Sometime during the Pleistocene era… a group of pigeons got lost and eventually found themselves on an island 700 miles east of Madagascar called Mauritius. The island was kind and gentle-lacking any formidable predators or large insects. With food and leisure aplenty, these birds adapted to their charmed new lifestyle. The (now called) Dodo birds became fat and happy, losing their ability to fly while ballooning to nearly 50 lbs! When Dutch settlers inhabited the island in the early 1600’s, the Dodo birds were so oblivious to adversity and danger, that they would waddle right up to the settlers (hence the expression “dumb as a Dodo”). This was like serving up a 17th century TV dinner to the settlers and their animals. So deceived by their previously charmed lifestyle, the Dodo birds were unable to evolve fast enough and were rendered completely extinct within 75 years. For years, pharmacists were like Dodo birds, getting fat and happy with large sign-on bonuses and fistfuls of job offers the minute they strolled out of school. The modern day job market has (unfortunately) changed, and if you are slow to adapt your job search techniques to match modern day demands, your career will follow the same path as the Dodo bird. Here are two crucial ways to modernize your pharmacist job hunt.
Don’t be so reliant on Indeed.com
Look, you and Indeed. com have had an amazing run. She helped you transition from pharmacy school to the workforce in the early 2000s. Helped you land that first high-paying gig. I’m not saying you can’t take her bowling or out for some ice cream once in a while. But, it’s time to start seeing some other people. Too many pharmacists put the focus of their job search into submitting their resume to job boards. This strategy is flawed for a couple of reasons. It is estimated that 80% of available positions are NOT listed online. The positions posted are generally jobs the pharmacy director wasn’t able to fill by first reaching out to his/her buddies or professional network, meaning they are often the least desirable positions available. Don’t believe me? Do a job search and see how many overnight, PRN, or on-call positions pop up. So, when you submit your resume online, you are competing with the most people for the worst jobs. Sound exciting?
I’d recommend a change in strategy. Focus 75% your job search efforts on networking, both online and offline. Yes, this may mean showing up to that boring networking event and being willing to stand there awkwardly with a cup of punch in your hand. You have to push through that. Shake some hands, kiss some babies, whatever it takes to build your professional network. That next hand you shake may be the person who holds the key to landing your dream job. More importantly, learn how to leverage and maximize LinkedIn. What an incredible tool it is to be able to search for and connect with the higher-ups in the companies or hospitals you are interested in! LinkedIn is criminally underutilized by pharmacists seeking new work. The power of linkedIn lies in your ability to connect and communicate directly with the pharmacy directors that can hire you. That is the primary objective of any job search…getting your resume to the hiring manager’s desk. LinkedIn and other avenues of networking allow you to bypass the electronic and human H.R. body guards.
Quit sending out a lackluster resume
If you’re going to find some success fishing the job boards, it’s not going to be with an outdated, uninspiring resume. In years past, pharmacists could get away with that. Now, a lackluster resume could potentially lengthen your job search by several months. Remember, competition is fierce, and the odds are not in your favor. In fact, the entire system is conspiring against you. What do I mean? Let me explain. Let’s say there’s a nice pharmacist position posted online. Within a week, there are probably 100 applicants. The applicant tracking systems (ATS) companies use are specifically designed to filter out 75% of those applicants. The system is looking for reasons to toss your resume! You need to implement the proper keywords into your resume. This will help you pass through round one of the filtering process. Then, your resume will probably be read by one of the HR cronies. Now, it needs to be pleasing and impactful to a human reader. You’ve got about 8 seconds to make an impression! Your pharmacist resume needs to be powerful, and convey the RESULTS of your work. To illustrate what I’m talking about, check out these examples. Out of the initial 100 applicants, maybe 5-6 get through the “system” and onto the pharmacy director’s desk. How confident are you that your resume will be one of the chosen ones? I’d recommend that you invest some time making your resume sizzle because it will pay off in the long run.
Pharmacists, we’ve been getting fat and happy for years, but, as Bobby Dylan said in 1964 “The Times They Are A Changin’.” You must adapt your job search to meet the demands of the modern day pharmacist job market. Failing to evolve, like the Dodo bird, and you career will inevitably share a similar fate.
Garrett Brown is a clinical pharmacist and Founder of RXelite Resumes. Are you looking for an advantage in a tight pharmacist job market? We write industry-leading resumes for pharmacists who are in career transition or simply looking to find a better job! Contact us now to give your career a much-needed boost!