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My New Dentist Beginner’s Guide: Finding a job

There I was, sitting on stage at my dental school graduation, with no clue what to do next. I knew that I needed to find a job but it was going to take three months before my license to become active. Three months to do anything felt like a lifetime after becoming accustom to cramming for exams in dental school.

Dr. Byrnes

Dr. Byrnes

I spent the first two months of that break recovering from dental school. With only one month to go before I was finally able to have people call me “Dr. Drew Byrnes” I found a great opportunity in a private practice. I spent the remainder of that month shadowing this dentist. I was there every day, meeting the patients and getting a feel for the office.

Then, when there was only one more week before I could treat my first patient, the dentist sent me an email explaining that he had to let me go because he found someone with more experience who he felt was a better fit. Imagine my panic when I read this news. After years of preparation, here I am on the cusp of beginning my career and I don’t even have a job lined up. Thus began the hustle.

I began looking for a job everywhere. And I mean everywhere. When I explored all of my options to find a job, I turned to the last place that I would expect to find someone looking to hire a dentist: Craigslist (half of you are going to laugh at the idea of finding a job on Craigslist but I bet all of you are going to go check it out for yourselves.)

Fast forward one year and at least five associate positions later and I now own my own private practice. In that year I got a lot of experience learning from many dentists, each with their own way of treating patients and running an office. I will be sharing some of that experience in future blog posts, but for now, I would like to share some of what I learned on my mission to find full-time employment.

If you are just starting to look for a job as a dentist, I do not recommend starting on Craigslist. Start by deciding where you want to live. Generally speaking, there can be some great opportunities to make a good living in more rural areas. In bigger cities, it can often be harder to get new patients. For me, the decision was about being close to family.

Once you decide on a location, you have another big question to answer. Do you want to work in a corporate dental office or in a private practice? I considered working in a corporate office but I knew that my long-term goal was to own a private practice. I decided that the best route for me would be the one that gives me the most experience in a private practice setting. I recommend exploring both because it’s good to keep your options open. In fact, I recommend scheduling any and all interviews that you can. You never know what might turn out to be a good fit or what may fall through last minute. Trust me, it is good to have back ups.

After you decide on a location and have a general idea of how you would like to practice, you can begin your job hunt. Start by contacting anyone that you may know in dentistry in the area that you want to practice. If you grew up there, call your dentist and ask if he or she knows anyone looking to hire an associate. Next, reach out to the supply reps for the dental supply companies in the area (Patterson, Henry Schein, Benco, etc.) These reps know all of the dentists in a given area and they often keep records of which offices are looking to hire. You should also reach out to your local dental organization. Many of them have placement services.

Once you have explored any and all options that involve actually speaking with people, turn to the Internet. Many local and state organizations have online publications that include classifieds. These will often have job listings. The ADA CareerCenter is one online resource for searching dental career opportunities or recruiting dental professionals. You could also try to search the Internet for “dental classifieds” followed by the name of your city. When all else fails, search Craigslist.

Dr. Drew Byrnes is a New Dentist Now Guest Blogger. He graduated from the University of Florida College of Dentistry in 2013. His practice, Dr. Drew Byrnes Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, can be found at 199 E. Welbourne, Ste 200, Winter Park, FL 32789, 1-407-645-4645. In his free time, he enjoys running, spending time with his wife and volunteering with his church and in his community.

27 comments

  • Very nice blog for finding dentist job. It gives brief idea for how to get dentist job with minimum time.

  • Marc E Ottenga, DDS

    Drew

    Excellent blog posting! Your honesty about your struggle to get established is refreshing. But from observing you at UFCD I knew you would make your way to a successful career in dentistry, however you define success for yourself.

    Well done!

    Dr. O

  • Stephanie McGann, DMD FAGD FICD

    Join the ADA – go to your local meetings. Like the groups on facebook and network. Nothing beats sitting in a room full of dentists in your area who might be considering an associate.

    SHM

  • Dr. Drew,
    This was a very interesting account of how to go about procuring employment in a specialized field. Your honesty and options will really help new graduates and give them some pointers. Also, it is really well written!

  • Hi, Dr. Byrnes! How are you?

    I’m glad I’ve discovered New Dentist Blog – just started my reading of its content today, for this post.

    Living and studying Dentistry here, in Brazil, may be a little bit different in some market aspects, but what I think I’ll found here will probably help a lot in my carreer decisions.

    This post was really really nice! Thank you for sharing your experiences!

    My greetings from Brazil,
    – Matheus.

  • Pingback: New Dentist Beginners Guide | Dental Assistant Jobs | Dental Jobs 2Day

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  • Great blog post! This is a great primer on how to get started in the dental space. Dr. Byrnes do you have any tools or processes you’d recommend to help with recruitment?

    Thanks so much

  • Designer Dentist

    Great article, very useful. Thank you!!

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  • DentReps.com- The Dental Jobs Site

    They have thousands of jobs available and many of them are positions for dentist! Its FREE to create a Job Seeker account and they will send you email notifications of jobs nearby!!!

  • I really impressed by reading your blog. very nice and informative. thanks again for sharing this wonderful post.
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  • Great article you have shared. Thank you very much for such a complete guide. Buying a dental practice can be one of the most important milestones in a dentist’s career. First and foremost, is the buyer purchasing the goodwill of the practice (including the patient base) or simply the physical plant. These are two very different transactions. If the goodwill is being purchased, there are many additional factors to consider. A significant part of the value of the practice, of course, arise s from its location. Nice sharing

  • What’s wrong with Craigslist? One would not expect to find professional employment on the same site you can find a painter or message therepy.
    Times are changing, after 30 yrs of practice whenever I need to hire an associate my default medium for fast response is always Craigslist. There have been many who have tried to copy what CL does but so far no one has the depth or resources. Heck, it’s only $25 and the exposure is huge.
    The other more trusted , credible site would be Dentaltown.com
    Good luck to all.

  • After reading your blog post I got to know how important it is to start well in your career and have job security. Few days back I was looking for jobs and came across comments of Dentzz Review and on the reviews the workplace has been praised a lot by employess.

  • This is a great story I’m glad it worked out for you so well, I have used craigslist for many things in the past especially finding employees. I think people overlook craigslist in the business world because it sometimes has too much spam. If you’re careful about interviewing people and meeting them in a safe place, craigslist can be a life saver.

  • Dr, Drew,
    Thank you for sharing very informative and interesting post to us.

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  • Great tips. From the other perspective our practices extensive outreach via social networks like Facebook as well on job portals like Monster. One that we have seen very effective was the local chapters of the ADA. They have local listings for jobs that we’ve seen as very helpful.

  • Great post, just what i was looking for and i am looking forward to reading your other posts soon!
    Thanks

  • This was a great read packed with information that will help a lot of people. I have to agree with you and my fellow peers on craigslist. People definitely overlook it. I know some time ago it was something like the 7th most trafficked website in the WORLD. Just like everything else though, along with the good….comes the bad. I have the app on my phone and use it for so many things. Life-saver.

  • Thank you for sharing idea…very nice and informative blog …thank you for this posting.

  • Great Idea for Startup. Thank you for Sharing.

  • Great information!!! Location, Location, Location!!! Thanks for a well written article with great content!!!

  • Hey Dr, Drew,

    Great Article, Thank you for sharing, very informative !!

  • Excellent blog posting! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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