A welcoming smile is your stock and trade. It assures patients that you know how to take care of teeth and gums. Think of your dentist resume as your welcoming smile as you look for a new career opportunity.
You know how to put patients at ease, now it’s Resume.io’s turn to put you at ease. Use our dynamic resources for job seekers, including resume guides and resume examples for 300+ professions. Then, take advantage of our easy-to-use resume builder to create a first impression that has you on your way to a new job.
This resume guide and the dentist resume examples it contains will examine:
- What does a dentist do?
- Tips and tricks for writing a dentist resume
- The best format for a dentist resume
- Ideas and suggestions for each section of your resume (summary, work history, education, skills)
- Professional resume layout and design pointers.
What does a dentist do?
Dentists have it tough. They go through more schooling than almost any other profession and must overcome dentophobia, or the fear of dentists and the environment of their offices, in many of their patients. Part of your job is simply to help your patients relax so you can perform an exam and any needed procedures safely.
As an oral healthcare physician, you help patients to achieve and maintain oral hygiene and health. You diagnose much more than cavities. In fact, your work encompasses dental conditions of a patient’s teeth, mouth, or gums. Dentists should be adept at providing comprehensive care and communicating with patients about options and treatment plans.
Dentists may enter general practice or choose advanced training in one of 12 specialties. They are*:
|Dental public health
|Oral and maxillofacial pathology
|Oral and maxillofacial radiology
|Oral and maxillofacial surgery
|Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
|*Source: National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards (NCRDSCB)
Dentist job market and outlook
The need for dentists is expected to grow about 8 percent per year through 2030 or 5,000 jobs a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s about the average for all professions.
Most dentists work in a dental office with other dentists either in a general practice or one that offers one or more specialized services. About 16 percent of dentists choose to open their own practices. Another 3 percent work in government jobs or physicians’ offices while 2 percent choose outpatient care centers as their work environment.
What are the highest paying dental specialties?
Dentists earn an average of $164,010 annually. If your goal is to earn as much as possible, DentaGama suggests considering one of these five specialties:
- Pediatric dentistry
- Oral surgery
How to write a dentist resume
Before you begin compiling your dentist resume, you need to look at the big picture. Here are the elements your CV should contain:
- The resume header
- The resume summary (aka profile or personal statement)
- The employment history section
- The resume skills section
- The education section
Each of these sections serves a purpose within your resume. Together, they offer a detailed picture of you as a professional. To give your dentist CV a professional polish, you should do the following:
- Approach each application as though it were your first. By that we mean, thoroughly investigate the practice or organization you are applying to and target your CV to that practice.
- Stay professional with a resume template and design that conveys the image you wish to project.
- Take time to optimize for ATS screening software when you apply online.
Leap the ATS hurdle
Whenever you apply for a job online, your dentist resume will be scanned by an Applicant Tracking System. These software programs are designed to help HR personnel by filtering out candidates who don’t have the required skills and experience.
There are no guaranteed ways to get your CV into the hands of a person, but you can greatly increase your chances by inserting keywords and phrases from the job listing into your resume. Make sure your wording sounds natural and avoid “stuffing” those all-important phrases in, but do carefully analyze the listing to make sure you are not missing any important components of the job.
Choosing the best resume format for a dentist
Typically, we recommend the reverse chronological order resume format for two reasons: It gives recruiters a quick way to see what you are doing now and it makes transfer into ATS software easier.
This resume format affects your employment history section most, since you will be recording your jobs from your latest position and working your way back. As a dentist, this may mean any residencies or internships you have completed or other practices or situations in which you have worked.
If, however, you have expertise in a highly complex area of dentistry, you may consider the functional resume format because it focuses on skills over experience. Newly minted dentists (congratulations!) or seasoned professionals may consider one of the hybrid formats we suggest.
Resume summary example
The summary, or profile, within your dentist resume sits at the top of your document and provides your one chance to introduce your personality. Your expertise is crucial to your career, but so is your chairside manner. Your summary allows you to define how you approach patient care and relationships. If you are applying to a large practice, it gives other professionals a chance to decide whether you are a good fit.
