The first step in the pursuit of your first position should be taken long before graduating optometry school. Below are suggestions provided by the AOA to help you market yourself in an appropriate and professional way.
How to promote yourself as a new doctor of optometry
Before you can market yourself to practicing doctors of optometry or other potential employers, identify exactly what you have to offer. A complete and accurate self-appraisal will help you develop your resume and more effectively present yourself. Think about your clinical skills, your interpersonal skills and your ability as a planner, leader, organizer and decision-maker. Then apply this list to your resume, cover letter and in-person interview.
How to secure a job as a new doctor of optometry by marketing your skills to optometry practices.
Resume—Your optometric resume components should include your basic personal information, highlights of qualifications, education, work experience, activities like community or philanthropic service, professional affiliations such as AOSA/AOA, honors, and awards and references. Take a second to download a sample resume.
Contacts and networking—Make a list of family members, friends, instructors, professional acquaintances and anyone else you know who might help you. Let all these people know what kind of opportunities you are seeking.
Cover letter—Your cover letter will accompany your resume when you send it to colleagues and potential employers. Keep the letter concise, simple and direct, and no longer than one page. Take a second to download a sample cover letter.
Interviewing—An interview with a potential employer is probably the most critical step. You must demonstrate in a short amount of time what kind of person you are—how you communicate and what you know. Make sure you’ve read up about the practice, are dressed appropriately and have prepared to carry the interview with questions of your own. You can also expect many open-ended questions.
Follow-up letter—Sending a follow-up letter or professional thank you note promptly after the interview demonstrates your professionalism, your attention to business etiquette and your interest in the position. If you haven’t heard from the interviewer within two weeks, you might try another follow-up. A persistent yet considerate effort on your part will demonstrate your sincerity and follow-through.
How to prepare your resume when applying to an optometry practice
You’ve spent a lifetime building the skills that go into your resume, including recently graduating from optometry school. Your resume will introduce you to people who don’t know you and aren’t familiar with your skills. Considerable time and thought, therefore, should go into its creation.
There is no right or wrong way to create a resume, but a professional resume should follow certain accepted norms. The purpose of your resume is to make colleagues and potential employers want to meet you as a young doctor of optometry. The AOA provides its member
with tips for resume writing:
- Write your own resume or write a draft and work with a professional to improve it.
- Be honest, concise, descriptive and specific.
- List the most important items and skills first.
- Use action verbs, powerful adjectives and adverbs.
- Try to keep your resume to one, letter-sized page.
- Use capitalization, underlining, italics and bold print to highlight information.
- Tailor your resume to the opportunity.
- Update your resume as often as necessary.
- Print your resume on good-quality, white paper stock. Do not use color.
Take a second to download a sample resume.
How to create your cover letter as a young doctor of optometry
Cover letters can create or deter opportunities for interviews, which is an important step as a young doctor of optometry. The AOA offers some tips on how to compile the ideal cover letter for a doctor.
Carefully structure your cover letter. The first paragraph should state the reason for your letter, the specific position or type of work you desire and where you learned of the opportunity. In the second paragraph, indicate why you are interested in the position and what you can offer. Point out your unique qualifications and the details of your educational or professional background that pertain specifically to this position.
In the third paragraph, refer the reader to your resume or any other application materials you are submitting. Use the fourth or final paragraph to request a personal interview, emphasizing your flexibility as to the time and place. Repeat your phone number and help in providing any additional information. Close the letter with a statement that encourages a response.
Take a second to download a sample cover letter.
MyEyeDr.’s paraoptometric staff will have access to a trove of AOA educational resources through its education and professional development hub, EyeLearn.
The AOA 2021 Virtual Learning Livecast, Oct. 1-2, offers over a dozen courses specifically geared toward integrated, doctor-paraoptometric education. But registration closes Monday, Sept. 27.