A dental assistant performs various tasks ranging from assisting with dental procedures to consulting patients and performing administrative tasks. Therefore, your dental assistant resume must contain a range of soft skills like communication and hard skills such as a familiarity with dental tools. This step-by-step guide will help you prepare to write a competitive resume through practical tips, resume examples of other dental assistants, and free and premium resume templates.
Dental Assistant Resume
Refer to the above dental assistant resume example to see what a competitive application document needs to include.
These are some of the important sections every resume has:
Whether you are an intern, an entry-level job applicant or an experienced professional, creating an eye-catching resume can feel pretty overwhelming. We’ve put together the steps you need to feel confident when writing your resume. Before you begin to write, ensure that you:
After deciding what content to include in your resume, your next step is to determine which resume format you’ll use to organize your credentials. Choosing the proper resume format is essential to drive the recruiter’s attention to your strengths, accomplishments, skills and fit for the role. Depending on your level of experience, you can choose between a chronological, functional or a combination resume.
A chronological resume format is best suited for candidates with 10 or more years of experience. Iit highlights work experience over skills, giving ample space to go into detail on each of your previous roles, their tasks, responsibilities and achievements.
A functional resume format is apt for applicants with a long career gap, inconsistent career history or those who have very little to no work experience. This format primarily illustrates a candidate’s specialized skills while emphasizing how you apply your skills in your work rather than the details of each job.
A note of caution with this format: not all recruiters consider it an appropriate format to use. Only use this one if it’ll help your application by making your profile match the role better than any of the other two resume formats.
As the name suggests, a combination resume format combines the previous two resume formats by emphasizing a candidate’s skills and experience, making it ideal when applying for promotions or changing careers. You can use this one if you have at least two jobs you can discuss.
For more information on each resume type, kindly visit our resume formats guide to decide which one is the best for your career profile.
Here is a step-by-step guide containing valuable tips and relatable examples that will help you build an impressive resume for the dental assistant role:
1. Include a career objective or summary statement at the beginning.
The first section found at the top is always the resume objective or summary statement when writing your resume. This short introduction aims to communicate what makes you the ideal candidate for the role. Depending on your career level, you can mention your professional goals to the recruiter or summarize your best experience and top skills and achievements. Regardless of which one you choose, your goal in this section is to convey that you will be an asset to the organization.
While both resume objectives and summary statements aim to sell you to a potential employer, choosing between the two can be tricky. Since a career objective statement focuses on the candidate's skills and what they wish to achieve in their career, it is best for entry-level job seekers and those looking for a career change. On the contrary, candidates looking for a promotion in the same industry or a similar role in a different company or sector would apply a summary statement.
It is up to you to decide which opening paragraph suits your resume best. Use your work experience, skills, and qualifications to make your decision.
To better craft this section, here are two examples of a poor career objective and a good one:
“Hardworking and efficient dental assistant with tried and tested skills in procedure preparation and record keeping. Assists around the office with a highly dependable and eager-to-learn attitude. Bringing excellent customer service experience.”
The above objective fails to impress the recruiter as it does not highlight the specific skill set of the job applicant. The candidate’s experience appears vague; it doesn't adequately portray how they are best fitted for the role.
“Skilled and passionate dental assistant with three years of experience bringing excellent skills in 4-handed dentistry, X-ray operation, great communication and dental care expertise. Ready to provide the dentist with effective chairside support that’ll improve time spent per patient by 30%.”
This career objective successfully gives a short yet thorough introduction of the skills and impact that this candidate brings to the role. Also, the candidate creates a good impression on the recruiter by using numbers to quantify their impact — something that can work even better by further quantifying their previous achievements in the work history that’ll follow.
Follow these tips to make your career objective or summary statement stand out even more:
If you instead want to write a summary statement, study this example to get an idea of what it should say:
“Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) with hands-on experience as part of an internship in a private dental office. Able to skillfully schedule and conduct routine procedures, maintain patient records and develop good rapport with patients. Interested in providing excellent chairside assistance, infection control and positive customer service in a full-time position at XYZ Dental Offices.”
