Successful dental office managers are dedicated to their field, excel in independent as well as team-oriented roles, and take pride in their responsibility to guide the daily operations of dental practices. On the surface it may seem that all dental office managers fulfill similar roles and not much can be done to differentiate one resume from another, but that’s simply not the case. All dental office managers are not alike, and it’s critical to keep this in mind when crafting your resume – yes, the standard skills and required qualifications you have will most likely match others, but your resume can and should be much more than a listing of your administrative abilities and previous employers. Regardless of your experience level, follow these tips to write a strong, interview-winning document that effectively highlights your unique offerings.
Before we get into the individual sections of a resume, here are a few general rules to keep in mind:
Title, Summary & Key Skills
Every resume must include a title, summary, and key skills section at the top of the first page. This is where you introduce yourself as the perfect candidate for the job and compel the hiring manager to read the rest of your resume.
Simply put, title your resume “Dental Office Manager.” The title of your resume replaces the outdated objective statement, so instead of starting the document with “Seeking a rewarding Dental Office Manager position,” title your resume with the position you are best suited to fill followed by supporting details in your summary and core competencies sections.
Your summary paragraph should be no longer than 3–5 sentences, and it needs to effectively tout your experience level, areas of expertise, and notable soft skills. For example:
Highly versatile, personable, and detail-oriented professional with diverse experience in the dental field and dedication to efficiency, quality, and productivity. Demonstrated strengths in accounting, insurance claims processing, and staff training/supervision. Consistently exceed expectations in high-pressure, fast-paced environments and deliver strong and sustainable gains in performance, productivity, and profitability. Sound understanding of oral care procedures combined with excellent customer service skills.
Following your summary, list 10–15 industry-specific buzzwords (no more than 3 lines) to supplement those already mentioned in your summary paragraph. This section is specifically designed to aid the resume in getting past applicant tracking system (ATS) screenings. The ATS will scan the entire resume for keywords, but it’s advantageous to create a separate section dedicated to key skills to ensure all bases are covered. Plus, this section is a concise, visually appealing display of your core competencies that will also impress the human reader. Here are a few dental office manager buzzwords to consider including in your resume:
Business Development & Administration
Billing & Collections
Staff Training & Supervision
Accounts Payable & Receivable (AP/AR)
Insurance Processing & Verification
Great sources for which keywords to include are job postings. Before applying to a position, it’s a good idea to review the ad carefully to ensure your listed proficiencies match their required qualifications as closely as possible. Below is a job posting for a dental office manager with the potential buzzwords and/or key phrases highlighted:
“Seeking a front desk / office manager to work in and manage our office. Full understanding of all aspects of the dental business required including, but not limited to: , , , , , , , , , and skills.”
Here is where resumes will differ depending upon your specific career history and current objective. In a traditional chronological resume, positions are presented in reverse-chronological order with a brief paragraph outlining day-to-day duties followed by bulleted achievements/major contributions. This resume format works best for individuals with steady work histories and a career target that closely aligns with their current or most recent roles. However, this format can be problematic for some dental office managers.
For example, if you have worked for more than 7 dental offices over the past 15 years, repeating those day-to-day job duties over and over again in a chronological resume will work against you. It becomes impossible to avoid repeating terms and phrases. This makes it difficult to keep the reader’s interest, and you’ll likely end up with a 4+ page resume.
Instead, consider using the functional resume format. Your career history is still listed in reverse-chronological order, but only your job title, employer name and location, and start and end years are included. Your notable career accomplishments are summarized in a bulleted section strategically placed right after your summary paragraph and list of key skills. This section – titled Professional Highlights, Key Achievements, Select Accomplishments, or Value Offered, for example – enables you to showcase your unique experience without being overly repetitive. Areas of expertise can also be expanded upon in this section if there isn’t enough room to tout them in your summary paragraph.
Suppose the chronological format is the right choice, but you have numerous accomplishments to tout. This is a great problem to have, and the hybrid resume format is the answer. This “best of both worlds” strategy includes a Professional Highlights, Key Achievements, Select Accomplishments, or Value Offered section with bulleted achievements as well as a detailed Professional Experience section. The hybrid format allows you to showcase your “greatest hits” on the first page of the document and place notable accomplishments from earlier in your career in a more prominent position on the resume.
Attention career changers: if you have a prior career in a field unrelated to dental care, think carefully before deciding to leave it off of your resume entirely. Are there any transferrable skills worth mentioning – such as customer service, accounting, sales and marketing, team leadership, program management, or new system implementation, for example – that might benefit you in your dental office manager career? If so, mention your previous positions in a separate section toward the end of your document. Be sure to keep this section as brief as possible and don’t let it outshine the details that really matter to your current audience.
Often the most difficult part of a resume to write but the most important, achievements are the details that will help you stand out against other applicants. All successful dental office managers have the same core traits, so your resume needs to convince the hiring manager to interview you and not the next candidate. To identify your quantifiable achievements, you have to ask yourself, “How did this help the practice? What did this accomplishment produce?” For example:
This is great, but it’s a pretty vague statement. What were the direct results of your efforts?
See the difference?
Education, Training, Computer Skills & Affiliations
List all degrees obtained with the school name and location. Only include your graduation year if the degree was achieved in the last 5 years. You can also mention honors, awards, and scholarships in this section.
When it comes to training, there is no need to include every continuing education course you’ve completed. Stick to what’s relevant and recent. There is no reason to mention a course you completed 20 years ago on a specific software program that is no longer in use.
For most administrative positions, computer skills carry a lot of weight on the resume. Most offices use a certain type of software, so if you are familiar with that program that will immediately make you a more attractive candidate than someone who would need additional training.
Memberships in professional organizations have the potential to distinguish you from the competition and make the hiring manager bring you in for an interview. For instance, if you are a member of a group that could help the dental practice through industry connections or continuing education opportunities, your affiliation will work in your favor and could take your resume from the “maybe” pile to the “yes” pile.
Depending upon your background, additional sections to include on your resume could be presentations and publications, awards, volunteerism/community activities, and licensure/certifications. As mentioned earlier, a prior career in another field could be covered toward the end of your resume to tout transferrable skills.
To view resume samples created by the iHire team for professionals in the dental industry, visit the iHireDental Resume Services page.