Landing the dental assistant job of your dreams means you’ll need a resume—and the way you put yours together can make or break your application. The right resume should show off your dedication to dentistry, your commitment to patient care, and your proficiency in the clinical and administrative duties the role demands.
At Risio, our job is training Canada’s best dental assistants and helping them find thriving careers—so we know a thing or two about how to put your best foot forward for the jobs you want. Here’s how you can ensure your resume stands out when applying for jobs.
Objective Statements: Your Resume’s First Impression
An objective statement is often the first thing prospective employers will read when scanning a new resume, so you want to make yours punchy and memorable. Here’s what to do:
- State your career goals and focus on how you can contribute to the prospective employer’s practice.
- Make sure your objective is tailored to the specific dental assistant position you’re applying for. Why do you want this job?
- Keep it concise. Aim for no more than two to three sentences.
“I am a registered dental assistant seeking to apply my experience in pediatric dentistry and my compassionate patient care skills to brighten smiles at The Whole Tooth Dental Clinic.”
- Mention your certification or significant qualification in the first line.
- Align your career goals with the needs of the employer—read the posting fully first!
- Use action verbs and dental industry keywords.
Highlighting Relevant Skills & Competencies
Dental practices want to know that you’re a good fit for the type of work they do most often. Here’s how to show off everything you know in a way that’s easy to see and hard to overlook:
- Categorize your skills to separate clinical competencies from administrative abilities.
- Be specific. Instead of “good with patients,” say “experienced in soothing anxious patients before procedures.”
- Use bullet points for readability and quick scanning.
- Proficient in taking and analyzing dental X-rays
- Experienced with various dental software, including Dentrix and Eaglesoft
- Efficient in managing patient appointments and billing
- Excellent understanding of dental insurance processes
- List your most impressive and relevant skills first.
- Use terms found in the job listing to match your skills with what the employer is seeking.
Detailing Educational Qualifications & Certifications
Where you trained, what you focused on, and for how long are all going to be important considerations for your prospective employer. Follow these steps:
- List your education in reverse chronological order, including your diploma from Risio.
- Include any certifications you have, like your National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certification.
- Risio Institute — Dental Assistant Distance Delivery Diploma Program, 2022
- Completed Risio Institute Orthodontic Module
- Certified Dental Assistant (RDA), National Dental Assisting Examining Board, 2022
- Highlight your highest level of education relevant to dental assisting.
- Include any continuing education courses or workshops you’ve attended.
- Make sure to note the dates of your certifications (by year).
Including Experience & Achievements
A resume should be succinct, but it should also tell the story of your development into the skilled professional you are. Here’s how to do that without turning your application into a novel:
- Use numbers and stats to demonstrate the impact of your work where possible instead of long-winded explanations.
- Include volunteer or intern experience if professional experience is limited.
- XYZ Family Dentistry, Calgary, AB — Dental Assistant, June 2021 – Present
- Assisted in over 1,500 dental procedures with a focus on restorative dentistry.
- Implemented a new patient scheduling system, reducing wait times by 20%.
- Use strong action verbs to describe your job duties and achievements.
- Include any relevant experience, even if it was unpaid.
- Keep descriptions clear and to the point, avoiding overly technical language.
Adding References & Extra-Curricular Activities
Finally, you’ll want to make sure your resume includes references who can vouch for your candidacy. Use these tips for success:
- Choose professional references—preferably people who have supervised your work in dental settings. Instructors and professional connections from your time at Risio are great examples!
- Always ask your references if you can include them on your resume.
- Only add extra-curricular activities that show skills relevant to dental assisting (such as leadership or communication).
- Carey-Ann Thurlow, PhD, MBA, RDA. CEO & Co-Founder at Risio Institute for Digital Dental Education Inc.
- Volunteer, Happy Smiles Community Dental Clinic, providing oral hygiene education to children.
- Have at least two references ready, though you don’t need to list their details on the resume.
- Include extracurricular activities that demonstrate soft skills important in a dental practice.
- Make sure each entry in this section adds value to your candidacy.
Additional Resume Best Practices
Crafting an effective resume is a critical step in your job search. Here are a few of our other recommendations:
- Keep it professional by using a clean, readable format and a standard font.
- Be concise; your resume should ideally be one page, two at the most if you have extensive experience.
- Proofread for spelling and grammatical errors, and have someone else review it.
- Always tailor your resume to each job application, emphasizing the experience and skills that are most relevant to the job description.
With these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to landing a dental assistant job that’s right for you. And if you’re interested in leveling up your dental assisting skills, sign up for our newsletter or apply to Risio now in time for our next intake!