Dental Assistant Resume
To best present yourself to employers, a professional resume is crucial to any experienced dental assistant or one looking for a promotion.
This guide will help you understand the process of writing a resume for a dental assistant position.
If you’re interested, you can download the complete Dental Assistant resume template from this guide.
About Dental Assistant Resumes
As a certified and experienced dental assistant, you understand what makes you stand out from others in the field of clinical dentistry. Although you know your strengths and are able to communicate them to others, it can be difficult to write a resume that captures your talent and experience. If you have a vision of what your next challenge should be, a professional and compelling resume will help you to get noticed by potential doctors.
Before you start the resume-writing process, take a look at your career history and consider how to best summarize your expertise and experience. Consider how you got to where you are today and how you can best tell this story. Think about what makes you an asset to the culture or success of your organization.
Following this, make sure you are up-to-date on industry trends within patient care and are knowledgeable about what new technologies you might be expected to have proficiency in. As a professional in your field, you know that dental assistants do much more than pass instruments to dentists! You are expected to administer and review x-rays and other high-end medical equipment, manage patient relationships, and occasionally assist others in medical offices with a wide range of tasks. A stellar dental assistant is expected to be versatile, so make sure that your multifaceted nature is highlighted in your dental assistant resume.
Next, create a resume that highlights the skills and attributes that distinguish you from other candidates, while communicating this information in a concise manner. While professional resumes must follow certain stylistic and content guidelines, a well-written resume for a dental assistant should be focused on the skills you possess in abundance. Our team of career advancement experts are well-versed on the intricacies of creating a compelling resume for a dental assistant that will maximize the presentation of your experiences and increase your chances of landing the perfect dental assistant position.
You might consider using a professional resume writing service after reading this guide and looking at our sample resumes. Choosing this step will allow you to save time and instead allow you to review potential opportunities and expand your network.
Your Dental Assistant Resume in Context
Searching for a new position can be a difficult process for even the most experienced professionals, as there are many avenues to consider when thinking about what your ideal next organization will be. A strategic approach is necessary to optimize your chances of securing an interview. Furthermore, some research and preparation, along with the resume-writing strategies that will be discussed in this guide, can position your resume to pass through applicant tracking system (ATS) software used by many larger organizations to screen applicants. Even if you are applying to a dental assistant position at a smaller organization, it’s possible that they may be using a recruiting service or are an entity of a larger enterprise, so you should operate under the assumption that your resume will be scanned by an automated system.
Assessing the dental assistant job market and developing a strong understanding of the expectations of potential employers can help you in determining how best to present, phrase, and structure your previous work history. It’s also of critical importance to think about how an outside reader will perceive your resume and ensure that there is a narrative woven throughout the document. Think about what aspects of each position contributed to where you are in your career now. If you are relatively new to dental assisting, what strengths can you highlight and expand upon? This communicates to potential employers what you can uniquely contribute to their organization and the patients they dutifully serve.
A compelling dental assistant resume is detailed and demonstrates all of your proficiencies. The document should also be clean and concise. Some general stylistic guidelines to a perfect dental assistant resume include:
- Aesthetics: Without considering the content, the resume should look appealing and draw the reader in. Ensure consistent spacing and formatting throughout.
- Captivating Introduction: Within the first few lines of the resume, it should be clear what unique value you bring to an organization. This is communicated within the professional summary that begins the resume.
- Attention to Detail: Your document should be free of any formatting, spelling, or grammatical errors that can distract the reader from the strength of the narrative. Additionally, word counts are critical to keeping the resume concise, so articles such as “a” and “the” are omitted. You should also avoid the use of pronouns as these add to the word count.
- Readability: A variety of readers will be potentially viewing your resume, some of whom might not be in your industry. You should avoid using overly technical language and jargon without explanation, while spelling out all acronyms on their first appearance. Although you might assume that everyone knows what a specific acronym represents, you can’t know for sure, and it can be irritating to a reader to continually have to look up highly specific terminology.
As a dental assistant, you have a broad skill set that combines technical expertise with soft skills, and these proficiencies should be highlighted throughout your resume. You are likely expected to have certifications and specific credentials that wouldn’t be shown for other roles, and some of these will also appear in job listings and ATS scans, so you should list any technical proficiencies that demonstrate your expertise.
