Good dentists are always in high demand. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5,000 openings for dentists are projected on average each year in the United States.
However, if you want to get a high-paying job as a dentist, skills and credentials alone aren’t enough. You need to lay them out in a convincing resume and cover letter package so that your potential employer instantly recognizes your value.
In this article, we are looking into how to write a powerful dentist resume.
Sample dentist resume
Let’s start by taking a look at a sample dentist resume to give you an idea of what information you may want to include. Next, we will go over each of the sections of the resume one by one with more tips on how to compose each one.
Learn more about how to write a resume.
Dentist job description
The specific tasks you will need to perform as a dentist may vary from employer to employer. However, here’s a quick general overview of the profession and the typical workload you will be looking at.
Generally, dentists provide diagnostics and treatments for a variety of dental and oral care problems such as tooth decay, cavities, fractured teeth, aesthetic issues, gum infections and more. They also offer advice on proper oral care, diet choices that affect oral health and so on. In a typical working day, a dentist may do a tooth extraction, treat a root canal, perform a diagnostic session based on an X-ray, do a tooth filling, repair cosmetic imperfections and so on.
Note that becoming a dentist requires a substantial investment in proper education and training. Most dental schools require a bachelor’s degree to apply. Out of the 68 currently accredited dental schools in the US, 67 are four-year programs. Plus, if you want to go on to specialize in a specific field — for instance, cosmetic dentistry, you will need further education, certification and training.
According to Salary.com, the average salary for a dentist in the United States in October 27, 2022 is $187,909 per year. However, salaries range widely depending on several key factors such as education, certifications, additional skills, work experience and more.
To make good money as a dentist while working comfortable hours, you will need to secure a well-paying job. And to do so, you will first need to work on your resume.
How to write a dentist resume: what sections to include
The first thing you will need to decide when writing a dentist resume is what information you want to include and how you want to structure it. There are three main resume formats that most HR managers are familiar with. These are the reverse-chronological format (where you list work experience starting from the most recent position), skill-based format (where you focus your resume on the skills and qualifications you possess rather than work experience) and the hybrid format. Learn more about Top Resume Formats: Tips and Examples of 3 Common Formats.
In our example, we will be using the reverse-chronological format as it is the most popular option and works best in most cases.
This is the most basic section of your resume — but also the one that’s absolutely necessary. Make sure you have your name clearly written at the top of the page so that the hiring manager can instantly see whose resume they are going over.
This section is also a chance to add some extra information about yourself that can get the HR manager interested in the rest of your resume.
Consider adding the following information:
- Your full name + educational or professional credentials (DDS, DMD, etc.) Adding relevant credentials will add extras points to your application before the employer has even gone over your resume.
- Contact details. These can be just your phone number and email. Or, you may also add your address — typically, just city or area so that the hiring manager can evaluate if relocation may be required in your case.
- Links to your professional social media. This is a relatively new thing to include in resumes — but a highly effective one. You can include a link to your LinkedIn or Facebook profile (if you use these for work), your professional website, etc. Make sure that if you do add a link to any of your media, these pages are updated and fully reflect your professional potential.
- Personal information. Now, the policy on what personal information to include in your resume differs depending on the country you reside in and the company you are applying for a job in. In some cases, the employer may want to see your photo or know your gender — for instance, if you will be working with children. However, in most of the United States, adding information about your gender or appearance (attaching a photo) may go against the anti-discriminatory laws. Make sure to adjust your application to the country you are in and check if the information you add is actually required for the position you are applying for.
Charleston, West Virginia
It’s generally a good idea to start off your resume with a resume summary. This is your professional introduction and an overview of your most valued skills. This is the first section of your resume (after name and contacts) that your employer will read through. This is why it makes sense to put some thought into this section and make it as powerful as it can be.
Your resume summary shouldn’t repeat the same information that’s detailed below in your resume. It should be a concentrated presentation of your best qualities. Be specific, include numbers, mention important achievements and more. Try to keep your resume summary down to three to five sentences.
Experienced dental surgeon specialized in oral diagnostics, restorative dental treatments, molar root canals, prosthodontics and cosmetic dental procedures.
Next up, talk about your work experience. What you include in this section depends entirely on how much work experience you have and — most importantly — how much of it is relevant to the position you are applying for.
