Dental Hygienist Resume

No matter if you are an experienced dental hygienist or looking to progress in your career, you should approach your next job search with a professionally formatted resume to position yourself  best to potential employers.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about the process for writing dental hygienist resumes.

You can also download the full dental hygienist resume template from this guide.

About Dental Hygienist Resumes

Being a certified dental hygienist, you’re aware of the tremendous value that you provide patients and those unique strengths that differentiate you from your peers within the dental hygiene industry. You’re aware of your strengths and you can speak at length about them. When it comes time to writing your resume, however, you find it difficult to figure out how best to communicate this. You search the internet for sample dental hygienist resumes to guide you, but the sheer variety of different styles, formats, and contradictory guidance is overwhelming. This guide will provide you with advice crafted by resume-writing experts known for assisting dental hygienists, like yourself, in advancing to the next stage of their careers. 

Before starting the resume-writing process, take a look at your career and reflect on how best to summarize the alignment between your experience and your specific expertise. Think about where you are now and how best to present this story. Consider what qualities make you a strong asset to the culture and success of a dental care organization. 

After this, make sure that you are up-to-date on current industry trends in patient care and dental hygiene and are knowledgeable about new treatments and technologies you might be expected to use to treat your patients. As a professional dental hygienist, you understand deeply the expected versatility of your role. Not only are you expected to provide high-level support to dentists, but you are often spearheading most patient treatment and diagnosis, managing patient relationships, and supporting administrative tasks within the dental office. Make sure the multifaceted nature of your skill set is captured and demonstrated in your dental hygienist resume.  

Next, draft a resume that describes those skills and attributes that differentiate you from your peers, while communicating this information as concisely as possible. Although, as with all professional resumes, there are general stylistic and content guidelines that should follow, a clear and well-written dental hygienist resume should focus on the specific skills that you are expected to demonstrate. Our experienced team of career advancement professionals knows the ins and outs of crafting a convincing dental hygienist resume that will optimally present your experience and skills and get you noticed as the ideal candidate for that perfect dental hygienist position. 

After you read this guide and read through our sample resumes, you may opt to take advantage of a professional resume-writing service that will allow you more time to review potential job opportunities and expand your professional network. 

Your Dental Hygienist Resume in Context

The job search can be a very difficult and time-consuming process for even the most experienced professional. Utilizing a strategic approach is necessary to secure the coveted interview. Additionally, some research and preparation, along with the resume-writing strategies discussed in this guide, can get your resume through applicant tracking system (ATS) software used by many larger organizations to screen potential candidates. Even if you are applying to a dental hygienist position at a smaller office, they may enlist a recruiting service or are an entity of a larger company, so it is safer to operate under the assumption that your resume will be scanned by an automated system. 

Evaluating the dental hygienist job market and developing a deeper understanding of the expectations of potential employers can assist you in determining how best to describe and structure your previous work history. It’s also crucially important to keep in mind how an outside reader will perceive your resume and to ensure that there is an overall narrative woven throughout the document. Reflect on what aspects of each position contributed to where you are in your career at present. If you are relatively new to dental hygiene, what strengths can you highlight and expand upon? This presents to potential employers what you can uniquely contribute to their organization and to their patients. 

A captivating dental hygienist resume is detailed and communicates all of your proficiencies. The document should also be neatly presented and concise. Some general stylistic guidelines to a perfect dental hygienist resume include:

  • Readability: A wide variety of readers will be potentially viewing your resume, some of whom might not be in your industry. Avoid using overly technical language and jargon without explanation, and make sure to spell 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. In fact, they might not be able to understand your resume at all!
  • Aesthetics: The resume should look appealing and draw the reader in at first glance. Ensure consistent spacing and formatting throughout. 
  • Attention to Detail: Your document should be free of any formatting, spelling, or grammatical errors that can distract the reader from 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. 
  • Compelling Introduction: The first few lines of the resume should present the unique value you bring to an organization. This is communicated within the professional summary that begins the resume. 

As a dental hygienist, you have a diverse skill set that combines technical expertise with highly developed soft skills, and these proficiencies should be highlighted throughout the resume. Additionally, because certifications and licenses are generally required to practice dental hygiene, these will also likely appear in job listings and ATS scans, so you should make sure they are listed in your resume.

Dental Hygienist Resume Details

A compelling dental hygienist resume has a clear, straightforward design, but you could choose to use an elegant hint of color or formatting if you want to inject some personality into your document. With resumes, less is more, so avoid complicated or ornate designs as they can distract the reader from the impact of the resume’s content and waste important space for graphics that are better used for content. Furthermore, some employers will expect you to enter your resume’s content into an online form, and this is a daunting task with overly complex formatting.  

A well-presented resume should highlight your highest-level of contributions and depth of experience and expertise, so an organized and space-efficient document design is best. Professional resumes are concise and allow your skills and experience to 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 sleek design with strategic use of white space and information that can be rapidly and easily read is the foundation of a professional dental hygienist resume. Your document should have clearly differentiated sections, clear titles for section headings, bold job titles, clean fonts, and short but compelling job descriptions. Avoid using a photograph or any excessive graphics or color, because these can distract from the resume’s content. 

Contact Information

Contact information should be presented at the very top of the resume to ensure that potential employers can easily reach out to you following a successful first screening. 

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 to avoid potential issues with your current employer.
  • 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

You should tailor your listed job title to the desired position rather than your current position, so even if this is the first dental hygienist position to which you’re applying after completing your degrees and certification, “Dental Hygienist” should still be the title you use at the top of the document. Remember that you are writing your dental hygienist resume to position you for your next challenge, and it’s critical for ATS purposes (and potential employers) that the job description matches what is listed in the job posting. 