An effective dental assistant resume has a relatively simple design, but you could elect to use an elegant hint of color or formatting if you prefer a bit of flair in your document. When researching resume templates, you’ll likely see many complicated and ornate designs that seem impressive at first glance. These should be avoided because they can easily distract the reader from the impact of the resume’s content while wasting important space for graphics rather than writing. Additionally, there are some employers who will expect you to enter the resume’s content into an online form, and this is nearly impossible if the formatting is overly complex.
A well-written and presented resume should reflect your highest-level contributions and depth of expertise, so an organized and efficient document design is ideal. A professional resume is concise and neat and lets your skillset and experience shine through. As with many fields of expertise, your career experience should speak for itself, so try to keep the word count below 1000 words.
A concise design with tactical use of white space and information that can be quickly and easily scanned is the hallmark of a professional dental assistant resume. Your document should have clearly defined sections, clear titles for section headings, bold job titles, clean fonts, and short but impactful job descriptions. You should avoid using a photograph or any excessive color or graphics as these usually distract from the content.
Ensuring an employer can easily reach out to you following a successful first screening of your resume is critical. This information should be presented at the very top of the resume as in the example below:
You’ll notice that:
- Only your city and state are listed.
- Select only one email address, and this should preferably be a personal email rather than one affiliated with your current position.
- List your LinkedIn profile URL to provide another potential means of an employer reaching out to you while serving as a snapshot of your professional resume.
- Include your phone number as an alternative means of outreach.
Job Title and Summary
Following this, tailor your listed job title to the desired position rather than your current position, so even if this is the first dental assistant position to which you’re applying after completing your certification, “Dental Assistant” should still be the title you use at the top of the document. Remember that you are drafting your dental assistant resume for your next challenge, and it’s important for ATS purposes that the job description matches what is listed in the job posting.
Although your resume is likely going to be screened by an administrator within a general dentistry office, this is not always the case, as your resume might be screened by an HR professional or recruiter first. Studies have shown that hiring managers only read the opening sentences of a resume before deciding whether to continue reviewing it, which means that the beginning of your resume needs to be compelling.
Directly following the job title is the professional summary, which begins with your unique value proposition (UVP) or elevator pitch. The unique value proposition describes your most significant accomplishments and how they have positioned you for the next step in your career. Use descriptive but concise language that defines who you are and what differentiates you from your peers.
An example UVP for a Dental Assistant:
Dedicated and patient-first dental assistant known for assisting doctors in ensuring positive outcomes for patients while providing best-in-class dental care and service.
Using the UVP as the basis for the professional summary, craft a few sentences that discuss key attributes that are unique to you and align with the desired role. Use active language that says what you contribute and how it drove success for the organizations in which you have been a key player. This communicates to potential employers what skills and achievements you can leverage to support their growth and strategic vision.
An example UVP and professional summary for a Dental Assistant might look like this:
Dedicated and patient-first dental assistant known for assisting doctors in ensuring positive outcomes for patients while providing best-in-class dental care and service. Apply broad experience and deep knowledge of general dentistry operations, x-ray operations, patient diagnosis with empathy, strong communications, and high-level attention to detail to build trusting relationships between dentists and patients. Collaborate with dentists to provide superior patient experience, overseeing detailed record-keeping and offering advisement to optimize patient care.
If you’re having trouble narrowing down what to focus on in your professional summary, review the descriptions of your targeted role and select those that match your skills in language and scope. Research what organizations are looking for in their ideal candidate to create your UVP and customized professional summary. Think about both hard skills that describe your abilities and soft skills that describe your personal attributes.
Always avoid showy language and try to apply industry-specific keywords wherever possible. Not only does this help to target the resume for your desired role, but it also reinforces that you are an expert in your field.
Dental Assistant Keywords
As you write your professional summary, it’s crucial to understand the importance that industry-specific keywords play in aligning your dental assistant resume with the specific role/organization to which you are applying. It can’t be emphasized enough that even the most qualified candidates might not make it to the interview state because their resume didn’t score high enough on an ATS scan. Avoid this by optimizing your resume language, reviewing the job description, and selecting specific keywords and phrases that align with the role.
