How to Create a Killer Portfolio so that Principals Will Beg You To Work for Them – IC041

Are you a final year dental student or a recent graduate looking to kickstart your career as an associate dentist? In our latest episode we sat down with Dr. James Murray, a passionate foundation dentist who shares his recent insights and experiences on how to land a job as an associate dentist.

Dr. Murray understands the challenges that come with transitioning from dental school to real world practice. He discusses the importance of building a strong portfolio and reflecting on your work to overcome imposter syndrome – embrace the learning process, seek feedback, and use every situation as an opportunity for growth.

But what’s the best way to showcase your skills and make a lasting impression on potential employers? Dr. Murray reveals his secret weapon: an online portfolio accompanied by a thoughtful cover email. In this episode we also delve into tips for approaching dental practices that align with your values and interests.

Struggle with taking clinical photos? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Dr. Murray and Jaz provide helpful advice for improving your photography skills. So, if you’re ready to take the next step towards a fulfilling career, tune in to our podcast and unlock the secrets to securing your dream job!

Access premium clinical videos by Jaz and gain CPD for Podcast episodes via the Protrusive.app

Watch IC041 on Youtube

Need to Read it? Check out the Full Episode Transcript below!

Highlights of the episode:

03:14 Dr. James Murray
04:02 Dental school experience
06:22 Imposter syndrome
08:02 Curriculum vitae
09:09 Covering emails
11:01 Do the research
11:30 Portfolios
14:14 Having the right attitude
19:37 How to make your portfolio
20:45 Photography in dentistry
23:52 Photography tips and tricks
26:30 Resources for photography
27:56 Advice to new graduates
31:22 Just-in-time learning

If you enjoyed this episode, you may also like Young Dentist Thrival Guide – First Few Years.

Click below for full episode transcript:

Jaz's Introduction: This episode is one of two being published this week, all about the topic of career development, your first few years after qualifying, making an awesome CV and portfolio, and the most important things you should focus on as a new graduate. So think of this as a new graduate week, two episodes this week.

This episode is aimed at any student, any newly qualified dentist. Or someone who’s just ready for a career change, i.e. either you’re applying for your first ever role as an associate dentist perhaps or you’ve been stuck somewhere for a while and you want to broaden your horizons and elevate your dentistry and so now you need to start thinking about a portfolio.

Back in the day dentists would hire other dentists by a handshake. Then things evolved into curriculum vitaes or CVs. Of course, there’s always a place for a cover letter in an email, for example, to complement your CV, but nowadays it’s all about the PORTFOLIO. Portfolios are a great way to show that you are a caring, reflective practitioner, and they really help you to stand out against the competition.

I’m joined by a newly qualified dentist, James Murray. Who’s going to give us a guide about what it takes to make a decent portfolio. Not because he’s the most amazing portfolio in the world, but he’s been in this space. He’s been thinking about this a lot because he’s in exactly the right stage of his career, newly qualified and has been very proactively.

I’ve been very impressed with young man, very proactively building his portfolio, which helped him to get his associate position. Hello Protruserati, I’m Jaz Gulati and welcome back to the Protrusive Dental Podcast. This is an interference cast, which is like a non-clinical interruption. The themes covered in this episode are the portfolio, but everything that goes into the portfolio, what kind of stuff should you put inside there?

What kind of photography should we be taking? And lots of photography tips in here. And it gives you a good insight into the challenges of being a newly qualified dentist. One thing we do talk about in this episode is COMMUNITY. And if you want to join a community, we have one on Facebook called the Protrusive Dental Community or on the app, protrusive.app. Once you’re a Protrusive member, you can access our secret telegram group. Let’s join the main episode with James and I’ll catch you in the outro.

Main Episode:
James Murray, welcome to the Protrusive Dental Podcast. How are you, my friend?

Yeah, really good. Had quite a quiet day today. A little bit of exercise. A little bit of work, a little bit of preparation for the podcast actually does just making sure making sure I can get all of my experience portfolios and deliver it in a way that, as you say, it’s quite tangible.