Within this 3-4 sentences, you must convey confidence without sounding like you are bragging. Begin by introducing yourself and your career, then offer a strong example of your best work. Feel free to explain why you are a great fit for the practice. (You will have a bit more space to do this in your cover letter.)
Still unsure how to proceed here? Read the dentist summary resume example below. Then, take a look at our related medical resume examples. Our healthcare resume example is a good start. Check out our endodontist resume sample or our doctor resume sample may also help.
Passionate Dentist with extensive experience in oral diagnosis, restorative dental treatment, prosthodontics, cosmetic procedures, and more. Hardworking and committed to providing patients with a comfortable and successful experience. Adept in pain management and providing patients with guidance on preventative oral hygiene.
Employment history CV sample
This section is the meat of your dentist CV. Recruiters want specifics on your experience, so give them something to chew on. The best resumes offer details that paint a picture of your career and your strengths.
The first step is to make note of the responsibilities and achievements you have had at each job. Then, choose those that best match the position for which you are applying. Remember to swap out bullet points to better target different practices.
Each bullet point in your dentist CV follows a standard format:
- Begin with a strong, action verb omitting the pronoun I
- Describe what you did
- Explain your results
Check out the dentist employment history resume sample below.
- Educated patients about proactive dental care, plaque control, and treatment options.
- Offered state of the art procedures with the highest level of care possible.
- Performed routine dental examinations and checkups.
- Carefully monitored the growth and development of teeth.
- Treated patients with respect and consideration of sensitivities.
- Successfully handled complex dental needs.
Resume skills section example
Your skills section is like an initial examination. Recruiters want an overview before they delve more deeply into your career. That means you need to choose carefully what attributes to highlight. This is also the easiest section to tailor to individual job listings.
Dentists need a host of hard skills (those learned in school necessary for your profession), but they also need soft skills such as excellent communication (if you are multilingual, that could be a great plus!) and detail-orientation. With the specific job in mind, create a blend of these types of attributes to attract the attention of recruiters. See the resume sample for the skills section below.
What makes a great dentist?
The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) offers a list of traits for a successful dentist. Notice that we mention empathy and kindness in our skills section resume sample below. Consider these soft skills when developing your own section:
- Good judgement
- Critical thinking
- Comprehensive General Dental Care
- Excellent Communication Skills
- Empathetic and Kind
- Optimal Patient Care
- Teamwork and Leadership Skills
Dentist resume education example
Becoming a dentist is an eight-year commitment – four years of undergraduate work and four years of dental school – and that’s if you don’t choose to specialize. The education section of your dentist resume is where you get to be proud of all that hard work.
List your undergraduate degree followed by your Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) degree. If you have and outstanding academic record, go ahead and list your GPA or any honors you earned. Just be aware that this information becomes less important as your career progresses.
Also list any specialty education you have here. You should include your clinical experience in the work history section of your dentist resume. If you are a member of the American Dental Association (ADA) or any other organization, you may list that here or create an Affiliations section. Below is a resume example of how to format the education section.
- 2008-2012 Hunter College, Bachelor of Biology, NY, NY
- 2007-2011 Arizona School of Dentistry, D.D.S Tempe, Arizona
Resume layout and design
As a dentist, you can make a big difference in people’s lives by improving the appearance of their teeth and gums. First impressions are lasting. Your goal here is to get that interview. That’s why you need to pay as much attention to the look of your dentist resume as you do to the content.
You're a consummate professional, so you don’t want to get gimmicky or flashy, but you do want a memorable look. Here are some tips for achieving that goal:
- Create an eye-catching header for your personal information. You may use a splash of color, but no more.
- Maintain readability by varying line lengths and avoiding the temptation to squeeze your margins.
- Use standard fonts and go with one for headings and another for text.
If design isn’t your forte or you want to avoid the hassle of formatting your dentist resume, consider one of our field-tested resume templates.
Key takeaways for a dentist resume
- Dentistry can be a rewarding career, both financially and emotionally, if you have the ability to put your patients at ease.
- Dental practices have personalities and needs just like patients, so do your research and adapt your dentist resume for each job.
- Allow your personality to shine in your summary.
- Check out our dentist resume sample for more ideas on creating a great page design.