When you’re applying for dental assisting jobs, the first step is usually writing or updating your resume. But it requires more than simply writing down your work experience and calling it a day. With the right approach, your resume can grab the attention of dentists or practice administrators and help you land a dental assisting role.

Here are some tips and tricks to get started.

Make it concise, direct, and easy to read

As you know, a day in the dental office is busy. Dentists and practice administrators have limited time to read resumes and applications. For this reason, try to keep your resume length to one page. Aim to use succinct, direct language that gets to the point and quickly demonstrates your qualifications as a dental assistant. Additionally, use headings and bullet points to organize the information in an easy-to-read format. Don’t forget to proofread when you’re done. An error-free resume illustrates strong attention to detail — something every dental assistant needs!

Write a strong summary

Many resumes start with a brief summary of the candidate’s experience. Don’t gloss over this! It’s your chance to amplify your story, create a strong first impression, and show the dentist or practice administrator why you’d be the ideal fit at their office. Use this part of the resume to briefly summarize your dental assisting career, show off technical or interpersonal skills, and demonstrate why you want to work at the practice. You don’t have to list off every experience or qualification here — just one to three strong sentences will get your message across!

Example: “Dedicated dental assistant with over five years of experience in chairside and pediatric dentistry. Devoted to providing compassionate patient care and working as a team to maximize efficiency in the practice.”

Be specific

The more specific, the better. For example, rather than just saying you’re organized, you could talk about how you helped your previous office sort patient files or kept up on inventory to ensure the practice always had the necessary supplies. If you have numbers or metrics that can back up one of your experiences or skills, even better. Saying you sanitized and prepared an average of 30 exam rooms per day at your last job, for instance, exemplifies the workload you can handle.

If you don’t yet have any professional dental assisting experience, don’t worry. Detail any relevant training or leadership experiences you’ve had, coursework you’ve taken, or programs you’ve completed. Instead of simply saying you learned the ins and outs of a dental office or helped the dental staff with daily tasks during your internship, you could describe how you wrote detailed patient notes or learned how to properly sanitize instruments.

Highlight the most relevant skills, experiences, and certifications

It can be tempting to list every job experience and skill you have. But remember, the goal is to keep your resume concise! Condense your list to only the most recent experiences and relevant skills. If you’re not sure what to include and what to leave off, read through the job description again. Take note of the specific skills and experiences the practice is seeking, and highlight them in your resume. Mirroring the same keywords can also be a helpful tactic.

If you hold any DANB certifications, make sure you list them. In addition to displaying your technical knowledge or experience in specialized functions, it can show employers you’re committed to your career, keeping up on the latest industry developments, and providing the best patient care possible.

Earning an extra certificate could help you stand out in your job search. Consider the Dental Infection Prevention and Control Certificate Program, or one of our office management courses.