Amazing. I love the use of the word. I appreciate it. Well, I could have got someone on, James, who was 15 years qualified. Right. But the problem here is the problem with that, James, is that when you get someone who’s 15 years qualified and we start talking about CVs and portfolios, they’re like, what are you talking about?

I haven’t had to make one for like 12 years. Right. So they’re completely out of the loop. So who better than someone who’s like really, really thought about it? Because when you’re in the position where you’re just out of dental school. And you’re in your training year and then you’re having to have almost like a pressure to think about the next step and then you’re thinking about it and then nowadays with the world of social media, we’re seeing where everyone else is up to.

We’re thinking, okay, I’ve got to get ahead of the curve and therefore, there used to be a back in the day, there weren’t no CVs necessary. You just shake hands on it. Then CVs became a thing in dentistry. Then it became two pages and more then the cover letters. Then now we’re going to talk about is the portfolios.

Now, before we dive deep into that, James, just tell our good friends, our listeners a little bit about yourself in terms of where you qualified and what got you interested to talk about this kind of topic, which I’m sure is going to be very useful to anyone who’s thinking about applying for a job.

Yeah, so currently a foundation dentist. I’m working up north in the Newcastle region at the moment. Currently I’ve been applied specifically if you know the area, and yeah, graduated in Newcastle Uni in 2022 and always had a keen interest in restorative dentistry and actually delivering just the best care and the best quality of care that I can.

And once I graduated, I found out quite quickly that one of the ways to do that was through taking photos and developing a portfolio, reflecting on my work. So that’s how I sort of came about trying to focus my work and focus this year on developing myself.

Yeah, well, James, every time I have a fresh graduate on the show, I like to, if you don’t mind, I just like to ask about the current state of affairs of dental school in terms of totals, right?

When I say totals, like how many procedures do you get done now? Right? So famously certain dental schools during my time, this was 10 years ago, would qualify with very few extractions. That was like a thing. I’m not going to say the name of the dental school. That was very low on extractions.

It’s not mine. It’s not yours either. So don’t worry. But certain dental schools have the requirements of just doing six canals or something like that before you can qualify, et cetera, et cetera. Now, you we’re kind of part of the COVID year, but I’m thinking the COVID was kind of like, didn’t disrupt your clinical so much because your clinical was probably more towards 2021, 2022, but you can correct me. What were the totals and requirements like, and how much experience do you think you got or didn’t get?

Specific numbers. I would-

[Jaz] Rough guide.

Rough guide. I would probably say there was about 70 extractions, 50, 60 fillings, and maybe four crowns, four endos. So, to be perfectly honest, going out of dental school, I didn’t feel like I had the most experience, and my third year, which was the COVID year, was disrupted.

Currently in dental school, the look of the draw with patients, if you get a patient where they have absolutely loads, they have no time commitments, and you can call them in when you have a cancellation, that’s great. But for me, I didn’t until about end of fourth year, middle of fourth year, start of fifth year, really. So getting those numbers was a big stress.

Huge. And the issue is, even when I was qualifying, I think I must have done like 12 crowns. And even then that was that kind of average, I think it wasn’t that much. And one thing I remember actually, James, is being really stressed or anxious about even qualifying first few years is, and tell me if you can relate to this, is breaking contact, i.e. if you’re doing crown prep and the interproximals try and break it without touching the adjacent tooth, distal of the upper molar, that was extremely stressful. It took me years to not have an escalated heart rate when I was doing that bit. Now, when you speak to experienced dentists, like, what are you talking about? Cause they forget, right? Is that still a thing? Do you have that as well?

Oh, I have that. I would say on every procedure, no matter how simple it is. Even this year, you can do every procedure you can in an hour and a half, do that in 20 minutes. And there is that imposter syndrome in your FD year and in dental school.

There’s always going to be someone better than you, someone quicker. I worry on a daily basis thinking, is there a dentist who could do this job better than me? And the way that I’ve tried to reframe that, is by taking my photos taking my developing my portfolio and actually asking for advice from these dentists rather than being fearful or jealous or anxious about what they might think of the procedure that I’ve done. And I think that really helped set me up on the right path.

