Resume Writing Tips

Ann-Marie DePalma, RDH, MEd, FAADH

RDH Temps, Inc. Interviewer

General Guidelines

The old saying, "you never get a second chance to make a good first impression" holds true for your resume. Your resume is what creates interest in you and gets you into the interview process for that perfect job. What does your resume say about you - are you confident or weak, professional or sloppy? This article will review some of the important points to remember when preparing your resume.

Neatness counts! No matter how you say it, the resumes that appear on crisp ivory or white paper with no folds or wrinkles are the ones that will get the look. A resume that comes to an employer that is crinkled or smudged is not going to even get a second glance. The candidate may be the "best" person for the job, but the appearance of the resume will turn off the employer. If a candidate does not take the time to invest in preparing the resume, the employer is apt to question the employee's work ethic.

Organize the layout of your resume to express your strengths and talents and make you stand out from the crowd. However, don't get "fancy" with hard to read fonts or cute icons. Choose one style font and stick with it throughout the resume. Print only on one side of the page. Use 1" margins on 8.5 x 11 inch paper with a maximum of 2 pages. Use proper spelling, punctuation and grammar (even with spell check, visually check everything or have another person review for errors). Some employers feel that if a candidate does not get the details right on a resume, it is likely that she/he is will miss important details in the workplace.

Your resume is your introduction to the employer. It should be concise but relevant with information regarding your education, clinical skills, certifications, employment experiences and professional associations. It should also state an objective, what you are looking for in an employer and position. If this is your first professional experience from school, list any accomplishments and activities you participated as a student. Include extramural rotation experiences if they were part of your program. You can also include information about your values, motivation, character and willingness to be a part of a team. Other than contact information (home address, phone, cell and email written in bold font) you do not need to include information about marital status or other personal information. When listing contact information, use a permanent address, record a greeting on your cell or home answering machine that is professional and use a professional looking email address. Dentistry is a profession and dental employers are looking for members who present a professional appearance in all that they do.

Resumes in the digital world. In today's world, many employers rely on digital hiring practices. A resume may be scanned and emailed to a potential employer. A hiring reviewer may never even see the original piece of paper the resume was written on. The candidate can ensure a "clean" copy is sent to any employer by emailing the original computer file to the potential employer. Additionally, email provides an excellent format to send a "thank you for the opportunity" message. A thank you message or note can set you apart for other candidates. Digital resumes are often scanned for keywords, so if you possess particular skills, specialties or experience, include various terms throughout the resume that an employer may search for.

A resume must be truthful and present an accurate representation of you and your skills and abilities. There have been numerous cases over the last several years of high level figures that "embellished" their resumes to obtain positions, when in fact they had little experience. If you do not have a lot of experience in a clinical setting, offset that by adding information about volunteer positions that you have held that show you have a variety of skills and talents that would benefit an employer. But do not lie about experiences that you do not have.

Include a statement about references , either specific names or references available upon request. If you list specific references, make sure you have contacted the reference prior to placing their names on a resume. No one likes to be taken aback by a prospective employer looking to a reference and the reference not knowing they have been listed. It is common courtesy to inform your references that you are seeking a good word from them.

A resume is a sales tool - you are selling yourself to get the job you desire. Make it work for you by presenting yourself in the best possible light. If you have any questions about resume writing or would like a review of your resume contact any one of the RDH Temps employees and we will gladly assist you.

Resume Writing Specifics

Resume Formatting

Sample Format


Results-oriented professional with strong organizational skills seeking dental assistant career opportunity with progressive, quality oriented dental practice.


Experienced and energetic Dental Assistant. Select strengths encompass:


Sunny Smiles, Tampa, FL 2010 - Present

Dental Assistant

Common Mistakes, Dos & Don'ts

More articles on this subject: