I visited the British Dental Association, based in Wimpole Street recently, for an afternoon with my Dental Foundation Training scheme. Before going, I did wonder what the visit to the BDA would entail. The afternoon was comprehensive and we left with broader awareness on what becoming a BDA member offers to young dentists.
Advice when applying for jobs
One of the major advantages of being a BDA member is the services they offer. The BDA can help you when applying for associate jobs. As a foundation dentist, you won't necessarily have a significant amount to add to your CV, so your enthusiasm should stand out through your cover letter. Writing your CV and making yourself stand out with your cover letter is extremely important in securing your first job post-foundation training.
The BDA have a number of advice sheets, with example CVs available online to guide you in the right direction. You can also ask other dentists to read through your applications before you submit them. They will have written or read successful applications before, making their advice invaluable. Furthermore, this advice is not limited to newly-qualified dentists but to all its members, so you can use this service throughout your career and whilst you are a BDA member.
Help with choosing the right job
The next thought is what do you do once you receive a job offer? How do you know if you should go ahead with signing an associate job contract? Being a newly-qualified dentist myself, the prospect of reading a contract, and making a decision accordingly, could leave me feeling a little out of my depth.
This is where the BDA comes in. You can email your contract to the BDA and they will read it over and highlight areas you may want to query. Again, there are also numerous related advice sheets online, from a quick guide to working as an associate, to leaving a practice.
British Dental Association Library
We also had a tour of the BDA Library, a facility I should've taken advantage of while studying for end of year exams and finals throughout my time at university. The library boasts a huge collection of books, magazines and articles packs on a wide range of topics which can be put together for you on request, on a chosen topic. This actually makes it the most comprehensive dental library in all of Europe!
What's more, you need not worry if you aren't based in London – they will post whatever you need to you free of charge and you can loan it for a month. You can also renew these items if no one else has requested after the month is up.
Young Dentists Groups can grow your network
The BDA also supports young dentists through their regional branches called Young Dentists Groups. They have branches all over the country that hold events on informative topics and provide a perfect platform to meet other dentists, network and learn at the same time. Why not join your local branch and attend their next event?
Building your contact list is a sure way to excel in your career by helping you keep informed about potential job opportunities.
My visit to the BDA made me realise what it has to offer me as a young dentist and how I can make the most of my membership. I would advise students and young dentists to have a look online and see how the BDA can help you get ahead in your career.