Monthly Archives: May 2015

How To Deal With Resume Gaps

After being planted for a few months, my husband and I are already getting that itch to move on. Jim spent many years working seasonally as an archaeologist for the National Park Service in different parts of the country, so it was easy for him to not get stuck somewhere for a while. After four years of being settled in Alaska for my career, we decided the seasonal archaeology life is a good idea. We would only realistically be in the same place for about six months at a time, and I wouldn’t be able to get work as a full-time reporter. But I don’t intend to give up that profession for good, and that’s the reason I’m telling this story.

If we spend a few years on the road allowing Jim to further his career, I will have a gap in my relevant employment experience that I will have to explain to future employers. I know this is a common issue with a lot of people in the work force today. Sometimes the gaps reflect a wanted change: taking a few years to raise a child or taking a year to further your education or taking six months to travel. But sometimes the gaps reflect an unwanted change: getting laid off and not being able to find a job, or having a medical issue that prevents you from working. Whatever the case is, we all have to answer for the gaps.

the-employment-gapIn doing research for this particular resume question, I’ve found that it’s better to be upfront and honest about the gaps if they are large periods of time. If your resume shows you were out of work for six month or longer, this might be a concern to potential employer. But, luckily, there are ways you can put a positive spin on a larger-than-normal period of time out of work. If you took time off to further your education, say that. Name the courses you took and what you learned that you hadn’t known before. If you were traveling, share your travels. Tell potential employers what you learned about people or dentistry on your extended journey. If you were out of work because you couldn’t find a job, show potential employees how you kept up with changing trends and practices in the dentistry field.

According to a Monster.com career advice article, short gaps might not be too noticeable if you eliminate months from your traditional resume. Monster.com writer Kim Issacs also recommends using the objective statement (or cover letter) to summarize your goal as well as your top qualification. “This will draw attention to your selling points and downplay your work chronology,” she wrote.

If you’ve taken an extended amount of time off to raise family, help a sick family member or further your education, Isaacs said you should never be apologetic. “There’s nothing wrong with being out of work for whatever reason, and a negative attitude might affect your resume’s quality,” she said.

If you’re currently out of work and have been for longer than six months, there are things you could be doing to ensure positivity is linked to this gap. Further your education. Take courses and attend conferences if you can. You can also try to volunteer within your profession — perhaps at an office or at a dental school. You never know what might turn into a job in the future if you get your foot in the door.

 

Is Social Media Keeping You From Getting Hired?

So you’ve submitted your resume, filled out an application and received confirmation you’re being considered for the position you want. Though it may seem like the work is over, it’s not entirely true.

Never forget that we live in a digital, online era — a time in which we can let thousands of people know exactly what we’re doing at any given moment with the touch of a screen. I know it might seem fun to upload those photos of you and your girlfriends taken at ladies night when you a drink in each hand, but if you’re on the job hunt, think twice about what you allow people to see.

According to a 2014 CareerBuilder survey, the number of employers turning to social media when considering a job applicant is increasing. According to a post on its website, “CareerBuilder found that 51 percent of employers who research job candidates on social media said they’ve found content that caused them to not hire the candidate, up from 43 percent (in 2013) and 34 percent in 2012.”

Listed below are the reasons hiring managers and company owners give for passing up a candidate.

You're Not Hired

The top five reasons are:

  1. Job candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information

  2. Job candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs

  3. Job candidate had poor communication skills

  4. Job candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion etc.

  5. Job candidate lied about qualifications

A prime example of a boss doing a little digging on potential employees (or in this case, an already hired employee) occurred in February. According to a USA Today article, a woman by the Twitter handle of @Cellla was fired from her job at Texas pizza restaurant Jett’s Pizza before she even started. The night before her first day on the job, @Cellla tweeted, “Ew I start this (expletive) job tomorrow.” The next day, before she had the chance to go in, her boss responded to her tweet with, “And…no you don’t start that job today! I just fired you! Good luck with your no money, no job life!”

The first thing I always do when deciding on a summer intern for my newspaper is Google the candidates. I look at their Facebooks, Twitters, Instagrams, articles posted online — whatever I can find. Once a company employs you, you become a representation of that company. Hiring managers and dental practice owners will not want to hire someone they don’t believe adequately portrays their practice’s mission. And I for one would not like to Google my dentist or dental hygienist and find photos of them posted on social media at 3 a.m. partying at a bar the night before they worked on my mouth.

Make your online presence presentable. I always live by the “can children see this?” rule. Because I worked with middle school aged children in my last job (and yes, almost all of them had either a Facebook or an Instagram), I would not post anything on social media that wasn’t acceptable for a ten-year-old kid to see.

If you feel as if you might need a little social media revamp, go fix it immediately. Get rid of those posts bashing your old boss and coworkers; get rid of those drunken photos you posted when you were downtown last week; get rid of the cursing in your statuses and tweets. Always present yourself as someone you would want to hire.

 

 

Where Does Your Smile Rank on The Smile Meter?

Let’s face it, we’re in the smile business.

Not only do we help people feel good inside and out, we help them look good, too. It’s the greatest reward watching JOY spill over patients’ faces when they take that first look in the mirror, or when tears of relief express gratitude for taking their pain away. We love what we do, and at the end of the day, we take stock in knowing we played an integral role in the end result. I remember like it was yesterday the first time I held a patients hand during treatment and gave them a kind word and reassuring smile. I took my job seriously. It was at that very moment I found my calling.

Over the years, I have interviewed many a job candidate and have developed what I call the Smile Meter test. I count how many times a candidate smiles during the interview. You can present with all the technical hard skills of your profession, but if you don’t smile and reflect your soft skills, many times you will be passed over for the job.

the-smile-factor

Why? Because we work in dentistry and smiling is important. Employers want to see and feel your compassion, care and concern. With your smile, the elderly patient who is hesitant is reassured, and the child who is scared takes comfort in your reassuring expression. The patient who is about to sit down for treatment wants someone with them who cares, has compassion and understanding — when you smile, you become that person.