2. Categorize your skills.
While crafting your resume, dedicate a separate section to your skills. List at least six to eight skills relevant to the job you are applying for. While the skills section in chronological and combination resumes only consists of these listed skills, the functional resume allows you to expand on your top three skills.
To develop a functional resume, include three skill categories in the primary skills section and describe how you applied each to complete tasks.
Here is an example to help you understand this better:
Avoid repeating skills that you've already mentioned elsewhere on your resume. In the skills section, point out your accomplishments and describe how your skills helped you achieve them.
Soft skills are nontechnical skills that determine how well you work regardless of your industry or sector. Having these soft skills on your resume can help you stand out when applying for the role of a dental assistant:
Hard skillsare traits gained through training and experience and are more closely related to your job. Hard skills for a dental assistant include:
A candidate's technical skills refer to their knowledge and ability to handle tools and software. As a dental assistant, you might find it helpful to have the following technical skills:
You can enhance your dental assistant resume even more by using our Resume Builder and choosing from various relevant prewritten skills and content.
To help the recruiter get a clear idea of your employment history:
To better understand how to write this section, compare these poor and good examples.
Let’s refer to and compare these poor and good caregiver examples:
In the example above, the candidate has not highlighted any specific accomplishment or expertise related to the role. Only general tasks of the role are listed which do nothing to impress a potential recruiter who is already aware of the duties of this role.
Notice that the above work history example references statistics and specific tasks like 4-handed dentistry. This is a better example of work history since it describes the candidate’s roles in previous projects while also highlighting their skills and quantifying their impact.
Here are some additional tips to help you strengthen your resume’s work history:
This section of your resume highlights your educational background and supports your suitability for the dental assistant’s role. Under this section, you need to list your formal degrees or diplomas, mentioning the name of the college or school, its location and the date of graduation.
While most states mandate a dental assistant to have a related degree or certification, others accept candidates with just their high school diploma or GED.
However, having an associate degree in this field is preferred. The candidates can either pursue a diploma in Dental Assisting from a recognized institution or acquire a certification in Dental Assisting from a credible source.
To highlight your academic background on your resume, you must start with the most recent or highest degree in your possession.
Another effective way to enhance your resume is by showcasing your job-relevant certifications, licenses or awards. Your additional qualifications show your expertise and can help you impress employers.
Some certifications that can boost your resume as a dental assistant include:
A certification in this program prepares and authenticates the dental assistants to officially assist the dental caregivers in providing public dental care.
The National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) exam is also administered by DANB. It comprises three parts: anatomy, morphology and physiology (AMP), infection control (ICE) and radiation health and safety (RHS).
The purpose of this certification is to illustrate entry-level competence in primary dental assisting duties.
This certification program is for dental assistants who want to specialize in preventive dentistry, earned through four-component exams namely: Coronal Polishing, Sealants (SE), Topical Anesthetic (TA) and Topical Fluoride (TF).
The following courses are also helpful for dental assistants:
Dental assistants regularly interact with dental patients. Thus, the top three qualities that every dental assistant must have are good interpersonal skills, ability to follow instructions and basic knowledge of dental medicine.
Developing a good network within the dental industry, having positive work relationships with colleagues, accumulating volunteering experience, dealing empathically with patients and continuing your education to keep up with the advancing technologies in the dental industry are all excellent ways to help you stand out from other candidates.
An ideal objective statement must align the candidate’s aim, skills, previous experience and expertise with the recruiter's requirements for a particular role.
An effective objective statement for a dental assistant might state, "Aspiring dental assistant with one year of chairside assistance training. Bringing experience in dental treatment room procedures, radiography technique and procedures, as well as proficiency using the x-ray machine."
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