Let’s face it–finding a job as a dentist can be a weighty task, even in good economic times. Not only are you looking for the right location and a competitive earning potential, but trying to find a position that matches your clinical and managerial/leadership philosophies, too (have a look at 30 interview question for finding the right fit here).
First things first–where do you find out what jobs are available? This step, in and of itself, can be a challenge. The paths new practitioners take for finding their first gig are highly varied, and some of the best opportunities out there seems to also be some of the best-kept secrets.
Having completed my own job search, here are the best sources I’ve discovered for finding your best opportunity:
1) Practice placement service. These individuals/companies are 100% focused on playing matchmaker for practices and associates alike. Some of my favorites including Edge Dental Recruiting (their newest team member Alana is awesome!), Paragon, and Transdent (run by Mercer Advisors).
2) Web search. Sites adminstered by placement services, as well as sites like Tyson Steele Practice Marketplace offer postings above and beyond that of a Monster or CareerBuilder (which are great places to find corporate or military opportunities).
3) Local and state dental societies. Making connections with local and state leaders in organized dentistry can be key. They hold a large network of relationships and contacts with dentists in the area and are typical up-to-date on who’s looking in their area. Dental societies may also offer a page on their site with job opportunities.
4) Your parent. No explanation needed.
5) Placement services from school. A growing trends in dental school is a placement advisor who scouts opportunities for new grads. Get in touch with your university to see if such a person exists at your school.
But here’s the issue…everyone out there is likely looking here, too. Everyone is listening to the “Greatest Hits” on Side A, but not everyone bothers to flip the tape over. I believe some of the best opportunities can be found on Side B. Here are some of the “deeper cuts”:
6) Dental labs. Not only do labs have regular communication with a variety of labs, but they may also be able to give a discreet nudge toward practices that have a good reputation for high-quality work. It’s in their best interest to help you out…and earn a customer for life.
7) Accountants. I met an accountant by way of new dentist offerings I found online through a local dental lab. He is well-verse in job opportunities in the area, and already has a good sense of what various practices are all about, and perhaps even something about the financial health of a practice (without breaking confidentiality, of course). Not to mention, an accountant who pairs you up with an existing client will gladly welcome your future business.
8) Study Club leaders. Here’s one that gets overlooked all the time. Find the presidents of study clubs in the area and have lunch! The study club is also the social circle for area dentists. If someone is on the lookout for an associate, what do you think they’re talking about between dinner and the evening’s presentation?
9) Instructors/Mentors. Many professors from school also operate a private practice outside of their academic career. They may have a position to offer themselves, or could direct you to others. Naturally, they are excellent resources for those looking for a career in academics.
10) Dental supply houses. Call up the Patterson and Schein rep for the area you’re looking. These sales reps are in and out of various practices on a weekly basis and have up-to-date info on opportunities. Many dentists begin their own search for an associate with their supply house representative.