Yeah. And any student listening, really, really key advice there. And I would say it’s extremely steep learning curve when you’re at dental school. And even just, especially in the year, last year that you’ve had basically in the big bad world, trying to do a lot of things still for the first time and first few times.

And the advice I want to give to you, James is not even advice, the reflection I want to pass on to you is I admire the fact that you feel nerves. I admire the fact that you worry because, the dentist I’ve seen in my career so far that I’ve worked with who were same level of experience with me or less, whatever, that didn’t have the fear.

They were reckless and they just didn’t care about the patient. It’s very few, thankfully very few. Right. So what you’re saying is, I think it’s completely normal and just shows that you are caring and you want to the best possible. So that will serve you well. Keep that up. That’s amazing.

So let’s go into portfolios, which is the main thing. And the first question I want to ask you is CVs, cover letters, portfolios, 2023. What kind of stuff are you and your cohort of colleagues preparing? What do all these things look like as a snapshot for your generation?

So I think their previous thoughts were to write a CV, write down all your postgraduate qualifications. Write down all of your experience and things you’ve done outside of dentistry as well. However, coming out of FD and my cohort have very little postgraduate training. So when it came to it, I was very resistant to do a CV to be perfectly honest. I felt like it was a waste of time because the first thing is what would it actually achieve?

And then highlight to the principal that I haven’t done those qualifications. And the second thing is that would it make me stand out? And the answer to both of those was NO. So the two things that I currently do or did do when I was applying for jobs was write a cover and email. And at the end of that cover and email, have a small link to my online portfolio that the practice principal could quite easily access. And that’s just how I’ve done it and there’s no right or wrong way to do that, that’s what I’m currently doing at the moment.

And just to help someone maybe in your position in years from now, what kind of, some people get confused, I don’t know what to include in the cover letter. Can you give us a flavor of what, because you’ve thought about this a lot, you’ve done it a few times now.

What kind of thing do you think is important to include in a cover letter? And is this to a cold practice, i.e., you don’t know the principal there, you don’t know anyone there, you’re just like, okay, you like this look of the practice, or was it a warm practice?

So, I think you can apply the same principles to every cover email, depending on whether you’ve had a recommendation to go there, whether you’ve seen it as an advert on Facebook.

I don’t think that matters. The key principles to me in a cover letter, especially from the perspective of a foundation dentist, is willingness for mentorship, willingness to learn. And I think being humble and being open about where your weaknesses are as well. So just to really give you a flavor of a few of those things and how that might look in a cover and email.

I think the first thing would be one of the phrases that I use is, I’m just a foundation dentist and although I may not have the postgraduate qualifications and experiences that you may require. I do have the willingness to learn and the willingness to develop. And I would say that’s definitely something that I would include in my cover and email.

I think having a look at the website. But yeah, having a look at the website before you apply for the job. So that you know what the practice principal can offer you. But also the practice principal is the right type of person for you? Does he have the same interest and if you do share interest highlight that on the cover and email so I would say that That’s definitely one of the things that I would include.

Well, I’m hoping that the Protruserati are cut above the average, right? And they’re very intelligent people. But now and again, we get colleagues who may send an email that reads a bit like this. Dear Principal, there’s no personal touch. You should know who the… They should know their name, right? Little basic things.

And when I look at, I get lots of emails and stuff from people who want podcast. Like, Dear Host, or whatever. Dear Host of Protrusive. Piss off, right? Come on. There needs to be some sort of personal touch to it, right? So, that’s just basics, but I guess that is to, that is a hook for them to be like, okay, this seems like a genuine person.

Let me now look at the portfolio. And I do think that the portfolio really is where you get to shine. Not necessarily because you’re an awesome dentist and you got all this cases, but a reflection, which we’ll come to. So. What did you use to build a portfolio? And what does a portfolio look like? How many pages is it?

I mean, I’ve seen some portfolios because people email me their portfolios to check and whatnot. Please don’t see this as a license. Everyone to email me your portfolios. I’m already swamped, but to see what some of the ones I saw absolutely brilliant, but what they were is they were almost brochures, like 28 pages. I mean, very luxurious, very fancy. Does it have to be that way? Give us a flavor of that.

