Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dental School Graduates - How to Find a Job Coming Out of Dental School

Congratulations! Now it is time to start putting all that education to use, but finding a job is a lot different than applying to programs. Do you know how to get started?

What To Have

A Plan.
Do you know where you want to be in five years? Do you want your first job to put you on the path to partnership or ownership? Are you more concerned with gaining experience than paying down student loans? You need to know where you want to go before you can decide how to get there. Obviously location is important, but don't waste the crucial first years of your career in order to live in the heart of the city. 
The best jobs are often outside the primary markets where there is less competition for patients. Here is great blog outlining the best areas in which to work: Where are the Jobs?’. 
If you are considering a cross-country move, you may want to consider the income potential offered in different regions. This blog article breaks dentist income down by area: What Can an Associate Dentist Earn
If you absolutely have to live and work in a saturated market, here are some strategies to help you land a job: Saturated or Difficult Markets.

Be sure to set realistic income expectations. There are several good sources covering realistic dentist earnings. Here is our overview: 
How Much do Dentists Make?
The Levin Group publishes an annual survey in Dental Economics. The 2013 version can be downloaded here: Levin Group Survey.

A CV and Cover Letter.
Most applicants do not get an interview. Your CV and Cover Letter may be your only platform to distinguish yourself from the competition. It is hard to stand out from the crowd without experience but the way you highlight your strengths can set you apart. Did you take any electives or win any awards to recognition? Did you graduate in the top quarter of your class, attend CE outside of school, volunteer in a community clinical or on a dental mission trip? Be sure to highlight those experiences.

Here is an example of a well-written cover letter: 
Cover Letter Sample.

And here are instructions on writing your CV/resume: 
Resume for Dentists.

The Right Clothes

It is better to overdress than underdress. Your future boss will want to know that you take your career seriously. Does your interview outfit make you look like a doctor? This is not the time to go for personality. That can come through later. If your clothes give the wrong first impression, it will take a major effort to regain credibility

What To Do

Finding Openings.
Networking has always been the most effective method for finding open positions, but it is not always practical to meet with every dentist in the area and attend every dental meeting. The internet can be a great tool for finding position. Your dental school and local association may have classifieds, but you will likely find that the listings are limited. Here are several comprehensive sources for dentist jobs:

·         ETS Dental Job Listings
·         DentalTown Classifieds


The Telephone Interview
  • Return your phone messages and emails promptly. It speaks to your motivation, interest, and courtesy. Don't let returning phone calls or emails 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.
  • Your main goal in a telephone interview is to get a face-to-face interview.
  • 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?"
  • Smile- even on the phone. You really can tell when someone is smiling.
·         Here is some additional reading on phone interviews: Tips for Phone Interviews.

The In-Person Interview:
Don't go in blindly. Be sure to prepare in advance. Look over this article the night before: 
Preparing for the Interview.
  • Treat the staff with courtesy and respect. A practice owner often feels like his or her staff is like a family and will listen to their opinions, especially if they are negative. On more than one occasion, we have seen excellent candidates not offered an opportunity because they treated a staff member poorly.
  • Smile and show some enthusiasm. More candidates are hired because of their personalities and positive attitudes than because 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 more experienced candidates with less personality and enthusiasm.
  • 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 the needs of the hiring dentist, you can mutually determine if you are the solution.
  • Send a thank you note after the meeting. Here is a great example of a post-interview thank you: Thank You Note.
Still nervous? Here is a full blog post on interviewing: Interview Tips.

Reviewing Contracts.
A good overview of contracts may be found here (the most relevant information is on the last page of the article): 
Compensation Considerations.

Do you have all the information you will need in order to make an informed decision? 
What to Know Before You Accept an Associate Position 

Not satisfied with the offer? Don't be afraid to ask for more. Here are some tips on 
Negotiating Your Offer.

Finding a job can be an intimidating process. I hope these resources will help make the process easier. Please feel free to call us should you have any questions. We are always happy to help. For more updates, tips, and helpful information, follow us on our 
Facebook fan pageTwitter, LinkedIn or on our blog.

Posted by Morgan Pace, Vice President and Senior Dental Recrutier with ETS Dental. To find out more, call Morgan at (540) 491-9102 or email at