The phone rings and it’s a new patient, do they hear your “welcome to our practice” smile? Your co-worker may need a gentle nudge, a lift of spirits — your genuine smile will turn a frown upside down. I believe our smile is the gift we give others; the gift that keeps on giving.

5 ways your SMILE is powerful

  1. Your smile shows gratitude. Seek the opportunity and smile often.
  2. Your smile triggers a power emotion and will help you better deal with stress or pain.
  3. Be polite and flash your genuine smile, not a half-hearted one. People can tell the difference.
  4. Smiling makes you attractive. Your smile is an invitation and will strengthen your relationship.
  5. Keep your smile healthy. Treat it with the care and love it deserves.

When hiring managers interview a candidate who makes the Smile Meter go off the chart, they take the interview to the next level and know nine times out of 10 they’ve got a winner!

 

 

Out of Work? Let’s Play Ball

“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” – Babe Ruth

Full-time jobs are in decline for both men and women in the United States. I recently read an article in the New York Times about what an out-of-work experience looks like. Did you know there are key differences in in those experiences between men and women? According to the article, nonworking women are more likely be engaged in volunteering, caring for family and exercising; whereas nonworking men are more likely to read, watch TV and surf the internet.

Play BallI have compassion for the dental professionals who call me seeking employment. I hear the desperation in their voice, taste the salt in their tears and know they are feeling low with a lack of confidence. I get real with them: This is temporary. You have to get up, get in the game, and swing.

I enjoy helping job seekers come up with a plan and turn their negatives into positives. Remember — you are in control. You make it happen. Your phone is not going to magically ring with a job offer. You’re not going to get a homerun if you never swing the bat. Sometimes searching for employment can be overwhelming and daunting, so you put it off until tomorrow. Don’t wait — create a plan to find a job.

What does a Dental Temps job-seeker plan look like? It begins in the morning when you put your first foot on the floor. Get up, and get dressed like you are going to work. What you look like on the outside helps restore and build you up on the inside. It helps keep you focused and work with intention and purpose. Your hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lunch is from noon to 1 p.m. Get the picture? If you get in the proper physical and mental state, you will find you are more energized and prepared to kill it with that first impression. Whether it be a phone interview or face to face interview, you’ll knock it out of the park!

Let’s play ball:

Dental Temps 3 Tips to Simplify and Organize Your Job Search

PREPARE

Write down your job goals, job fit, create a resume and cover letter, work on your personal branding across all social media.

SEEK

Apply; Follow-Up; Network across job board; connect with recruiters, dental sales reps, local dental society, study clubs, professional associations, etc.

CLOSE

Interview, Follow-Up, Negotiation, Orientation

Remember each day is a new one. You have a fresh, new start when your feet hit the floor every morning. Dress and go to work at your kitchen table, and follow your job search plan. You may be out of work, but you have a full time job – now let’s play ball!

 

Does Your Confidence Show At The Job Interview?

“I have confidence in sunshine
I have confidence in rain
I have confidence that spring will come again
Besides what you see I have confidence in me!”

I have Confidence, lyrics from The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music is my favorite movie. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s about a young Austrian woman studying to become a nun in 1938 Salzburg. The nun-in-training, Maria, is sent to the estate of a retired naval officer and widower to be governess to his seven children. After bringing love and music into the lives of the family through kindness and patience, she marries the officer, and together with the children, they find a way to survive the loss of their homeland through courage and faith.

Photo Credit / The Sound of Music

Photo Credit / The Sound of Music

I have watched this movie over and over through the years, and each time I take away a nuggets of wisdom seen in a new light. One thing that particularly strikes me is when Maria is sent away from the Abby to become a governess to the von Trapp children. She has never done this job before. But as she really thinks about it, she searches her skills and realizes she has what it takes. She sings “I Have Confidence” as she leaves the Abby, headed down the path of the unknown. Talk about stepping into a new job with confidence! Maria takes this to heart, holds her head up high, stands tall with her shoulders back, steps with intention and with determination, and looks forward. She believes in herself!

Do you believe in YOU? Confidence is a feeling or belief that you have what it takes to get something done, and get it done right. Dental office employers look for candidates who perform their tasks with confidence. After all, the dental team has their patients’ dental health and wellbeing in their hands. Patients look to you for expertise. If you don’t have confidence, the patient will know it, feel it and question it.

As basic as this may seem, if you’re not aware, confidence is the first to go when you are nervous heading into a job interview. So take a deep breath, sing Maria’s song “I Have Confidence” in your head and follow these tips below to make that first impression.

Dental Temps Top 3 Interview Tips to Help Your Confidence Shine

  1. During a phone interview: you’ll want to be in a quiet, private location. Stand up and smile while you are speaking to the hiring manager. Pause before answering, a bit of dead air on the phone shows you put thought into your answers. Even via a telephone conversation, your confidence will shine through.

  2. Walking into the interview: walk tall, shoulders back and with intention. Hold your head up, making eye contact with interviewer. Lean in and extend your hand first for the handshake. Introduce yourself.

  3. We work in dentistry – SMILE at the interview! Show off those teeth!

Maria’s song of confidence helps me all the time. I always sing it in my head right before I’m about to speak to a large crowd or make a presentation. I picture myself as Maria, swinging my guitar and stepping toward a great, new opportunity. The visual of me as a very positive, Austrian nun-in-training not only makes me smile, but it gives me the confidence I need to accomplish what I want.

It only takes three seconds for that first impression. You want to show confidence, as that’s one key trait dental office employers are looking for!