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Practical advice for finding a dental job

As a specialist job board we frequently have dental professionals looking to find their next dental roles here, or find advice about interview advice or writing a winning CV. But all too often, we see many dentists, dental nurses and practice managers that overlook the basics when trying to find their next dental job. And that's where this particular guide, providing practical advice for finding a dental job can be so helpful.

Don't undersell yourself

We've talked about it before in our blog, but taking the time to map out your career plan and try to identify where you want to be and by when, is one of the most undervalued pieces of advice we think there is. The process of documenting it helps you think in a more structured way and determine the specifics of what actually matters to you. When doing this, don't undersell yourself and plan or dream small.

We all should have it in us to realise our dreams, so be ambitious and outline where you'd really like to get to in your career. This will help you understand what you need to do to get from where you are now to where you want to be. It may highlight training requirements, skills development or simply gaining more experience in specific areas or techniques. Regardless of what it shows, you'll now be equipped with a career roadmap and can begin working towards achieving it in earnest.

Be practical

Whether it's practicality or realism, we're fully supportive of ambition but there's no point in applying for roles that are clearly beyond your skillset or experience level. It will just waste time and effort for all involved. So instead, be selective over your targeting and think about incremental steps in your career development.

You'll also need to consider the state of the employment market at the time you're looking for your next role. Most industries and sectors have some element of cyclicality and over time you'll see this with certain roles being more or less in demand. Job boards and recruitment agencies will have lots of vacancies advertised in busy periods and fewer as the market quietens. There's not a lot you can do about this, other than being fully prepared to increase your job search activity as the market gets busier and/or consider adjusting your job search criteria, expanding your minimum requirements or increasing the number of compromises you're willing to accept when the market is quieter. The extent to which you do this will also be influenced by the motivating factors driving you to look for a new role.

Pitch properly

We've talked about creating a winning CV before, but that's just part of the process of pitching yourself properly. Then once you have your CV well-crafted, you can register with relevant dental recruitment agencies and suitable job boards. Years ago, there was only one main industry website worth registering on BDJ Jobs, but these days there are plenty of other niche or specialist websites - like BestDentalJobs.co.uk - amongst others, where it really pays to have a presence. Increasingly, these specialist sites are attracting more and more jobseekers, direct employers and recruiters, so pitch yourself properly and get in front of the hiring managers.

Assuming you want to carry out NHS work then if you have a Performer Number, be sure to list this on your CV or reference it in your cover letter. It'll improve your profile from an employer's perspective, but don't forget to list any conditions that are associated with your Performer Number too.

Location, location, location

As you might expect, the majority of job seekers will want to find a role that's within a certain distance from where they live. It's convenient for family life and the work/life balance, but it can also be a limiting factor when trying to find your next dental role. And the reality when defining a particular catchment area is that there's little difference in time or cost, going that little further afield.

Think about this situation, for example. A job seeker might have determined that even though they can drive, they only want to work within a 10 miles radius of their home address. This may be fine in large cities like London, Manchester and Birmingham, but is less suitable for smaller towns and cities and can be a seriously limiting factor in the volume of roles that are then available and suitable.

In some cases, it may be that broadening your job search area will open you up not just to additional dental job opportunities but also to alternative travel options. For example, you may find that travelling by train for 30 miles might take the same amount of actual time as travelling 10 miles by car, and in doing so you'll be open to so many more work opportunities.

Seek advice and support

As with most things in life, someone else has often had a similar experience or has built up knowledge in a particular area prior to you. It's how you learnt about dentistry in the first place, for example - and it's the same with job hunting. Whether it's writing a winning CV, prepping for an interview, or understanding how different sized dental practices operate, there will often be someone that has gone through the process before you. So take the opportunity to learn from them. Think about your current or ex-colleagues, or old managers. What experiences or skills do they have that you can learn from them? Develop your professional network and tap into the collective knowledge that they have. In many cases, there'll also be a 'hidden' jobs market where employers will seek out referrals from each other.

Use relevant resources

Blogs like this one are a great resource that we obviously endorse and recommend jobseekers familiarise themselves with. We're not the only dental specialist company that provides helpful resources like this either. Dental recruitment companies will often have their own blogs and it's often worth speaking to a dental recruiter, as they'll be able to give you a sense of the jobs market, which employers are recruiting right now, what trends they're seeing and they'll also able to give you some indication of your employment prospects. Be selective over the number of agencies you speak to or register with, as many are competitors and will want some sort of exclusivity in order to properly represent you. Take advice from others you've worked with previously and they'll often be able to recommend good agencies that are worth working with.

And don't forget social media either. Often faster-flowing, following the right brands or businesses and you'll see the latest news, blogs and jobs quickest here. Take the BestDentalJobs.co.uk Twitter feed (HERE) as an example. Add this to the accounts you follow and see the latest jobs, blogs and news specifically for the dental sector. We're not the only business that share content on Twitter… there are others too, so have a good search around to find relevant sources. We may well feature a list of accounts and businesses to follow in a future blog, so watch this space!