What to look for and how to find the best employer as a young Dentist in The UK

You’re a young, vibrant, ambitious, and upcoming Dentist who is going to take the dental field by storm. Perhaps, you have even committed to memory the order in which your life and career path have to align for you to be right on schedule precisely. Whether you are just wrapping up your fellowship or residency at a reputable dental school, or have now graduated after an onslaught of late-night study sessions, strenuous examinations, heaps of coursework that you’ve now submitted, and five years’ worth of knowledge and dedication you have put into achieving this goal – in which case, congratulations are in order!

While you can give yourself a relieving minute to celebrate, you are once again faced with the daunting question that has followed you since almost halfway through your foundational training. The stuttering voice at the back of your head quizzing you on what you want to do next! Now that the initial euphoria of graduating has worn off and the thrill of escaping the clutches of university stressors has quickly made a beeline for the door, the thought of leaving the safety net of foundational training becomes increasingly terrifying. 

This paralysing fear, however spine-chilling, is very normal. 

The key to job-hunting

It is a time for stubborn optimism. With implications that the demanding and highly saturated job market has condemned the recruits to a world of job-hunting that is increasingly invincible and exponentially packed. What we have learned, however, is that with the current opportunities popping up one a dozen in a day, the rewards come to those dental professionals who are willing to chase them.

For most, job-searching may be an entirely new can of worms that needs uncapping sooner than you’d like. For others, you may be intently listening for the clarion call of better opportunities to finetune your ever-polished resume. 

But this is your reality now.

Here you are sifting through piles of employment ads, opening up innumerable tabs of websites for good dental recruiters, and every-so-often refreshing Facebook pages for promising dental clinics. It can be overwhelming to start a new career, but with billions of flyers now in the arms of millions of new graduates, it is heralding an entirely new era of job-searching. So how do you go about finding the perfect job for you in a dental job climate that is strikingly volatile? The answer may be simpler than you thought.

But for you to succeed, it is equally important for the employer to be reputable and fair. Hence, an outstanding employer can bring out the best in your dental capabilities, while at the same time paving the way for your new rewarding and successful career. The first step to finding a good employer is to get noticed. Let’s see what you can do to increase your chances of landing the job of your dreams.

How to find the best employer?

Truth be told, finding the job that fits your range is a talk about pure semantics. When you are handed your dental degree, you’re bound by a selection of clinical and technical skills that prepare you for an on-the-field work vocation. Some degrees even allow you the chance to intercalate, which involves spending a year studying for another healthcare subject between your second and third year of studies.

Many dental students may opt for a more secure and derivative dental career as an NHS dentist. Others may want to venture solo to give their private dental practitioner dreams a worthy chance. Today, many dental professionals are rerouting their career paths into private sectors all around the UK. Concerning the number of registered individual dental practitioners, it is reported that at least 2,500 of the UK’s 35,000 dentists are private (holding no restrictions on charges). This number has only been seeing a steep increase.

You will find opportunities to be recruited by employers in all walks of dental life – national and global health charities, private hospitals, universities and research organisations, and even the armed forces. To appeal to the vast major of prime dental recruiters and help you advance in the first stages of your career, here are a few tips.

Build your portfolio

The laborious task of job-hunting is as analogous as it gets. The first thing you’d most importantly do is to start a clinical portfolio that includes anything from the clinical cases you have done or researched, papers you have written or published, audits, prizes, and so on. Being able to show a potential employer what you can achieve clinically as a professional can be a crucial step to landing you the title of “star employee” even before you get the job. Show off any accomplishments you have made in the field – big or small! It isn’t the time to be modest! Be pompous!

Clinical photography

Have you heard of the phrase, “A picture is with a thousand words”? This appears to be daringly true when you search for a job that fits your palate. Consider investing in a clinical camera and kit. Start taking pictures of all your clinical cases that you can add to your portfolio. Not only can these pictures help you strengthen your credentials but also will help with treatment planning of complex cases, the ones that will require multidisciplinary consultations and guidance. It will also help create satisfying before and after pictures for your patients. Nothing that talks louder than pictures!

Network! Network! Network!

The adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” maybe a reckoning realisation for your career. Unfortunately, most dental CVs do not make it to the pages of dental recruitment websites, which means that since you’ll most likely not be on the radar of many of the big dental practices that you would be a great addition to, you’ll not be able to get the job. To meet potential future employers, the best thing you can do is put yourself out there. This includes going to conferences, attending regional meetings, joining associations such as the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD), and above all, talking to as many people as you can. 

