How to Spring Clean Your Career as a Dental Professional

By Julie Morris, Life and Career Coach

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to stop with your house. While your banishing dust bunnies from your home, consider giving your dental career a little organizational attention as well. Take a look at your professional life, think about what you would like to do differently, then develop a plan to refresh your career this year. Whether it’s making a career change or aiming higher in your field, these tips can help you organize your professional life and focus on your goals.

Consider a Career Change

Dental career paths can go in a number of directions. If you’re not thrilled about the work you’re doing right now, start thinking about jobs you would enjoy more. According to the American Dental Association, many dentists and dental hygienists find employment in non-clinical settings such as education, marketing, public health and research. Finding a career in one of these fields gives dental professionals an opportunity to use their valuable skills in a different way.

Rework Your Resume

Before you start job hunting, take the time to revamp your resume. Career Builder reports that nearly 40 percent of hiring managers spend less than 60 seconds looking at a resume. You’ve got to make your first impression quickly! When written and organized properly, a resume will help highlight your best features. A functional resume is best for people who have employment gaps, several past jobs, or no work experience in the field they’re applying to. Functional resumes put your skills and expertise on display instead of listing your work history by date. For dental professionals who are switching careers, this is essential.

Manage Your Online Reputation

Online reputation management is another important part of making yourself look exceptional to hiring managers. Hate websites or scam alerts can be extremely damaging to your future career prospects and business endeavors. Many times, these kinds of online reputation attacks are illegal. If you can prove the information they’re spreading is false, consider taking legal action. A skilled legal professional and online analysis team can help you find information on your attackers so that you can begin the process of having this content removed.

Even if your online reputation hasn’t been attacked, it won’t hurt to clean up your online presence. It’s easy for employers to discover how you conduct yourself in your social and professional life. Do a simple Google search of your name. What comes up? Delete anything questionable from your social media, including posts about controversial topics, like politics or religion. Finally, polish up your LinkedIn profile to emphasize your professional expertise.

Grow Your Network

While you already have a professional network, finding new networking contacts can speed up your career change and open up new opportunities. Stay in touch with your old network, though. These people offer motivating encouragement and may have connections with contacts that can help you out. Then, seek out experienced professionals in your desired career. Connect with recruiters, media, academics, and industry analysts. Branching out your network may help you land a job you would not have found otherwise.

Identify Gaps in Your Skills

It’s never too late to go back to school. While your dental training may carry over into your new industry, improving your skill set can expand your opportunities. This is true even if your desired job doesn’t require any special qualifications. Every professional will benefit from learning some key skills — public speaking, management, negotiation, research and critical thinking skills can boost any career.

You can take some classes at night or online while you continue to work your current job. Identify areas where you could improve and look into classes that can help you out. Classes in business writing, communication, electronic marketing, software, programming and entrepreneurship are all excellent options.

Even if you’re not switching careers at the moment, these tips can come in handy for organizing your current professional life. Keep your resume up to date, be careful about what you post online, grow your professional network and continue learning new skills. Cleaning up your career will keep you focused on your bigger goals and help you identify areas where you can make improvements.

Julie Morris is a life and career coach. More information can be found on her website at juliemorris.org.

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