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Polished Dental CVs that Work

Aspen Dental

Date: March 9, 2018

Your curriculum vitae (CV) provides a summary of your education, experience, and skills to potential employer dentists, postgraduate admissions, and residency programs. Ultimately, you want the reader to know why you are the right candidate for the position they are looking to fill.

In today’s competitive market, it is important to customize your CV each time you submit it. Your CV needs to be tailored to the position for which you are applying. It must highlight the specific skills and qualifications you have that most closely relate to the position (e.g., educational training and academic success, clinical skills, and experience). One size does not fit all. You should not apply for a variety of positions and programs using the same CV. Make sure to keep a copy of each CV you submit, along with a description of the position and where you sent it. You need to know what you sent to a potential employer dentist or program so that when you get called for an interview, you know exactly what is on file.   

Preparing A Curriculum Vitae   

There are some other basic rules for writing a CV.   


How you present yourself in your CV does count. In composing your draft, be sure to select a font, spacing, and layout that is easy to read. Avoid small, fancy, and “cute” fonts that do not look professional. Fonts suggested for use when drafting your resume include Arial, Georgia, Impact, Courier, Lucinda, Tahoma, or Trebuchet.   

Automated systems are being used by more hiring companies to help weed out unqualified applicants as well as to minimize the workload of reviewing hundreds of resumes. It is imperative to tailor each resume with keywords. Results-based accomplishments are even stronger if you can quantify them with successful numbers.   


While a CV often contains more information than a resume, it should still be concise. You want to include only the important accomplishments or details. “Longer” does not equate to “better.” The exception would be if it is a pharmaceutical or similar company that requires extensive clinical trial and research experience. However, it should still run no longer than three pages in this case. Hiring managers spend about 6 to 10 seconds skimming the first page of your resume. Make sure there is something actionable there to pique their interest.  


Contact information should include name, phone number, and e-mail address. If you use a personal e-mail address, it needs to sound professional and is best if it includes your name so that an interviewer will associate it with you. Avoid “cutesy” addresses like “” or Especially if applying for an associateship, your listed goals or brief professional bio should align with the position. Your education should start with most recent school or program first. Include graduation date and degree(s) or expected graduation date, if applicable. You should include any schools where you took courses but were not necessarily in a degree program. Postgraduate training should convey the “where,” “what,” and “when.” Include any honors, internships, or other special awards that you received. Include licenses, such as Intravenous sedation or Medicaid credentials. Work experience should be in reverse chronological order. Highlight your biggest accomplishments and quantify results when possible (e.g., increased number of patients serviced per day by 10%; improved patient satisfaction based on surveys).  

Additional Content 

A list will suffice for continuing education courses and professional associations/memberships. You do not have to provide detail. Honors and awards/ class rank such as research publications and presentations should highlight the most current or include dates of the publications. Include other skills such as languages you speak or relevant skills you possess and community service. Additional activities or interests should share information about hobbies or areas of interest outside of dentistry. Include references, if possible. It is beneficial to give names and contact information. 

Review Your Draft 

It is imperative that you review your spelling and grammar for clarity and correctness. A Word document “spellcheck” feature will NOT catch words that are spelled correctly but are in the wrong context (e.g., there versus their). You should have a second person proofread important documents. You tend to see what it should say. Another reader will see what it does say.  


Composing your CV is important for your future and a milestone in your journey into dentistry. Give thought to the principles mentioned here and you’ll be well on your way to the next step in your dental career. Most importantly, you will increase your odds of moving to the next steps in the interview process and ultimately, fulfilling your professional goal. Most importantly, start your job search early to give yourself the best opportunity for success. With these tips and an enthusiastic outlook, you will have an incredible journey transitioning from dental student to dentist after graduation! 

Important Points to Remember 

Concise CVs 
CVs contain more information than a resume, but should still be brief. It should be well-formatted and easy-to-read.  

Be sure to review your CV for too much information or any errors present.  

Specific Cover Letter 
Prepare a cover letter to go along with your CV that is tailored to the position to highlight why you are the appropriate candidate for the job.  

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