Networking forms the crux of many job-related queasinesses. If you’ve had any experience working out of the field through your residency, put that to your full advantage. Ask around within your network to see if the Dentists, dental associates, or other dental personnel you know are aware of any dental positions or openings available near you. Use the power of ‘word of mouth’ to meet your future employers.

Update your CV

As a dental professional, your degree equips you with not only your subject-specific skills but also other transferable skills that are valued both in and outside of the realm of dentistry. A good CV can speak volumes when it comes to showcasing your competency to your prospective employers. As a young dentist, you may consistently be working to hone your technical dental skills as you treat patients most acceptably. However, while you focus on your clinical dexterity, make sure you do not have tunnel vision.

Instead, other skills that you have gained while dealing with patients or handling the dental chores around the office can garner you a good reputation. These can include:

  • Administrative and management skills to run a dental practice
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills to make clinical decisions
  • Multitasking to juggle multiple tasks at the same time
  • Communication skills to be able to work and lead a multi-skilled team efficiently

Identify your wants and needs

Set a clear picture of what your dream job looks like. This is when you need to analyse your interests and the type of job your personality and talents would be appropriate for. No one likes a haphazard and disorganized employee, not to mention not many misbegotten ideologies receive praise and not a job for a respectable dental practice. Ask yourself what you need and how you are going to achieve your goals. Are you a team player? If yes, you may thrive well in a stressful environment. Align your needs and wants to what you want your job to be.

Choose a right practice model

In alignment with your goals, you need to figure out the design of the dental practice you’d be suitable for. Do you want the freedom of working as a solitary dental practitioner with the flexibility of hiring your staff, taking time off when you require, or purchasing the latest equipment you desire? Or perhaps, you’d like to work under someone ad receive extra guidance, thus also ridding you of additional responsibilities like maintaining the inventory or abiding by and keeping track of OSHA and HIPPA. These are things you need to seriously consider before you scope out your dream dental employer.

Find a target

Now that you have laid out the assortments of goals and objectives you’re planning to reach and decided on the type of practice you’d like to work for, it is time to lock in on a target. Look for a dental practice that you can see yourself working for. When you find a dental practice that appears to check all the requirements in your checklist, remember to do your due diligence. Research the dental practice extensively by talking to other trusted professionals. Contact everyone you know and trust about the practice. Put your snooping glasses to the test and gather as much Intel as you can before you make your move.

Keep learning

What you’ll quickly learn is that the five years of dental school are only the beginning of your long and never-ending quest for knowledge. You must maximise your learning and improve your clinical and interpersonal skills as you explore more options for your career.  Continuing dental education is one way you can stay on top of industry changes. For this reason, you may find that looking for a job that supports continuing education may be your best bet. As erudite an individual as you are currently, you’d also have to keep the same enthusiasm for your future. Boost your career by furthering your education, be it through webinars or online degrees.

A job is not a dead-end

Amidst all the cacophony of job-searching and the frustrations that come along with it, it is important to ground yourself and remember that everything that you have experienced till now has been responsible for your personal and professional growth so far. Remember that every job you’ve had has led you one step close to your dream job. So, why stop now? With all the experiences under your belt and a positive mindset, you’ll have no problem catapulting your career to great lengths.

Finally, it is important to remember that you do not need stratospheric IQ scores or spun-out CVs to find a career that is rewarding and fulfilling at the same time. Whatever may be the case – whether you’re new to the dental sector and are urgently trying to leverage your skills to launch a fulfilling career for yourself, or perhaps you have worked long hours and years in a dental clinic and believe that you would be more successful in a more challenging setting, any of these reasons have brought you to this point. By following these simple steps, you can win the lottery to incredible dental career opportunities by a country mile!  Why not kick-start your career with Dental Partners.  Dental Partners are committed to creating the Best Place to Work which in turn leads to the best patient care.  Dental Partners have become the Best Place to Work by finding the best talent, empowering Dentists and creating great teams.  At Dental Partners it’s our commitment to be the best place to work that sets us apart. We can only do this by engaging, empowering and creating great teams which results in improvements in the quality of life by offering our patients great care and choice, whether it’s NHS or private dentistry.  If you like the sound of Dental Partners please contact our dedicated talent team [email protected]