Monthly Archives: June 2015

Humanizing your resume

Office Manager Patricia Wilson is the first line of defense at Smiles by Shields. She is the one who gets the first look at resumes and determines if they are worth passing on to her dentist, Dr. Tiffany Shields. When I spoke to Wilson this week, she had a lot of insight into choosing candidates that I hadn’t thought about before.

“Something we try to decipher is if the person has qualities that can’t be taught, like heart and ethics,” she said. “We look for someone with outside community and volunteer work. That’s usually a good indicator of someone who has heart.” With a sea of applicants all touting a high GPA and  good work experience, humanizing qualities such as compassion and empathy give candidates an edge at this Jacksonville dental practice.

being human

About five months ago, Wilson received a resume when the practice wasn’t looking to hire. “I gave it a glance and was about to toss it in the garbage when I looked all the way to the bottom and saw these two little sentences,” she said. Under the candidates work experience, she listed two jobs that were not in the medical field: server and lifeguard. For the description of her 2004-2005 serving job at LongHorn Steakhouse she wrote, “Developed my interpersonal skills at a young age by interacting and caring for the needs of every guest.” For the description of her 2002-2004 lifeguard duties she wrote, “Two seasons of intense training to protect the lives under my watch.”

“I’m a people person,” Wilson said. “I think the thing that impacted me so much is she wasn’t belittling what she was doing.” Wilson said she loved how the candidate worded the description to reflect her positive learning experiences with customer service at a young age. Not only did Wilson keep the candidate’s resume for future hiring possibilities, she called her to ask if she could send her resume to other practices she knew were hiring.

Because a key component in dental work is interacting with people, Wilson continues to look for humanizing qualities on resumes she receives. “I want to know know from this piece of paper that you’re a people person and not just a 4.0 grade point average,” she said.

Here are a few more things Wilson said she likes to see in resumes:

  • One page only – anything more is too time consuming. Too long, it’s out.
  • Bullet points – I’m a fast-paced person. I want something I can read quick.
  • No spelling, grammatical or clerical errors. If it’s got errors, I toss it.
  • If the print’s too little, it’s out.

It’s always important to get the expertise from someone who aids in the hiring process at dental practices. When you’re looking for a job, it might not be a bad idea to list your volunteer work in the Special Olympics or that time you participated in Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Dental Students: What should you do after graduation?

This blog is brought to you by annual summer graduation; the time in which college students attempt to make their way into the real world via the terrifying first job. Because May and June are the months of the traditional college graduation, I wanted to dedicate a blog to discussing what comes next for dental professionals after they complete their schooling.

Just like other medical profession, those graduating in the dentistry field—both dentists and hygienists—have options as to which path they choose. Though most dental professionals go into general dentistry and private practice, there are always other options.

According to the Voice of Dental Education, 80 percent of all dentists practice general dentistry, and 20 percent become specialists or take other dental profession avenues.

“In most states, dental school graduates are eligible to enter the practice of general dentistry immediately upon graduation. Many graduates opt for advanced education, completing advanced general dentistry, dental specialty, master’s, or Ph.D. programs,” states the website. “Traditionally, most dental graduates engage in the private practice of dentistry, but there are other options including academic dentistry, dental research, and service with the federal government.”

Dental GraduateMany of those who choose to go the academic route say the main benefit they reap is the stimulation of working with outstanding colleagues and bright young students. Those who choose to go into the research aspect of dentistry enjoy contributing to international and national healthcare improvement. And those who choose the government route join the United States Military and serve the oral health needs of military personnel and their families. Often times, the government offers scholarships and loan repayment programs for dental students and graduates who enlist.

According to the American Dental Hygienist Association, private dental offices continues to be the primary place of employment for dental hygienists, too. If you’re having some trouble landing a job, the association offers some options that are outside the box.

The ADHA’s website makes several suggestions including becoming a clinician, going into the corporate sector and becoming involved in public health. While clinicians do work in private dental practices, they could also be employed at community clinics, hospitals, university dental clinics, prison facilities, nursing homes and schools. Those who go into the corporate sector could become sales representatives, product researchers, corporate educators and corporate administrators. Public health programs are typically funded by government or nonprofit organizations and often offer an opportunity to provide care to those who otherwise would not have access to dental care. Those who choose to go into public health could work for Head Start children’s programs, local health departments, National Health Service Corps, school sealant programs, and rural or inner city community clinics.

Take a look at the websites liked in this blog. If you’re looking for a job in the dental field but can’t find one at a private practice—or don’t want to work for a private practice—these groups can give you ideas and get you started in the right direction.



Distracted Driving Is Unsafe For You AND Your Company

Likely you have heard about the dangers of distracted driving, particularly the use of electronic devices. Driving while talking on a cell phone, hand-held or hands-free, has a 4x crash risk, the same risk as driving drunk. Texting while driving is even more hazardous- a 23x crash risk. However, did you know that your employees’ use of a cell phone in the scope of their employment puts your company at risk too?

Many Courts have held an employer liable when an employee causes an accident because they were distracted by cell phone usage. It is called vicarious liability: under the respondent superior doctrine, employers are liable for the negligent acts or omissions of their employees made in the scope of their employment. Cell phones have caused employers’ liability to spike. Employers have been held liable even in situations where the vehicle being driven or the cell phone being used is not owned by the employer.

