Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Job Searching in a Saturated or Difficult Job Market

The Dental Associate job market is improving across the country. However, it is still competitive and often challenging in many larger metro areas in the U.S. There are not enough jobs available for the number job seekers in saturated areas such as Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Austin. At ETS Dental, we speak with dentists everyday who are having a very hard time finding opportunities.

Don’t Get in Your Own Way: The biggest disservice you can do yourself is to think you are the only qualified applicant for the job. In a saturated market you have to sell yourself much more than the practice has to sell itself to you. For example, I just posted a job opening in San Francisco, CA. I had 10 applicants within 2 hours. By the end of the week I will have at least 50 to 75. Your resume, cover letter, attitude, and the things you say have to express what you bring to the table to benefit the practice. What skills and experience do you have that will benefit the practice? What sets you apart? Can you speak Spanish? Do you love working with kids? Can you place implants? Can you bring new patients into the practice? Don’t move the conversation straight to how much they will pay you. You don’t even have the job offer yet, and this approach can cost you the job.
Expand Your Options: Most job seekers we speak with would much rather work for a private practice or small group practice. Corporate dentistry is a last resort or often not something they even want to consider. However, large group and corporate dentistry is growing and here to stay. These practices can offer you stable employment, great training, a guaranteed minimum salary, and benefits. If private and small group practices are not hiring in your area, don’t limit your options. 
Use an Independent Recruiter: A few dental recruiters, like ETS Dental, have contacts with practices throughout the U.S. Most often we are working on openings that are not advertised in any other channels. Our clients entrust us to locate the right talent to grow their practices. We speak with job seekers in order to understand their goals and experience. We have the ability to market strong candidates to practices with whom we have built relationships with over the years. Sometimes it’s who you know, and recruiters are good to know. 
Volunteer: Many new graduates can benefit from this in difficult areas. Volunteering can help build or maintain skills. It helps you learn chairside communication and build patient rapport. It can even help you connect with other practitioners, and possibly lead to an employment opportunity. Look for volunteer opportunities in free dental clinics or giving your time by participating in free dental care days that may be offered in your community. 
Shake Some Hands: Go to dental society meetings. Get online and join discussion groups such as Dental Town. Get on LinkedIn. Hand out business cards to every dentist you meet. Drop in and say hello to offices and leave a resume/CV. You can’t be shy in a saturated market. Let people know who you are, and let them know you are looking for an opportunity. 
Multiple Part-Time Jobs: Most saturated markets have more part-time openings available than full-time. You should definitely consider trying to get 2 or 3 part-time jobs if you need a full-time income.
Relocate:  It’s an extreme measure for many, but for some it can mean the difference in having a career or several short-term, part-time positions or nothing at all. Relocating expands your options exponentially. Just make sure you are not expanding your options of relocation to another heavily saturated area. Check out some earlier articles on this topic:

Written by Carl Guthrie, Western Region Account Executive and Dental Recruiter. Contact at or 540-491-9104