Finding a Job When Coming Out of Dental School

by Elizabeth Heron, i Resume Cover Letter

Congratulations on finishing dental school and waiting for your license to become active! Do you have a career plan set in motion or are you just beginning to test the waters and see what the booming market has to offer? If you are already assisting in private practice, you have some advantages in comparison to your colleagues, but if you are not you need to make some steps and some plans regarding your future career! Let us see how to find a job freshly out of dental school.

How is the Dental Job Market Treating You?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you just graduated dental school, the world is your oyster: “Overall employment of dentists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for dental services will increase as the population ages and as research continues to link oral health to overall health.”

In other words, finding a job should not be hard. However, you need to spread your antennae all over the place and seize all opportunities. Here are some tips!

1. Use Specialized Online Resources
The Academy of General Dentistry and the ADA Career Center are good resources when you want to learn about dental job openings in your area – and others.

  • One thing you should know is that you will probably find more job openings in rural areas, so if you are willing to move or commute, you can stay ahead of the competition;
  • Another issue you need to solve before you start applying is the type of dental job you want to have. Do you prefer corporate dental offices or private practices? Do you want ownership or partnership?

Our advice is to keep an open mind to all openings, as you never know what opportunity will best match your needs and expectations. Use the classifieds of the Oral Health Group, other dental associations, organizations, magazines and portals. You will soon learn that if you pay the proper attention, you will stumble upon resources and opportunities you did not think about in the first place.

2. Networking
Nothing beats face-to-face interactions, so take your time and network.

  • Talk to your dental school teachers, as they either know people in private practices or collaborate with ones;
  • Talk to the dentists in your area to learn if they have job openings for young graduates;
  • Attend conferences, workshops, seminars, academic or informal events related to dentistry – even dental product showcasings or equipment presentations;
  • Contact and interact with supply representatives for the dental supply companies in your area or the area you are willing to move to for practice; they know most, if not all, dentists and dental offices and even keep tabs on job openings;
  • If there is a local dental association in your city or the place you want to move to, visit it – most of them list job openings.

For some, face-to-face interactions are challenging, but their value is tremendous. As a graduate, you have little experience to show off, so you are going to rely on your academic resume, your determination and your perseverance to prove you are a valuable asset to any corporate office or private practice.

3. Deliver Your CV in Person Whenever You Can
When you are freshly out of dental school, you may have an excellent resume containing information related to your education, specific extracurricular activities, projects, conference participation, grants and more. Emphasize on all details that can help you land a job – you may have done some volunteer work, you may have assisted a renowned dental surgeon, you may have won a scholarship or award, etc.

  • Highlight these critical aspects of your resume and accompany them with a cover letter focusing on your abilities, thirst for knowledge and evolution, willingness to learn and be a team player. You may go through a handful of private practices until you find the perfect spot for you or you build your practice. Until then, as a rookie in the field, use your skills and your potential as leverage.

If you apply online via the dental career platforms, make sure your CV and cover letter look professional, are easy to read, and make a positive impression from the opening. You can use a functional CV template or a video/PPT presentation to draw attention and keep things simple, smooth and attractive.

In case you chose the personal interaction path, make sure you deliver your CV and resume in a sealed envelope with the manager’s name written on them. You can leave the package with the secretary if you do not find the owner, but ensure your papers will reach the right person.

Everybody delivers dedicated envelopes to managers, and all owners open packages addressed to them. If you made a good impression, you might receive a call for an interview or at least a meeting.

4. Use the Internet as Everyone Else Does
Sometimes, using the internet to find a job is the best way to go. As we said above, you should use all these means and methods to make sure you have covered all opportunities. While it is not likely to find a dentist opening on Craigslist, you can use the traditional job portals to identify other job offerings you did not think about before.

You may not end up in private practice, but you can get a guest writer position for a magazine and make a name for yourself with the well-written dental articles and tutorials you offer readers.

Before we let you focus on finding the perfect job for you, we have to tell you that you should consult some labor market statistics to understand payment at your level, working hours and requirements. Finding the best job in the dental market means adjusting your expectations to the reality in the field. Other than that, there is no stopping you if you want to become the best and most successful dentist in the area. Good luck!

About the Author
Elizabeth Heron is an HR Manager with a Master of Journalism and Mass Communication from Kent State University. She helps employees find their career goals and pursue them. She is Senior Editor for, where she gives advice and examples for cover letters and resumes.

Interested in contributing to Oral Health Group’s dental blog? Email for more information!