New Grad Tips

Create the Right First Impression with the Right Resume

New Grad Tips

For new dental school graduates, the transition from student to dentist can be an exciting but scary time. New grads face a myriad of questions, including, What's the best career path to take? Where do I want to practice? How can I land my dream position? At HDC, we want to answer your questions. The Recruiting team travels the country, offering dentists the support, mentoring and options they're looking for.

Our new grad series of articles will discuss some of these questions and challenges new graduates face, what HDC can do to help and what traits HDC-affiliated offices look for in new dentists. In this specific edition, I'll focus on a challenge many new grads face―— building the right resume. Besides an interview, your resume is your introduction to employers. Therefore, it needs to be as effective as possible. Here are some tips to help you succeed.


Kirk Walters
Kirk Walters
Regional Doctor Recruiter at Heartland Dental Care

  • Begin with an engaging profile summary.
    Personal objective statements are quite common on resumes, but they aren't always very useful. Instead, take that idea and expand on it. Rather than one sentence, create a brief summary. This will help you summarize who you are and what you have to offer. In addition, it will set the tone for the rest of your resume and create a positive first impression. The summary can be a few sentences or even a bulleted list.

  • Rather than listing your experiences, illustrate your accomplishments.
    On the majority of resumes, people list their job experience, with their roles and specific duties. However, most people don't mention the accomplishments they've achieved. Explaining in detail what you accomplished, how you did this and the impact it caused is far more effective than simply stating experience. As a new grad who may not have extensive "real-life" job experience, this is an excellent opportunity to showcase what you've achieved in dental school, what specific skills you've learned and how you can apply these skills to become an outstanding clinician.

  • Don't neglect your cover letter.
    Creating a strong, attention-getting cover letter is equally as important as creating a strong resume. Like the profile summary, your cover letter is a chance to create a good first impression and generate interest in your resume. In the letter, briefly highlight your research, experience and specialties and explain why you're an ideal fit.

    Keep it concise, clear and interesting. For page length, your best bet is half a page to a page to keep your reader's attention. Personalize the letter with the recipient's name if possible instead of using "Hiring Manager or "To Whom It May Concern".

    Though a strong letter will get the reader's attention, you want to gain the right kind of attention. Avoid overusing humor, or you may run the risk of offending someone, being misunderstood, or communicating that you aren't serious about the position.

    Finally, check carefully for typos and grammatical errors. There's no quicker way to discredit your communication skills than with a letter full of misspellings and errors. Although a spellchecker is helpful, always have someone else proof your letter.

Constructing the right resume is only one step toward achieving your ideal career in dentistry, but it's an important step. HDC-affiliated offices look for resumes that project the skill, commitment and flexibility of an applying dentist. As you complete your resume, take the initiative to achieve a positive first impression.