As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS, the projected job growth for dental assistants from 2020 to 2030 is at 11%, a rate that’s faster than the average for all jobs. Furthermore, about 44,000 jobs are seen to open each year over the decade. What we can deduce from this data is that many of such openings can result from the need to replace workers who shift careers or exit the workforce.
With these in mind, many job seekers aiming to enter the dental field must take advantage of this great opportunity. So, if you’re looking to land a dental assistant job, you must be able to stand out among the tough job market by arming yourself with a well-written resume. In this guide, we’ve outlined the basics you should know about this job, as well as topnotch resume writing tips you must heed to ensure your career profile is showcased in a compelling way.
What is a Dental Assistant?
Dental assistants are adept members of the dental team that give support for various tasks, such as patient care and laboratory duties. Their main roles can vary based on their background and credentials, along with state laws and the dentists they’re working with. In the long run, they can also advance to other career paths. These include office managers, dental hygienists, and dentists.
What are the Duties of a Dental Assistant?
Dental assistants take charge of the operational and administrative tasks in a dentist’s office. They prepare the patients for their dental procedures and appointments.
On a daily basis, their main roles may include these tasks:
- Check in patients
- Take medical history
- Help in taking x-rays of teeth
- Aid with dental procedures, such as fillings, extracting, and making molds
- Check out patients and schedule follow-ups
- Inform patients on oral care
- Maintain and update patient records
- Take inbound calls and schedule appointments
- Assist and train junior dental assistants on new SOPs
- Attend business networking meetings on behalf of the doctor to promote the dental office
How Do You Become a Dental Assistant?
If you’re interested in this career, you must:
- Have an interest in science
- Have great knowledge of the human body
- Have manual dexterity
- Be able to communicate efficiently
- Be warm and empathic
- Be a team player
There are cases where some states may require dental assistants to graduate from a certified program and pass an exam. In other states though, there may be no formal academic needs and aspiring dental assistants learn mostly through on-the-job trainings.
What to Include on Your Dental Assistant Resume
Now, what are the most vital parts your resume should have? Read on to know what you shouldn’t forget writing in your job search tool!
These are best placed at the top part of your resume. Put your full name in a bold and large font, with your email address below your name. After that, add your phone numbers and if you want, you can also put your mailing address.
This part of your resume lets you showcase your social, management, and even hard skills in a few yet impactful phrases. Complement your top hard skills and feats with your key traits and soft skills to help you present yourself as a qualified dental assistant.
It’s best for you to include a strong intro of who you are on the job so that you can capture your reader’s attention. Often, these are the types of resume intro you can opt to use or choose from:
One great way for recruiters and hiring managers to gauge whether you’re fit for the role you’re vying for is through your work history. This is to ensure your past roles and job duties are aligned with what they’re looking for.
In this part of your job search tool, make sure to mention your past employers, job roles, and years of experience. Under each job, list your top duties and feats that are suited to the job post. Don’t forget to state common tasks and specialized functions as well. Just make sure to not replace key dentistry terms with generic keywords or phrases.
As much as you can, describe your achievements through hard numbers. These help provide context to employers by showing the scope of your feats and stating details such as the number of patients you helped per day, useful percentages, and other data that show efficiency or gains that you took part in.
Putting a skills section on your resume lets you build a stronger career profile, too. Apart from being able to showcase what you’re good at, this part can help you stand out from other job seekers, too. To guide you, here’s a list of some of the most essential dental assistant resume skills you can opt to include:
- Patient care
- X-ray skills
- 4-handed dentistry
- Dental equipment maintenance
- Billing Codes ICD 9
- Billing Codes ICD 10
- Electronic Medical Records (EMR)
- Customer service
- Social skills
- Great attitude
- Attention to detail
Don’t forget to state your academic background. As mentioned above, some states may require certain programs and licenses; so don’t miss this part out. Put the school name and its location along with the name and length of your program. Also, list any achievements, key awards, and any other experiences you have acquired.
If you joined and finished training programs, you may opt to list them on your resume as well. In your field, continuous learning and upskilling are key, so use these to your benefit. If you’re also part of certain dental groups, you may allot a new section for them, too.
In a separate section titled “Certifications,” put the most vital one first such as certified dental assistant or CDA through the Dental Assisting National Board or DANB. If you have certifications in dental X-ray, radiation, nitrous, and others, you may mention them as well. Finally, as you deem fit, you can showcase your past volunteer work as long as they’re apt to the job position.
How to Write Your Dental Assistant Resume
Your resume must be able to highlight your knowledge of dental instruments, grasp of safety measures, skill to carry out non-surgical dentistry, and strong social skills. Of course, it goes beyond these to ensure a well-written one.
That said, heed these surefire tips on how you can improve your resume.
Based on your job level, the type of resume format you must use can differ. The most standard type is the chronological one, where you list your most recent jobs working your way backward, hence the name. This may be your best bet if you aim to pursue the same career path you have started. On the other hand, the functional format aims to highlight your skills as your main strengths, no matter what job posts you’ve held in the past. You can use this format if you’re shifting careers or if your trajectory has career gaps.
Lastly, you can also use the hybrid format, which mixes the two formats above. In this case, it gives light both to your work history and skills to prove your expertise and knowledge of the role. This works best for those with more than 3 to 5 years of work experience.
At times, you might have the urge to just use a generic resume for all your job search efforts. Yet, it’s better if you ensure that your job search tools are tailored to the kind of job you’re aiming to land. Hence, state work experiences, skill sets, and other key details about your career that befit what the role requires.
Related to tailoring your job search tool to the job you’re vying for, you must use resume keywords that are suited to the job posting. Review the job description and make sure to use terms and phrases that match the certain job requirements that the recruiter is looking for in a candidate.
Moreover, employers now use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen and filter resumes that come in. As recruiters write a list of keywords of job requirements in the ATS, the system then scans your resume for those specific keywords. This is why it’s crucial for you to ensure you have enough of these keywords so that your resume will pass the system and reach the recruiter.
On the other hand, begin your bullet points under the work history part with action verbs to stress your duties and bring a stronger impact to your job search tool. Action verbs like “took charge of,” “carried out,” “prepared,” “aided,” and “supplied” give your readers a clearer idea of your work history.
As a dental assistant, one of your main roles is to ensure hygiene and cleanliness not just in the dentist’s office but also during patient care. In the same way, you have to own a polished resume with the right formatting, making it neat and on point.
The standard font size you must use for normal texts is 11 to 12 points in a font that’s easy to read. Further, use 14 to 16 points for your headings and resume titles. Apart from that, you must also use a single or up to 1.5-point line spacing to have enough white space between lines of text.
One more thing you shouldn’t miss out on when you’re writing your resume is to submit it as is without checking it! Make sure there are no typos or grammar errors so that you’re only left with a polished job search tool. If it helps, you can have someone proofread it, too. Also, you might have skipped some parts that can be deemed trivial, so you can go ahead and remove them for now.
Dental Assistant Resume Sample
Now that you’re aware of what to include and how you should write your resume, it’s time to see what it must look like to get a better grasp of a strong one. As your guide, check out this sample:
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