Well, I can only speak from my experience and currently I’ve only seen my own portfolio. My portfolio is currently 12 cases long. I’m a foundation dentist as well. So my cases that I’m presenting are not complex.

They’re a simple adhesive onlay. They’re a direct composite, they’re a distal composite. I have a wide variety of things that I planned at the start of the year that I wanted to include. And I think when compiling a portfolio, you have to be asking yourself the question, what do I want to show the practice principal in this case?

Is it a new matrix technique that you’ve learned? Is it the anatomy used following the Style Italiano Anatomy Guide? Is it improvement from one case to another? So, actually in my case, and I think it’s case 3 and 4, in mine that I’ve compiled, showing the improvement of my anatomy on a premolar. Something that I really struggled with, and it’s not the hardest thing to do.

And I just printed off the Style Italiano guides and reflected upon that. I think it doesn’t matter how many cases a portfolio has. For me, it’s just about having a portfolio. It shows the practice principal willingness to learn. Willingness to develop. And I think ultimately it shows that you’re caring for your patient.

I think that the best principles that I know, most forward thinking, they have been often the ones that hire young blood with less experience because what they do is they hire for attitude, right? And really you just need to be good enough. You don’t need to be like, at your stage, you don’t need to be like all this singing, dancing, doing veneers and stuff.

It’s unlikely. It’s just dangerous, I’d say, right? You need to show that you’re a safe practitioner. And make your attitude shine across and that attitude comes from the reflection. Just like you said, I think a really great way to do it is here’s a premolar from the start of my year. Here’s a premolar from six months later.

Here are the areas I focused on and I was so pleased that I managed to do it. I’ve got a little bit more to do, obviously. I’m not the finished product. But what you get with me is someone who keeps trying and wanting to do the best I can. And maybe a couple of radiographs showing the nice seal that you can make as well.

Might add some good value. And I think if a principal sees that, they say, yeah, this person, A, tries B, reflects and tries to improve and C, they’re good enough. Their clinical dentistry is good enough. Now I want to invite them to interview to see if I like this person or not. What do you think to that?

Occlusion is just so confusing. Does occlusion even matter? Wait, don’t you just grind away all the blue marks, right? You mean like plant it low? Let it grow or leave it high and let them cry. Listen, what are these interferences even interfering with? Is it safe to lengthen teeth? How much can I raise my patient’s bite?

How can you stop your composite restorations from chipping? Can you raise the OVD on a patient with clicking TMJs? Is canine guidance always better than group function? Why can’t I just use the DAHL technique and all my wear case? Can I stop my patients from grinding? What the bloody hell is crossover?

What should the occlusion look like after orthodontics? How and why do you check for fremitus? What on earth is a custom incisal guide table? How do you use a leaf gauge? Do you always need to use a face bow? Does everyone really need a perfect occlusion? What is the difference between edge wear and pathway wear?

Is it naughty to adjust the opposing tooth? What the f*** is centric relation? Occlusion is coming. One does not simply just open the bite. May the force of mitigation be with you.

If you want to do a deep dive 30 plus hours into occlusion online, just like in this format, but actually individual videos, lessons that are five minutes long, 20 minutes long, a few odd half an hour lessons, and lots of clinical videos and case walkthroughs, then check out occlusion.online. It’s Occlusion Basics and Beyond online course with me and Mahmoud.

If you are looking to take the next step in learning occlusion, that’s going to make your restorative dentistry predictable.

Yeah, there was one thing that a practice principal actually said to me that really stood out. They said that skills can be learned, but your attitude is very difficult to change.

So if you’re going in with the attitude that as a foundation dentist going into associate year, you are brilliant, you can do your composite veneers, you know your anatomy, you can do your root canals in 30 minutes, for example. I think it’s just unrealistic and it shows that you’ve got the wrong attitudes because there’s always someone better than you and there’s always something you can learn from that person.

And I don’t think any practice principal wants a dentist who isn’t willing to take advice and suggestions because it’s just a recipe for disaster. Well, that’s definitely what I’ve found anyway.

