The demand for dental hygienists in Canada is good, however, the Canadian job market is very competitive, so be prepared and understand each of the steps needed to gain employment. As well, finding a job in Canada may be very different than in your home country.
You must look for jobs in the region where you will settle. Therefore, take your time to research job requirements in that region and develop a plan for finding work.
There are many ways through which you can search for jobs in the dental sector:
- Broaden your search and include alternative careers and sectors.
- Seek out a mentor in the dental sector – for example, a retired dental hygienist – who would give you valuable insight and advice and probably introduce you to their professional network.
- Join business related job-finding or networking clubs through immigrant-serving agencies.
- Attend industry job fairs and regularly check the employment sections of your local newspapers.
- Some colleges or associations may maintain a job bank or suggest a commercial job site.
Immigrant settlement agencies
Most settlement agencies and other immigrant-serving organizations offer help with finding job vacancies, updating your resume, writing cover letters, preparing for interviews and understanding what Canadian employers are looking for.
Click the link to find immigrant services in your area.
Most probably, the first impression potential employers will have of you will be through your resume. It is your chance to market yourself and shine. Having said that, it is important to include in your resume only the details that are important to the position you are applying for.
Here are a few tips to get your resume noticed by employers:
Very briefly explain what you are looking for and what you have to offer. The position you are applying for is for dental hygiene so be brief and specific.
For example, don’t just say that you are seeking full time employment at a great dental office, but “I am looking forward to being part of a dynamic pediatric dental team”. As all think they are great, you need to be specific and tailor each resume you send for that specific specialty.
Mention the name of dental hygiene program you have completed, year of graduation, and license obtained. If you have completed specific courses that you took which fits some of the particular requirements of the dental practice, list them.
If you have been working in the dental hygienist field, emphasizing your experience will be to your advantage. Therefore, list your experience first, right after your objective.
Probably, the dentist will assume that since you are a dental hygienist, you will be proficient in all areas of dental hygiene practice. However, this is your chance to list your qualifications and make yourself stand out! You don’t need to use lengthy paragraphs to describe everything that you know how to do; bullet points would be great to use and easy to read.
If you have special skills that you gained while attending your dental hygienist program, list them in this section. Again, gear these skills to those that will be valued by the targeted dental practice.
List as well specific technologies with which you have worked, such as digital X-ray equipment, etc., as well any awards or honors you have received (even as a student) to show that you are hardworking and want to excel.
Although most dental hygienists work in dental practices, their job duties and work requirements may not be necessarily the same.
Take some time to investigate the dental practices in which you want to work. This way you will increase your chances of being hired by one of them, as you would be able to better target your resume to the exact job requirements of a specific practice.
Use the internet, make a direct phone calls or have informational interviews and try to get information about the practice, such as the location and size of the practice, the specialty of the dentist and even specific dental techniques that the practice offers the patients. Some of the questions you can ask include:
- The exact job descriptions of their dental hygienists
- Their hiring requirements for their dental hygienists (i.e. education, training, experience level)
- The approximate number of patients
- The ratio of patient groups (i.e. children, elderly, men, woman, etc.) in this dental practice.
The answers to these questions will help you to decide if you would like to work there — and how you should write your resume to fit that particular dental office. Naturally, some practices may not want to give this information over the phone — in that case, wait until your job interview to ask your questions.
Though it is impossible to prepare for every single question they may throw at you during the job interview, it is helpful to get prepared and review some of the most likely ones. Of course, there will always be those surprise questions that some interviewers ask like “if you were an animal, what would you be?”
• why should we hire you (what makes you right for the position)
• what are your strengths
• what are your weaknesses (do not say that you have none)
• previous job experience
• what are your salary expectations (do research to know what is average for your area and your experience level in Canada)
• what questions do you have (always be prepared with at least 2-3 questions)
• what are your short term and long term goals, etc.
They may also ask for you to describe a specific example of a time that you had to overcome something or take initiative to solve a problem.
Ask good questions
• How many active patients does the practice have?
• What is the estimated overhead cost for hygiene per hour?
• How much treatment time is allotted for hygiene patients?
During your first interview, avoid asking immediately about salary and benefits, do not speak badly about previous employers that you have had, do not set unrealistic expectations, and don’t say that you have no questions.
An informational interview is a brief (20–30-minute) meeting that you schedule with a person who is currently working in the dental hygiene field and your target geographic location to learn more about the sector.
You should not try to get a job during an informational interview but rather find out whether or not a particular position or industry might be a good fit for your interests and your personality. An informational interview with a contact from your network can be an excellent source of career information because, in addition to basic information about a particular type of industry (such as you might find on an organization’s website), it also offers you the benefit of a professional’s first-hand experiences and impressions.
Networking is an essential tool that may give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular firm or industry, and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network. As many job vacancies are not advertised, you must make connections with practicing physiotherapists and others in your field.
Good places to network are gatherings such as conferences, association luncheons, and industry get-togethers for the convenience in meeting people, building relationships, and sharing information.
LinkedIn is another important professional tool for networking. It is great for reconnecting with your ex-colleagues and employers, search by company or jobs, and get introductions and recommendations. You can also join some related professional groups.
But remember, that you have to allow time to cultivate and grow the ties you establish through networking. Nothing will happen overnight and you need to be patient.