How to Create an Impressive Dental Assistant Resume

If you’re interested in a career as a dental assistant it is important for you to do what you can do to stand out from the pack. There will be others who, right out of school, will go about trying to apply for the same jobs you’re interested in. With this kind of competition, you need to elevate your resume above the others. Unless you have extensive experience inside a dental office, you will have the same kind of base knowledge as everyone else. To stand out, you must do what you can to push your resume forward to the top of the call-back sheet. Thankfully, it isn’t all that challenging to do this. If you take time to think about your resume and follow our advice, you’ll have a dental assistant resume that’s beyond what everyone else has. 

What Is a Resume?

A resume is all the information you want to give to an employer. It shows the reasons you’re qualified and why the company should hire you above everyone else (or, at the very least, give you a call above all the other applicants). A resume is not wordy. It should be direct and to the point. It offers a bullet point list of your career highlights. Even if you are brand new to the professional world of working as a dental assistant, there is information you need to include that will make you more attractive to those who are hiring you. 


When applying for a dental assistant position there are specifics everyone will look for. This information needs to be readily available and easy to see. It is also important to know there is not one universal resume format. Due to this, there is some leeway in how you design and create your resume, but in reality, it is all about making it easy to read. Most resumes are not fully read at first glance. Instead, a resume is scanned. When an open job receives dozens if not hundreds of applications those who are going through the resumes don’t have time to read every single page. Instead, they scan over the information to see what is included.

As your resume will be scanned through and not read at first, you need to make sure all the key points stand out. To do this, you may need to ask others to scan your resume and find out what they took from it at first glance. This can help you determine what to change and what needs to be upgraded on future drafts of the resume.

What Are Employers Looking For?

For starters, employees want who are looking at your dental assistant resume want to know what kind of education you have. This will let them know whether you are even a candidate for the open position. This is one reason you need to make it easy to instantly identify the education you have. After the level of education, you need to include all up to date certifications you have.

employee meeting

There are a number of certifications available for a dental assistant. The more of these dental assistant certifications you have the better off you will be (and the more likely you’ll receive a callback). You’ll want to also include what kind of previous work experience you have. If you have worked in a dentist office before make sure to include this.

However, if you haven’t, include other jobs. Office jobs might prove beneficial, but the future employer wants to know if you are trustworthy and will come in every day and do your job. So including some of your previous areas of employment are important. Lastly, you’ll want to include what kind of computer proficiency you have. In some instances you’ll be asked to help with office work. This does depend on the office you’re working for and its size, but having experience in a number of different computer programs (and even certifications in these programs) can be helpful. So to stand out, include what sets you apart and will aid you in performing your job.

What Makes a Great Dental Assistant Resume?

how to write a CV

When creating a dental assistant resume there are specifics you’ll want to follow and other points of interest you need to include within the resume. This way, your dental assistant resume will show off all of your accomplishments and ensure those reading over (or scanning over) the resume see everything you want them to.


First, include your education. You want to let the job know where you received your education. You should also include the date you graduated. You don’t need to include your GPA, but if you had an exceptionally high GPA (above a 3.5) than it is something you can include, although it usually isn’t necessary. If you have other forms of education, such as a bachelor’s degree, even if it is from a different career path, include this. You never know what kind of additional education your potential employer is looking for, but any kind of higher education is beneficial, so always include it.


The next point of interest is the certifications you have. Make sure to include this near the top of your application. Include every single certification you have. There are five basic certifications you can receive from the Dental Assisting National Board. The first is the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA). The next is the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).


 If you have a CDA after an NELDA you don’t need to include the NELDA. The Certified Dental Assistant certification builds off of the NELDA and expands on what you learned, so it is all right to not include the entry-level certification. Other certifications include the Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA), the Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA) and the Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA). Make sure to include all of these certifications in your resume. If you’re using a bullet point form to show off your certifications make sure each certification has its own bullet point.

External Experience/Certifications

There is a chance you have external certifications and experience, and you’ll want to include here. If you have certifications in computer software, such as Microsoft Office, make sure to include this. The Microsoft Office suite of programs are often used in offices, including dental offices. By having certifications in these kinds of programs you’ll make yourself more attractive, especially to smaller offices.

Some small offices might want their dental assistants to be able to help out with office work when there either is an abundance of office work to get done or when they are unable to hire both a secretary and dental assistance. Here you’ll also want to include any additional jobs you’ve held. You don’t need to go too far in depth when writing about these job positions but, when it comes to your dental assistant resume, it will help to show you have worked in a professional setting before. If you speak multiple languages, this is also highly beneficial. However, don’t include your ability to speak multiple languages unless you are fluent in the secondary language. Being able to count or say a few words in Spanish does not count as being able to fluently speak it. 

There might be times where someone comes into the office and needs to communicate using a different language. In certain areas of the country, this is more likely than others. So while speaking a second language may only prove beneficial in certain areas, it is always worth including in your dental assistant resume.

Unnecessary Information


It is important to avoid fluff in your resume. The person who is reading over your resume will not spend much time on it. So you need to make a great impression in only a few seconds of read time. If you include fluff this unnecessary content takes the eyes away from what is important and may cause the reader to miss what you really want them to read. Some unnecessary information you can take out of your dental assistant resume is information connected to the certification you have. 

You don’t need to say you know how to sterilize equipment or can help with oral health exams. Your certification instantly says what you can and cannot do. The dentist knows this as does who is reading over your resume. Even if you have little in the way of experience, bump it up with what else you can do inside the office that isn’t covered by your certification. Otherwise, you’re just repeating yourself.

Final Thoughts

If you want to land a job in a dental office, you’ll need a dental assistant resume. There will probably be other individuals who are applying for the position though, so you need to make your resume stand out from the pack. The best way to do this is to know what to put into the resume without bulking it up with fluff. By avoiding the fluff and focusing on what sells you are a professional and as a dental assistant, your dental assistant resume will rise to the top.