Agreed. And the hard skills dentistry, as a long career, it can all be learned, but a big thing that principals think about when they’re hiring is, will this individual fit into my team? Will my patients like this individual? Do I want to see this individual every single day? Do I want to conversate with them? Will they get along with my nurses? Because all it takes, right, is one bad apple to completely ruin the taste of the entire practice. I’ve seen it done, usually it could be a new nurse, it could be a new dentist, whatever, and completely mess the dynamic of the practice.

So yes, they want someone who’s good enough and that’s what your portfolio shows. When they see you at the interview, they look in the eye and and you show your human side. That’s what’s going to show them that, you know what, this person is a nice, caring individual. They’re enthusiastic. It’s good to have a pulse, right? It’s good to have some enthusiasm. And they think, yeah, this person is going to fit into my team.

I would completely agree with that. And I think it’s really important, not only for the practice principal to know that you’re a good fit for them, but that you’re a good fit for that practice. And making sure that your ethos really matches that they’re willing to invest in materials.

They’re willing to invest in matrix bands, clamps, to give the best to their patients. And if that’s not the case, I think in my position, I would have been considering whether I’m the right person for there, and whether I can provide the best dentistry that I can to my patients. And I think that’s always something really important to have in mind.

What did you use, James, to actually make the portfolio? Like, do you use Keynote, use, Google Docs? Just give us a flavor. Some people like, technology. They, it’s a hurdle for them. Just give us a flavor of what you used.

Yeah. So I actually asked for advice from a few dentists who are on Instagram. I chatted with dentists like Chris O’Connor, ones that I really respected. And the advice that they gave me was a website called canva.com. It’s a really simple software to use. You can drag and drop your images. You can reorder your boxes. It has lovely set templates. I don’t think it particularly matters what template you use, how it looks.

You can do it however you want. But what I would say is that just choose a software that you feel comfortable with using. But I do find Canva really useful.

Agreed. Canva is an absolutely brilliant tool. We use it for Protrusive as well. Thumbnails, artwork, that kind of stuff. It is fantastic and doesn’t have to be all this really, really pretty thing. It just needs to make it clear and easy to read and easy to follow for the person who’s reading it. And I mean, in terms of populating it with the photos, here’s an interesting one for you.

Like a lot of dentists I know still don’t take photos, they go through their career that without taking photos. Obviously no one wants to read a portfolio as an essay like, Hey, I wanted a composite and I thought I actually well, and I produced a good result without any photos. That’s BS, right? So, what kind of photos are you taking? Are you taking intraorals? Are you taking DSLR? And tell us about your journey into photography.

So journey into photography, I had absolutely no. journey to start with. I started never being able to use a camera, getting all photographer in Newcastle University, take all my photos, my final spaces. But when I started, we had a brilliant study day and it was recommending and while just chatting about the sentence and the best thing that I did and the best thing that I can advise for any foundation dentist would be to buy their own camera and the settings get changed on your practice one in your foundation

year, the settings got changed. The batteries on charge, the memory cards full photos get lost what was getting needed.

And when you need it and when you need the camera, it’s in use or you can’t find it. And what it is when you’re ready to take a photo, it has to be there ready set up and ready to go. You never own a camera in dental practice, in a case, you don’t have to, if you have to actually assemble your lens to the body every time you use a camera, it’s not going to work beyond one day of your practicing career. So great advice there, James. Have it or have your own one. Have it ready to use.

Yeah, and that would actually say, well, I plan on a Sunday, all of my patient that I have. I look through my diary for the week and I think especially it’s important as a foundation dentist to maybe do a little bit of research before seeing that patient. You haven’t done a fiber post before, but ultimately I use it to identify those patients where I’ve got a little bit of type.

I’ve booked out that hour and a half or that hour for a nice composite. And I know my camera’s going to be settled. I know my accessories. I bought the Focus Flex accessory kit from Minesh Patel’s website just with a little buccal mirror to take my intraoral shot for the camera. And I know you mentioned what photos do I actually take?