When listing your work experience, it’s customary to start with the most recently held positions first. However, you can also start with the position that’s the closest to what you are applying for. For instance, if you are applying for a position that will require you to perform cosmetic dental surgery, you may want to first list the position from your work experience where you performed cosmetic procedures.
When describing your experience, mention your position, the company you worked for, the amount of time you spent there and go into a bit more detail about your responsibilities. You can also mention your professional accomplishments, most challenging projects, awards and acclaims and more.
These days, a lot of companies use applicant tracking systems
— or ATS — to sort through the many job applications they receive. An applicant tracking system is a program designed to screen resumes based on specific criteria. These criteria are usually set by hiring managers and include keywords from the job description. The more “hits” for the same keywords your dentist resume gets, the more chances it has for passing the screening and being seen by your potential employer. Unfortunately, according to the latest data, more than 70% of applications may not even make it to the HR manager’s desk these days as they fail the applicant tracking system test.
To make sure your resume is ATS-friendly, take another look at the job description and pick out the most relevant keywords: qualifications, skills, etc. and try to use the same wording in your work experience section. This is relatively easy to do for exact professions such as dentistry and the descriptions of tasks and responsibilities are generally worded in the same way.
- Saw up to 15 patients a day, most of whom required complex restorative dental care procedures
- Collaborated daily with other dentists and hygienists to develop new and improved treatments
- Focused on listening to patients’ needs, answering questions in detail and made sure they felt satisfied with the results of the treatment a
- Stayed abreast with the latest technological advancements via online dental conferences and professional trainings
Senior Associate Dentist
- Provided regular dental care and treatments for over one thousand patients
- Performed tooth 6 extractions, 10 fillings, 15 routine dental exams and 4 root canal treatments on average per week
- Explained procedures to patients using visuals and easy-to-understand language
- Collaborated with associate dentists and hygienists to develop daily oral care recommendations for patients
United Dental Clinic
- Provided dental care to over 100 patients per week
- Administered anesthesia, performed tooth extractions and restoration, conducted cleanings, consulted patients on oral care practices and more
- Managed patient care files, organized my own schedule, wrote and updated charts.
The Education section of your resume should include information about your highest degree as well as other qualifications and relevant courses. What you include here naturally depends on the education you have.
In most cases, simply mentioning your degree and major should be enough. However, if you are applying for a position that demands specific expertise, you will need to include additional qualifications, training programs, dental conferences and seminars you’ve attended and so on.
Doctor of Dental Surgery
UW School of Dentistry
Bachelor of Science and Biology
University of Washington
This is an extra section you can include in your resume. It makes sense to include it if you have anything left “unsaid”. You can list any research you’ve published, foreign languages you speak, commendations or awards you have received and so on.
However, if you want to keep your resume clean and short, not including the Additional information section is totally acceptable as well.
Here are a few handy extras you may want to take into account when writing your resume.
- Do your best to keep your resume to one page. According to Monster.com, unless you have a lot of relevant work experience or are applying for a job in academics, it’s best to keep your resume concise.
- Take the time to structure and format your resume for maximum readability. Hiring managers are typically very busy people and they will appreciate a concise one-page document that is well-structured, with important details highlighted.
- An ideal resume should include easily readable content and ATS-friendly keywording. Try to make your resume an easy read for both robots and humans.
- Add a cover letter. A resume is focused on your work experience and process tonal credentials. A cover letter, on the other hand, is a chance for your personality to come through. It’s a great opportunity to talk about your motivation and passion for the job and make your application stand out.
Learn how to write a cover letter for creative professions in Dentist Cover Letter Example and Advice from HR Pros.
Dentist cover letter
An ideal resume is a combination of content that would allow you to stand out and format that is
ATS-friendly, neat and comfortable to read. Learn more about writing the perfect resume here, and be sure to
check out expert tips on creating an effective Dentist cover letter to go with your resume.
Go to cover letter
Kristina Phelps is an HR specialist who loves sharing her experience. Her two biggest passions are helping people find a perfect workplace and writing about all things HR. Kristina grew up in Boston, MA. She likes big dogs and long walks. She also helps animal shelters find new owners for cats and dogs.