Who comes up with these resume writing rules anyway? I feel like sometime in the early 90’s a group of undergraduate career counselors sporting plaid suits, square-rimmed glasses, and greasy comb-overs got together and laid out these resume writing ground rules, and the rest of us just followed suit. When it comes to writing an excellent pharmacist resume, it’s not so much the rules you need to focus on, but the principles behind the rules. But, judging by the hair styles I had in high school (some of which I’m still being blackmailed for), I’ve always had a little bit of “rebel” in me. That said, let’s talk about some of the supposedly hard-and-fast resume writing rules that I say pharmacists SHOULD break. Sounds pretty scandalous? Read on…
Keep your resume to one page
I get asked this by pharmacists all the time. This rule is excellent advice for a high school student, or even a recently-graduated college student with an undergraduate degree. But that’s the problem with creating rules that feebly attempt to paint everybody with such a broad brush. Should a residency-trained pharmacy director with a doctorate degree and 15+ years of experience have the same sized resume as a 19 year-old who’s entire work history consists of dunking french fries at McDonald’s for a couple summers? I’ve yet to see a pharmacist adequately and powerfully market themselves and their accomplishments on only one page. I suppose if you reduced the font size to 3 and the margins to almost zero, it can be accomplished. The real rule for pharmacist resume length is 2-3 pages. If it’s longer than 3 pages, then you either haven’t streamlined it enough or you’re confusing a CV with a resume.
You must have an objective statement
Full disclosure, this one makes me chuckle. An objective statement is to resume writing as wearing socks with sandals is to the fashion industry. It’s one of the most egregious pharmacist resume writing faux pas and for good reason. An objective statement focuses on the goals and desires of the candidate rather than the prospective employer. The harsh truth is the pharmacy director doesn’t really care about what your personal career goals are, he/she only wants to how you can be the solution to their current needs. A resume is a marketing document, and you must remember that you are marketing your qualifications as the solution for the position needing to be filled. It’ s time for many of us to tearfully accept the death of the objective statement. May it rest in peace. In its place, I’d suggest a professional summary that focuses on your most relevant and compelling accomplishments that position you as exactly what the company needs. This is an interview-landing strategy.
You should focus on submitting your resume to job boards
This is probably the most damaging piece of advice with respect to your pharmacist job search. Relying solely on submitting your resume to job boards is highly flawed for many reasons:
- 80% percent of available positions are NOT advertised on job boards. The ones that are posted, are often the least desirable positions with the most competition.
- By tackling the job boards, you are willingly engaging in a numbers game that isn’t in your favor.
- Recruiters prefer to use employee referrals and social media to find the best candidates.
It’s not that job boards can’t be a useful tool…they can. But, your pharmacist job search needs to focus 65% of your time on networking with real people. You need to make yourself visible by being active on social media platforms that are relevant to the pharmacist industry. Then, don’t just wait for the pharmacist job search fairy to show up at your door offering you a great position. Be proactive! Connect with people. Email people. Here’s a crazy idea: make some phone calls. Connect with as many recruiters as you can. Attend local networking and industry meetings and events. Research the companies you are interested in, and reach out to the hiring managers of those positions. Eventually, you will fin
d available positions that were never advertised online where you are only competing with a handful of people rather than 100+ people. The anatomy of a modern day pharmacist job search is evolving, and so should you.
Pharmacists, the job market is becoming more and more competitive. It is becoming mandatory for all pharmacists to have an accomplishment-focused pharmacist resume, and a modern job search philosophy that focuses on networking. By breaking the outdated rules above, you will be well on your way!
Garrett Brown is a clinical pharmacist, professional resume writer, and Founder at RXelite Resumes. Do you need an interview-landing pharmacist resume that gets you noticed? Who better to trust your pharmacist resume writing needs to than a fellow pharmacist? Contact RXelite Resumes today and gain a valuable advantage in today’s difficult pharmacist job market. You can also contact Garrett directly on LinkedIn.