The photos I primarily take are completely dependent on what I’m trying to highlight in my portfolio. So if I’m trying to highlight a matrix technique or it’s a posterior, I’ll be using the buccal mirror and I’ll be taking an in the mouth before shot, photo with rubber damp, photo with the cavity prepared, a fill in. So the photo with the filling under rubber dam and then the photo in the mouth without rubber dam and that’s my treatment sequence. Now if I wanted to highlight something else, maybe it’s a new wedging technique that might be something that I want to take a photo of and highlight in my portfolio in addition and some of my cases have two photos. Some of them have ten and it doesn’t matter.

Agreed. And when you started to take photos, I think one advice I give to everyone is make sure whichever nurse is supporting you, you just get them in on it. Hey I’m a dentist who likes to take photos and therefore, let’s make sure the mirrors are warm to prevent-, prevent them steaming up, have some retractors.

Like you said, so, so important, dentists have cameras and then they like have these horrible rubber, not rubber, the plastic retractors which don’t allow that from the mirror to go in so you can’t take an occlusal one. So you need one that she’s going to work in that sense. Tell us about your occlusal photos nine months ago and your occlusal photos now.

All my occlusal photos are not insistent Jaz. Previously they would have been steamy They would have been over or underexposed, so too light or too dark. They would miss off the tooth that I was trying to highlight. But ultimately there’s a few things that I found really useful. I think having some light already on the mirror from your overhead dental lamps really useful. And four handed dentistry, as he said. Working with the nurse. My nurse always has the 3 in 1 tip. Blowing air on the mirror so it never steams up.

And to be perfectly honest, photography is all about experimentation. It’s all about trial and error, seeing what work, what doesn’t. Position of the patient, it starts to become second nature. And the more photos you take, there’ll be an exponential improvement in the photography. And that’s sort of, well that’s my experience of it.

You hit the nail on the head. Photos are something that you just need to keep going even though your first six months of photos will be absolutely garbage. 90% of them will be absolute garbage, but it’s okay because you’re learning. And then eventually it’s muscle memory. It becomes so easy. I can take all my photos with just me.

I don’t even need a nurse anymore. I can do the whole series without a nurse. But that took time for me to do. And one thing that Minesh Patel talks about, which I echo as well, is getting a really light setup that you can hold it in one hand. If you can do that, then it makes things very achievable and you can actually hold the other, the mirror in your own hand, get more control over that.

And just keep taking, even though you’re rubbish, keep taking, keep taking, you’re going to improve over time. And then when you’ll find, when you’ve nailed your settings, then it’s just rinse and repeat. So if you’re someone who has been afraid to venture into photography, please do it. And if you’re struggling with occlusals, I do have a, I made a YouTube video like three years ago, four years ago.

It’s on there about just occlusals because I find that’s a really tricky one. That a lot of people struggle with and of course you mentioned the buccal mirror was like that long, thin one, really good to take quadrant photos. So super important to have all this kit. Tell us James about any resources for photography that you recommend.

Yeah. So I think one resource for photography that I really recommend is the photography for dentist page and also the Two Dentists YouTube channel.

Shout out to those guys.

I think both of those two things that I used and the photography The Dentist Page gave me an idea of the camera setup, the settings to use, and gave me some confidence on taking those first intraoral photos. And the two dentists also provided me with that, and I thought both of those were really useful.

Two dentists, photography of a dentist page. I’m also going to add there’s a course called futurelearn.com which is a good simple course to do as well. That’s how I started. Gosh, that was like 10, 11 years ago.

And also, on Instagram, dentist.camera. My friend Alessandro, he posts really good stuff from basics to more advanced stuff as well with photography. So, I’m glad to have shared those resources. Thank you. Those were the main questions I wanted to ask James in terms of portfolio building.

But I just want to give you the mic, my friend. You’ve had a really, you told me before we started recording, you’ve had a really intense year. And I remember my first year at dental school was constantly learning every single minute something new, right? And every day I’m learning something new.

When you’re a DF1, you’re learning whether it’s patient management skills, people management skills in terms of working as a team. You don’t know what you don’t know. There’s so much in perio, there’s so much in tooth replacement, so much in prosthodontics that we just don’t know because we just haven’t been exposed yet. Right? So what advice would you want to give a to your former self when you started the year? And then, to everyone else who will be joining your footsteps in the coming months.