While your resume will most likely be reviewed by an administrator at a general dental office, this might not be the case every time. Your resume could be screened first by an HR professional or a recruiter. Studies show that typically only the opening sentences of a resume are read by hiring managers before they decide whether they will continue reading on. This means that the beginning of your document should be captivating and compelling. 

Following the job title is the professional summary outlining your unique value proposition (UVP) or elevator pitch. The UVP describes your most significant accomplishments and skills and how they make you the ideal candidate for your desired position. Use descriptive language that describes who you are and what differentiates you. 

An example UVP for a Dental Hygienist: 

Experienced, driven, and patient-first registered dental hygienist committed to providing highest level dental care to patients by applying expertise across clinical dentistry, dental hygiene, dental radiography, and patient education. 

Used as the basis for your professional summary, the UVP is a few sentences that focus on key attributes that are unique and specific to you and match with your desired role. Active language is used to describe what you contributed and how it led to the success of the organizations with which you worked. This helps potential employers understand your skills and accomplishments that you would use to support the growth and vision of the organization.

An example Professional Summary for a Dental Hygienist may look like the following:

Experienced, driven, and patient-first registered dental hygienist committed to providing highest level dental care to patients by applying expertise across clinical dentistry, dental hygiene, dental radiography, and patient education. Support patient administration and positively impact client experience through strong organizational skills, professionalism, attention to detail, honesty, and communications. Encourage maintenance of oral hygiene through engaging patient education and enthusiasm.

Licensed to practice dental hygiene in the states of Kansas and Missouri.

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 overly 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.  

Also, notice that your licenses are listed here. They will also be present later in the document, but calling them out early in the resume indicates that you hold the necessary professional licenses to practice in certain states.

Dental Hygienist Keywords

As you write your professional summary, it’s crucial to understand the importance that industry-specific keywords play in aligning your dental hygienist resume with the specific role/organization to which you are applying. It can’t be stated strongly enough that even the most qualified candidates might not make it to the interview stage because their resume didn’t score high enough on an ATS scan. This can be avoided by optimizing your resume language, reviewing the job description, and selecting specific keywords and phrases that align with the role. 

There are also some skills and attributes that every dental hygienist is expected to possess. Below is a table of keywords that are common within the dental hygiene industry. This list is by no means comprehensive and should complement the list you generate from reviewing job descriptions. 

Hard skills:

  • Clinical dentistry
  • Dental hygiene
  • First aid
  • CPR
  • Dental radiography
  • X-ray analysis
  • Patient administration
  • Medical scheduling
  • Medical billing
  • Infection control

Soft skills:

  • Patient health & safety
  • Patient education
  • Strong communications
  • Customer service
  • Collaboration
  • Empathy
  • Patient relationships

Areas of Expertise (Skills and Competencies) 

After you have compiled a list of keywords that can be incorporated into the resume, 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 allows you to add detail to your professional summary and UVP by describing your dental 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 work history. This is especially important in any field that employs technology, as it is important to paint yourself as synchronized to emerging developments within dental care.  

When listing and describing your career history, each position should list the name and location of each organization, the years of your employment (listing months is optional, but it can make your resume look cluttered), exact job titles, and a short description of your core responsibilities listed in order of importance. 


Always keep in mind that conciseness is the foundation of an effective dental hygienist resume, so eliminate any repetitive skills and focus on those that are the most impressive to an outside reviewer. You have only 1-2 pages to describe your success story, so you want to use active language that strongly demonstrates your unique contributions. Try not to use passive phrases like “responsible for,” because they don’t communicate what you have actually done, and preference the usage of action words such as deliver, perform, spearhead, etc. 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. 

Education & Certifications

After describing the timeline and accomplishments of your career history, you should discuss your education and professional certifications and licenses. There isn’t any need to discuss details of your education other than school and degree, although distinctions such as summa cum laude can be listed next to your degree. Do not include the year of graduation or your GPA. 

Licenses and certifications should be listed in order of significance and relevance to your desired role. As stated previously, any high-level certification that is either necessary or preferable for the position should also be indicated after your name in the header on the first page of the document. 

Additional Information

If you have remaining space you may want to consider highlighting a few other sections, such as: 

  • Awards
  • Professional Affiliations
  • Languages (if relevant to the desired position)
  • Volunteer/Community Service (especially if within healthcare)

Avoid listing anything not relevant 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 Hygienist Resume

Once you have crafted your dental hygienist resume, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the resume concisely and clearly describe who I am and my expertise, and would I want to learn more about this person?
  • Does the resume seem too wordy, too long, or overly technical?
  • Does this resume portray confidence through the use of action words?
  • Does the resume contain any formatting, spelling, or grammatical errors?

After preparing your resume for a general audience, you should have a peer (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

See Resume Writing Packages

Hopefully, this guide provided you with a detailed perspective on what’s expected of a high-quality dental hygienist resume. A well-written resume can be the difference between a call-back within a few weeks or a few months, which is why dental professionals like yourself seek expert assistance in writing a resume that positions them for the next stage of their career.  

As a leading, full-service career advancement service, we work exclusively with professionals like you. Applying our decades of experience, we assist our clients in getting hired faster and securing higher compensations packages. By identifying and highlighting your unique talent, we will bring out the experiences and skills that make you the ideal candidate for your next challenge. 

Buy the Dental Hygienist Resume Template

If you’d like to draft your resume on your own but would benefit from the use of our sample resume, our dental hygienist template is available.