Additionally, there are also skills and attributes that every dental assistant is expected to possess. Below is a table of keywords that are common within Dental Assisting. This list is by no means comprehensive and should complement the list you generate from reviewing job descriptions.
- Clinical dentistry
- Dental assisting
- First aid
- X-ray equipment & processing
- Medical scheduling & billing
- Patient administration
- Patient health & safety
- Strong communications
- Customer service
- Patient relationships
Areas of Expertise (Skills and Competencies)
After you have built a list of keywords that can be incorporated into the document, you can start drafting the next section of the resume by listing 6–10 bulleted areas of expertise. Try to match these with phrasing in the job description as ATS systems scan for verbatim matches. This list can be a combination of both hard and soft skills.
With these areas in mind, ensure that they appear throughout the document wherever appropriate.
Employment History / Professional Experience
The Professional Experience section is where you can expand upon your professional summary and UVP to describe the details of your career history. Although it does include descriptions of your responsibilities position-by-position, it should be presented in a way that reflects the evolution of your career in reverse chronological order. In addition, you should limit the scope of your presented career to the last 10–15 years or so to protect against ageism and to highlight your most recent, relevant history. This is especially important in any field that employs technology, as it is important to paint yourself as in sync with new developments within dentistry.
As you list and describe your career history, every position should list the name and location of each organization, the years of your employment (listing months is an option, but this can make the resume look cluttered), exact job titles, and a brief description of your key responsibilities listed in order of importance.
Remember, conciseness is the key to an effective dental assistant resume, so remove any repetitive skills, and focus on those that are the most impressive to an outside reader. You only have 1-2 pages to tell your success story, so you want compelling, active language and information that demonstrates your unique contributions. Avoid phrases like “responsible for,” as they don’t communicate what you have actually done, and instead use action words such as lead, drive, or direct. Additionally, make sure that you use present tense to describe your current role and past tense to describe your former roles, maintaining consistency throughout each description.
If you choose to list roles prior to 10–15 years ago these can be listed without dates in an Additional Experience section with the company, location, and job titles listed.
Education & Certifications
After describing the timeline and accomplishments of your career history, it’s time to discuss your education and certifications. Some states require dental assistants to obtain licenses for practice within the state, so ensure that you have done so prior to applying for a position within that state. And don’t forget to put this on your resume!
In this section, you’ll want to list your degrees and the universities from which you obtained them. Do not include the year of graduation or your GPA. Additionally, you’ll want to list any relevant professional certifications and licenses you have obtained. List these in order of significance and relevance to your desired role. Any high-level certification that is either necessary or preferable for the position (CDA, for example) should also be indicated after your name in the header on the first page of the document.
If you have remaining space you may want to consider highlighting a few other sections, such as:
- Professional Affiliations
- Languages (if relevant to the desired position)
- Volunteer/Community Service
Avoid listing anything irrelevant to the position, such as hobbies and interests, or anything from more than 10-15 years in the past. These take up space and distract from the main purpose of the resume.
Your Finished Dental Assistant Resume
After having created your dental assistant resume, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the resume quickly and concisely describe who I am and my expertise, and would I want to hear more about this person?
- Does the resume read confidently through the use of action words?
- Is the resume wordy, too long, or overly technical?
- Are there any formatting, spelling, or grammatical mistakes?
Once you have prepared your resume for a general audience, you should have someone else (preferably a fellow medical professional) review and proofread the resume. You don’t want to be disqualified from your next position over a simple spelling error.
Next Steps & Our Services
We hope that this guide provided you with some perspective on what’s needed to produce a high-quality and compelling dental assistant resume. Time is money, and a well-written resume can be the difference between a call back within a few weeks or a few months. This is why so many professionals like yourself seek assistance in writing a resume that is results-driven and positions them for the next step in their career.
A leading, full-service career advancement service, we only work with professionals like you. We leverage our decades of experience to assist our clients in getting hired faster and negotiating higher compensation packages. By identifying your unique talent, we will bring out and enhance the things that truly make you the best candidate for your next challenge.
Buy the Dental Assistant Resume Template
Our sample resume for a dental assistant is available for immediate download and purchase if you would prefer to create your own resume.