Whether you are a dental student, an exiting resident, or just returning to the job market, the task of finding an associate dentist position can be daunting. This is an attempt to provide a centralized resource to help you land a job. For more updates, tips, and helpful information, follow up on our Facebook fan page, Twitter, or on this blog.
Step 1. Make a Plan.
As outlined in the following blog link, the key is to be flexible. It is best to determine what your options are before narrowing your focus on the best fit. Job Hunt Tips.
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. Here is an overview of area limitations on a job market: Where are the Jobs?, and a real-life example is outlined here: The Grass is Always Greener. 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.
Step 2. Prepare Your CV and Cover Letter.
Generally speaking, CV/resumes are overrated, as are cover letters. Still, they are a necessary evil when breaking into a job market. It is important to stand out from the crowd, but make sure that it is for the right reasons.
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.
Step 3. Applying.
Here are several online sources for dentist jobs:
Step 4. Interviews.
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 Face-to-Face 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.
Step 5. 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.
Step 6. What Can You Expect to Earn?
- There are several good sources covering realistic dentist earnings. Here is our own: How Much do Dentists Make?
- The Levin Group publishes an annual survey in Dental Economics. The 2012 version can be downloaded here: Levin Group Survey.
- The ADA puts out its own numbers, also: ADA Income and Gross Billings.
Step 7. Plan Your Relocation.
If you need to relocate, be sure to plan it ahead of time. Here are a few key points to ponder as you plan: Relocating Tips.
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.