When you’re applying to dental hygienist jobs, you want to stand out to employers so they’ll choose you over the competition. 

Using a variety of documents in a portfolio to “market” yourself can be a vital part of your job search strategy. 

Making sure you have these done and done right will set you apart from other applicants for any dental hygiene job opening.


While having a resume is a no-brainer, the formatting may not be immediately apparent. 

The best format for a dental hygiene résumé is called the functional format. This contrasts with the majority of online resumes, which use the more conventional reverse chronological structure.

Helpful hint: Pay attention to your resume format.

Both functional and reverse chronological resumes have a fairly similar opening with your name as the header, contact information, and then some kind of succinct summary. 

You may use the heading "About Me" and skillfully integrate your personal brand with the two most important qualities that employers are looking for in candidates. While you may be wondering what these are, and maybe they’re up for debate…we’d say the two most favorable qualities are the one’s listed in the job posting and asked for by the employer. So you’ll want to change this line up to match the job you’re applying for.

Resume resources:

Cover letter

Many job postings don't require a cover letter. This may lead some hygienists to feel they are not required to send one. 

However, when you don’t sent a cover letter, you’re losing a chance to briefly discuss how you understand the requirements for the position and how you meet them. 

Helpful hint: Always include a cover letter.

As an employer, I don’t ever recommend that candidates take a risk that an employer will match what they listed on their resume with what that employer is looking for. Instead, use a cover letter.

In your cover letter, be detailed and mention each qualification that was stated in the job posting.

Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to promote yourself and close with a call to action to the employer. It’s solid advice to always include a call-to-action at the end of your cover letter asking for the chance to be interviewed and providing contact information.

Cover letter resources:

Testimonial Sheet

Standing out from the crowd is what it’s all about. Sharing what others have said about you can really provide an employer with a keen sense of who you are while helping your application stand out.

You may consider including testimonials on your resume. This might be one or two sentences that a manager or dental owner has shared about you. Or it may be a few brief quotes from coworkers or patients you have worked with over the years. 

Helpful hint: Ask for permission before using a testimonial.

A testimonial sheet gives you a neat and straightforward approach to share what people are saying about you and presents it in a way that makes it quick and simple for a potential employer to scan.

Awards and Certifications

Certifications are often listed on your resume. However, if you want to showcase your awards, skills, or achievements, you may consider sharing these as separate documents with your job application. 

Including copies of your awards or certificates may help your application stand out. Some organizations offer online badges that allow you to display your achievements. You may also want to include certifications on your LinkedIn profile.

Helpful hint: Keep a copy of your certifications on file and have a way that awards can be verified.

Certifications resources:

Chris Lewandowski

Published July 25, 2023

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