Distracted Driving Liability

An employer can face serious consequences: civil liability for personal injury or wrongful death, civil liability for property damage, punitive damages (which are not covered by insurance), loss of a licensure, OSHA penalties, insurance rate hikes (liability and Workers’ Compensation), productivity loss, and reputation damage. Companies work hard to establish a brand and reputation- one bad distracted driving accident grabbing the headlines can tarnish or totally wipe that out.

It is important for the bottom line that employers create and implement policies about cell phone usage while employees are driving.

Leslie Goller, AttorneyLeslie A. Goller,  Terrell Hogan Litigation Attorney

Hard work, attention to detail, and making a difference drive Leslie’s approach to the law. A graduate of Duke University, she received her J.D. from Washington & Lee University. Leslie has received the 2013 Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association’s Woman Lawyer of the Year Award; Environ­mental Woman of Action for the State of Florida award; the Mimi & Lee Adams Environ­mental Award, Individual category; and the 2002 Juvenile Diabetes Foundation’s Volunteer of the Year Award. She and her son enjoy adven­turous challenges, such as rafting the Colorado River and scuba diving.

Read more:

The Terrell Hogan Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign offers a complimentary presentation – For the Workforce – to educate Northeast Florida businesses, non-profits and church groups about the dangers, consequences and solutions to distracted driving.  Call (904) 722-2228 or click here to learn more.



More Information About Dental Missions Opportunities

Last week we were blown away with the response to our blog post about dental missions. We truly had no idea so many folks would express a desire to participate on a dental missions trip.  THANK YOU for reaching out to us for more information. For those who would like to know even more, we researched a list of resources for you. Some are faith-based and some are not, but it’s a great way for you to learn more about volunteering your time abroad. I’m sure there are many more opportunities than what’s listed below. You may want to also check with your local dental society, as they may know of area dentists that participate or dentists that can connect you with a local resource in this arena. Disclaimer:  I would highly recommend you research, too. Check out the organizations and speak with a few volunteers who have participated in the past.

HandsIn last week’s post I mentioned my husband went with me to Honduras. He worked with a team pouring concrete floors for several families in the village. They worked with concrete the old fashioned way –heavy labor! In addition to taking a shift with the eye doctor assisting exams, he was also assigned a four-hour shift in the dental area one afternoon. It was an eye-opener for him to watch us in action and assist us when we asked for instruments, 2X2’s and for him to collect our trays for sterilization. His main role was to keep the instruments processed, and he liked to call it “washing the dishes.” We made a memory in Honduras . . . one that will be with us a lifetime!

Jamaica Outreach, contact Roger Plante *****Generous expense reimbursement program in place.

Take a look through these websites for starters. Each website offers different missions with different goals in different places. If you really want to participate in a dental mission, find the one that is the best fit for you. Trust me, you won’t regret it.



Roll Out the Red Carpet, We’re Having Company

I don’t know about you, but when I have guests in my home I clean more than usual and roll out the red carpet. Judith Martin, Miss Manners, would be proud! I make sure introductions are done, I take their coats and bags to the guest room, I show them around the house, I offer them food and drink, I cover instructions for the TV remote controls, and I make sure they are comfortable and feeling at ease. Ahead of their arrival, I learn what foods they like and how they like to spend their spare time, offering suggestions to ensure an enjoyable visit. I have a dear friend, Patricia, who is the most gracious and thoughtful hostess; I never want to leave her house! A new hire should have the same feelings and experiences.

You’ve gone through the interview process, narrowed it to two candidates and made your final offer to the one shining star who accepted the position and starts work on Monday. You’re so overjoyed, feeling relief to have this task behind you. And without another thought, you move on to the next project at hand.

What happens to the new hire?


I liken hiring a new employee to having a guest in your home. Do you have a plan for new hire? An onboarding process? Are you making the effort to help this new hire feel welcome, comfortable and wanting to stay? reports 30% of external new hires turn over within the first two years of employment. Retention statistics from other organizations, including the society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), show that turnover can be as much as 50% in the first 18 months of employment. Your onboarding process is one key to making a successful hire.

Over the years, new hires have shared a similar story with us. Their first day on the job went something like this: “Here’s the employee lounge. Please complete this stack of hiring documents, bring them to me when you are done and I’ll direct you to your work station.” There were no introductions, no office tour . . . where’s the bathroom? They did not even hear a hello from the dentist—their employer—until half way through the day! This negative experience results in frustration for the new hire and odds are they now have one foot out the door. They will not stick around for long.

Onboarding is more than just new hire orientation — it’s a process. If you already have a plan in place, give it a good review and make improvements. If you don’t have a plan for onboarding, now is the time to create one. Below are some recommendations to help get you started.

Pre-Arrival – email hiring documents for completion, email office contacts list, assign a mentor.

Arrival – meeting with mentor, introductions to co-workers, office tour, policy and procedures manual, observation, arrange office welcome lunch.

First Week – review training, office policy and procedures.

First Month – review and clarify performance objectives and expectations.

We’re Having Company! Roll out the red carpet for new hires, welcome them with kindness, and help them to be comfortable in your dental office so much so they never want to leave!