I think there’s two things. I think in terms of the fear, the doubt, that imposter syndrome. Just understand that that is completely normal. That you are going to feel like you’re not as good as the other dentists in the practice. Because ultimately in terms of skill set, you know, and the faster that you understand that the more content that you’ll be. And one of the things that we were chatting about just before the podcast started was about reframing that into what can I learn from the people I work with.

And my advice would be take photos, even when the work is dreadful, even when the work you’re not proud of, it’s an open contact. But if you don’t photograph that, and take that to your practice principal or your educational supervisor. How are they going to be able to give you advice? And if you can visually show them where you went wrong.

They’ve done so many more courses, have so many more patient experiences with that. That they can completely guide you. So that would be two pieces of advice for those. And use your colleagues around you. Use them for experience because you can use every single situation as a learning experience.

Well said. Every master was once a disaster and no matter what you see, you don’t see the journey. You don’t see everyone’s journey. You just see the beautiful stuff they’re posting out now. But 15 years ago, it wasn’t the way. Dentistry is a tough gig.

But it’s so rewarding, and it is an expression of art. So my big thing now is trying to promote dentistry as art because I’m trying to think, what is it that’s going to make everyone have a fulfilling and happy career? And the more we can be artistic, the more it doesn’t necessarily mean cosmetic dentistry.

You can be artistic with the surgery. You can be artistic in every way. Even the way you communicate with a patient can become an art. Embrace that art and see the beauty in it. And I don’t want anyone to bury their head in the sand and ignore the negativity. Have a awareness of it. But if you focus in on the negativity, it’s a bit like those slalom skiers.

If they’re constantly focusing on avoiding the trees or the obstacles, whatever, they’re going to hit it. But if they’re focusing on the clear path. then they’re more likely to make it. James, thanks so much for giving up your time and enthusiasm to help the next generation of dentists. I think it’s going to help them to get a portfolio.

I think it’ll give them the kick up the butt they need to just do it, right? Just main thing is just do it. And if you’re lucky enough to have listened to this episode as a student or at the beginning of your DF1, then do everything James said. Get that camera and ask your colleagues for advice. And we live in a time now where it’s never been a better time to a dentist who wants to learn.

It’s never been a better time to be a dentist who wants to learn because learning opportunities are everywhere. And the problem we’re having now is that there’s too much, it’s too much noise. There’s too much stuff on YouTube. There’s too many podcast episodes of mine. There’s too many Instagram stuff, right?

There’s too much. And so what you end up doing is you end up drowning your life trying to learn this, learn that, learn that. I’m a big advocate. I don’t know if you heard me say this James before of just in time learning. Yeah. If you know, you know, like, I love what you do on Sundays. That’s amazing, man.

That’s really good. And if on Sunday, you’ve seen that, Hey, on Thursday, I’ve got my first resin bonded bridge. I haven’t done one of those in ages, or it’s been a long while. Since I’ve done it. Then make the flavor of that week. You know what? I’m going to revise the bonding protocol. I’m going to, do we have panavia?

What cement do we have in the practice? I’m going to think about the prep design if required. I’m going to think about my lab. I’m going to think about which photos I’m going to take rather than just revising extraction techniques that week when actually you haven’t singled that out as something you need to focus on.

So a big fan of just in time learning. So I was going to add that in. James, thank you so much, my friend.

Nope. Thank you very much, Jaz. I appreciate it.

Jaz’s Outro:
Well, there we have it, guys. Some top tips on how to make the best portfolio, how to put your best foot forward. These are essential nowadays. And if you have a CV, if you have a cover letter and a portfolio, I think you really stand a good chance to get that interview.

And at that interview, you just show them your human side. You show them that you can fit into the team. And with that, I wish you all the best. Thanks for listening all the way to the end. I really hope you get the associate position that you deserve. If you enjoyed this episode, please do consider giving it a rating wherever you listen to it. Otherwise, I’ll catch you same time, same place next week.

Hosted by
Jaz Gulati

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