According to the United States Department of Labor, the dental jobs market is expected to grow by 19 percent through 2026. That’s much faster than the average of all other occupations the Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks. That’s good news for dental professionals, but there is a potential downside. A blossoming job market could also lead to a deluge of dental graduates and young professional dentists flooding the market and creating competition for you. This is especially true in larger metro areas, such as Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Austin.

As recruitment specialists, we speak with dentists every day who feel challenged to find an opportunity – and this is what our team of experts suggests.

 Expand Your Search

Begin your search by identifying where you would like to call home and investigate that market. If you’ve selected a bustling metro area, you may want to expand your search. Look outside of the busy metros. As the babyboomers age, demand for dental work is expected to continue its rise. Identifying epicenters of that boom could help narrow your search. Additionally, search out areas of the U.S. where access to dental care is limited. The Department of Labor says, “job prospects will be especially good for dentists who are willing to work in these areas.”

Expanding your search can also mean opening your mind to various practice types outside of the norm. Looking beyond a private or small group practice could help you land that first job. We are finding exciting opportunities to get in on the ground floor with new and growing Dental Service Organizations (DSO’s).  If private and small group practices are not hiring in your area, don’t limit your options.

 How are you unique?

In a market saturated by dentists, you must be more. Take some time to identify the unique skills and experiences that make you different. Maybe you are an Eagle Scout. Perhaps you have club, sorority or fraternity experience that could help you stand out. Can you speak Spanish? Do you especially enjoy working with kids?

As you ponder these assets, begin to build a list. As you create or update your résumé and cover letter, reference your list of personal skills,  and weave them in. This goes for interviews as well. You have to sell yourself more than the practice has to sell itself, and identifying the unique attributes that set you apart can help.

Leverage the expertise of an independent recruiter

Dental recruiters live and breathe this job market. We have built relationships with practices throughout the U.S. for years, or even decades, in some cases. Recruiters create good reputations by identifying the strongest candidates and best fits for a practice. Each successful placement over the years leads to trust and more engagement from our practice clients. That trust is your opportunity as a job seeker. Often, we’re working with clients to fill positions that are not advertised in other channels. You know what they say; it’s who you know. And recruiters can be good to know.

Identify Volunteer Opportunities

In addition to the obvious upside of giving back to the community, volunteer work can help you hone your skills and build patient rapport, and it could lead to connections in the community you might not have otherwise made. The American Dental Association has a number of suggestions for volunteer opportunities on its website, including Give Kids a Smile events, Missions of Mercy work, and the Donated Dental Services program. Additionally, connecting with your state or local dental societies is a great resource for identifying volunteer opportunities that are unique to your area. Community health centers and schools are options as well. If you are ready  for an immersive experience in another country, the ADA Foundation and Health Volunteers Overseas Dental Education Program provides underserved populations beyond our borders. There are plenty of opportunities for you to choose from, so take your time and find one that is best suited for you.

Meet and Greet

Networking can be the difference between a second interview and a job. Find your local, regional and state dental societies and attend meetings regularly. Join discussion groups online, such as Dental Town. Update your LinkedIn profile, and begin to connect with the dental community you want to join. Hand out business cards at every opportunity, and reach out to experienced local offices for professional advice. Timid is a four-letter word in a saturated market.

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