at (540) 491-9116 or Find out more at

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why You Should Use ETS Dental

A great testimonial from a candidate of Gary Harris, ETS Dental's Dental Specialist Recruiter:

"It is with a great deal of pleasure that I write this letter on behalf of Mr. Gary Harris of ETS Dental.

My first contact with Mr. Harris came nearly one year ago when I responded to an internet posting about a potential job opening with ...[one of his clients]. I contacted Mr. Harris who was very personable as well as knowledgeable about the position that he had listed. There was absolutely no pressure. He took the time to get to now me and ascertain what my desires were.

Following our initial contact Mr. Harris gathered additional information about the listed position and several other opportunities. He kept in regular contact with me and advised me every step of the way. I placed my practice for sale, and although I listed it with a local broker (I should have listed it with Mr Harris) he advertised the practice for me. In fact, he brought more potential buyers to the table than did the listing broker. Well, the practice has sold and I have been offered and have accepted a position with ...[Gary's Client] that provides the income and benefits I was seeking. I do not feel that any of this would have happened without the efforts of Mr. Harris.

If you are considering the sale of your practice and/or want to pursue a new opportunity, I would, without reservation, highly recommend Mr. Gary Harris as the person who can make things happen. I consider Gary not only a true professional but a good friend."

Congrats on a job well done, Gary!

If you are a Dental Specialist looking for a new opportunity or in need of an Associate, Buy-In or Buy-Out for your practice, you can contact Gary Harris at 540-491-9115 or Visit us at

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

To Be Or Not To Be……A Pediatric Dentist!

For those who may be considering going back to school for the additional years that it takes to become a specialist but are not sure which specialty would be right, I have the following observation…

As a Dental Specialist Recruiter, I have had a unique perspective on how the downturn in the economy has affected the different dental specialties. What is clear to me is that Pediatric Dentistry has not suffered to the extent of some of the other specialties. I guess it is the old adage “spare no expense for the child”. People have had to cut back on many health-related expenditures out of necessity but seem to find the resources to get their kids to the dentist. These kids and, for the most part, Pediatric Dentists, are doing well.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for all children. The lack of both resources and available Pediatric Dentists results in many less advantaged children not having access to adequate dental care. This is especially true of many rural and otherwise economically challenged areas.

So, my observations are showing that, in a down economy, Pediatric Dentists are, for the most part, staying very busy and doing very well financially. There is, and will continue to be, a great demand and need for more Pediatric Dentists. This would be a great specialty to explore if you think you have what it takes to be a good Pediatric Dentist.

What does it take to be a good Pediatric Dentist? In short, it takes a person who is able to empathize with their young patients recognizing the fear and anxiety that they experience. They must be able to calm that anxiety and build the trust and rapport that will allow them to successfully treat their young patients. Not just anyone can do this. For additional insight into what it takes to be a good Pediatric Dentist, please take a look at this article in Dental Health Magazine:

The need is there; the rewards, great. The missing variable could be you!

Article written by Gary Harris, Dental Specialist Recruiter with ETS Dental. You can reach Gary at 540-491-9115 or Check us out at

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

General Dentist Compensation

Most new dentists I speak with ask about compensation rather quickly in our conversations. While I don't recommend bringing up this topic immediately in your interviews, compensation is an important point to discuss when exploring various opportunities.

Compensation offers do vary from place to place. When talking to other doctors, sales reps, or recruiters, ask what they are seeing in your areas of interest. Various factors affect what practices are willing to offer in their compensation packages: number of dentists in the area looking for jobs (supply and demand), particular skills or experience levels desired by the practice, whether or not the office fee for service or HMO/Medicaid driven, and how badly the office needs the position filled.

As a new doctor, you should be able to find an opportunity where you can make about $120K your first year. A common example of a compensation package is $500 per day guarantee or 30% of collections (whichever is greater). The usual first year production expectation is about $300K to $500K.

There are a lot of great paying opportunities out there. Pay attention to what other job seekers are talking about. You will need some point of reference in order to determine if you are getting a fair offer.

There is a great survey conducted by Dental Economics each year on this topic. It takes a look at the size of local practices, productions, and compensations. You can find the 2009 Annual Practice Survey here.

Article posted by Carl Guthrie, Dental Recruiter for the Western US at ETS Dental. You can reach Carl at 540-491-9104 or Visit us at ETS Dental at