Many pharmacists interested in making the leap from retail to clinical are finding that it’s often not an easy to task to undertake. There are a few factors that are standing in your way: the job market in general, the fact that retail and clinical practice are vastly different, and most pharmacy directors will simply toss your resume if it’s too retail-centric. Here are 3 ways to ensure your transition is a success.
You need to have a clinically focused resume
Submitting your outdated, retail-centric resume to a clinical position is an exercise in futility. Can I be blunt? The fact that you’ve been a rockstar retail pharmacist for the past few years doesn’t mean anything to a clinical pharmacy director. It’s not that it’s not impressive, it’s just the positions are way too different! Your resume shouldn’t focus on your current position as much as it should focus on your target position. If you want to transition from retail to clinical, your resume has to transition from retail to clinical first! I recommend emphasizing your clinical skills while deemphasizing all things retail. Rather than focus on about how many prescription transfers you do per week, focus on something more clinically relevant, such as your proven ability to consult with physicians and nursing staffs or your ability to assess patient profiles for therapeutic duplications and proper dosing. If you aren’t too far removed from school, you should be focusing on the clinical rotations you did. Clinical directors love to see that you have experience dosing vancomycin and Coumadin, can adeptly assess patient charts, and interpret laboratory values. With an accomplishment-focused pharmacist resume, you can help neutralize part of the inherent disadvantage of the retail to clinical transition.
Acquire additional clinically relevant skills
One thing that will help avoid being branded as solely a retail pharmacist is by showing that you have obtained additional, relevant clinical skills. Take as many CEs as you can on clinically relevant topics. Maybe you’ve recently taken CEs on community-acquired pneumonia treatment, diabetes management, and how to assess and treat sepsis. This is all great, and should be leveraged on your resume. Look for additional certifications that you can acquire through places like the APhA. MTM certification is becoming more popular, and I think every pharmacist should look into it. Collect as many certifications as you can. You have to convince the pharmacy director that your clinical knowledge is not outdated, and you can do this by showing a commitment to continuing to grow your clinical knowledge even while serving recently in the retail setting.
Be flexible and open-minded
Look, you probably aren’t going to go from a decade-long full-time retail position to a full-time clinical position. Are you willing to take a PRN hospital position (while still working your retail gig-bills have to get paid!)? Many PRN positions turn into full-time positions with excellent performance and the right amount of patience. Even if it doesn’t become full-time, at least you have been able to acquire recent, relevant clinical experience which now makes you a much more attractive candidate for available full-time clinical positions. If you’re willing to relocate, the options are endless. The primary outcome is to get your foot in the door.
Transitioning from retail to clinical is a challenge, but it’s not insurmountable. I’ve seen it done MANY times. Following what I’ve outlined above will help ensure you transition is a success.
***Garrett Brown is a clinical pharmacist and Founder of RXelite Resumes. Are you looking to transition to another area of pharmacy practice? Is your current pharmacist job not cutting it? Does your pharmacist resume need an overhaul? Contact Garrett and his team now!***