In this second installment, Danette Ocegueda, RDH, MS, Western Region manager of Professional Education for Philips Oral Healthcare, offers guidance on how to break into the corporate side of the profession. Read her first post here.
Now that you know more about what a corporate position entails, here are a few questions to ask yourself as you weigh the options.
Do I have enough experience? It cannot be understated the importance of clinical experience as corporations typically require a minimum of 3 years to 5 years of experience.
What do I want to do? Know who you are, your skill sets, your motivations for seeking a corporate position, what you would like to or not do on a daily basis. What do you want to do as a corporate representative? Do you want to be a product specialist, clinical educator, or sales manager? Pinpoint that specific title or position.
Is it the right time to make a change/transition? Timing is key. Ask yourself if now is the time to step away from your current position into a role that could mean more travel. Know what the job requires—you may have family obligations that prevent you from being flexible or able to travel. I believe that when the time is right, it works out. If you set your sights on a corporate representative role, know that experience may be required.
New graduates do not be discouraged, see each experience as an opportunity to grow and learn. You can always apply for a position and let the recruiter or hiring manager decide if you are a good fit or not. The worst-case scenario is that you may not be offered an interview or the position. Who knows, you just might get the position. If not, perhaps you were able to gain some interview practice and further knowledge that can be applied to the next opportunity that comes along.
When you are ready to land that corporate position, take these steps to find the role for you.
Find a mentor or shadow a corporate representative. Reach out to others via networking sites or job boards. Find a mentor within your professional networks or organizations. Perhaps, even ask a corporate representative to interview him or her or shadow him or her for a day/week.
Network. I cannot stress this point enough. Talk and collaborate with like-minded individuals. Most alternative opportunities come from word of mouth; surround yourself with a large network of professionals within your community, the greater dental community, and your professional organizations. The power of networking does work. Let others know you may be interested in a position in the corporate world. This is precisely how I acquired my current position.
Prepare, prepare, prepare. Think like a potential employer. You can never be too prepared to apply, interview, and perform the duties of the position you desire.
Dental hygienists possess skills corporations desire in a prospective candidate like the ability to handle multiple tasks, meet timelines, and work well independently and within cross-functional teams. If you decide that a job in corporate America is for you, follow the yellow brick road. Gain experience and increase your knowledge. Know yourself, identify when the time is right, discover some mentors and build a network along the journey, and find your home in the corporate world.