- Our profession tends to be a bit of a slow-evolving breed..from painfully slow progress seeking provider status to using outdated, inefficient pharmacy computer systems. In some ways, it’s partly the reason we are considered one of the most trusted healthcare professionals. The lack of change means consistency and familiarity…at least in the eyes of our patients. That being said, there is another area that finds too many pharmacists using outdated techniques, and it’s hindering their career progression: the modern day pharmacist job market.
The problem is we were never taught how to conduct an effective job search because previously we never NEEDED to. We emerged from school with not enough fingers on both hands to count all our suitors. We sat in job interviews watching the interviewer (not the interviewee, ironically) sweating bullets as they attempted to persuade us to their organizations. They used long since extinct terms like “sign-on” bonus. But something happened. The job market changed, but many pharmacists didn’t . The same techniques that worked for you 10 years ago won’t cut the mustard today. Here are 3 ways to modernize your pharmacist job search.
Get your marketing documents in order
You aren’t just a pharmacist, you’re also a marketer. What are you marketing? Yourself. Your accomplishments. Your talents. Those things are showcased by your professional marketing documents: your resume, LinkedIn profile, and cover letters.
Ten years ago, you just needed a resume. Now, you need a GOOD resume. It’s no longer 10 jobs per every one applicant. It’s now 10 applicants for every one job. And that may be generous. So, why are some pharmacists submitting their poorly-constructed, outdated resumes expecting to see the same results they did 10 years ago? Here’s what a great pharmacist resume looks like. How does yours compare?
Make sure your LinkedIn profile complements your resume. They should be cohesive in their message to the world. This establishes your professional brand to pharmacy recruiters and hiring managers. They will ask for your resume, but they will also check out your linkedIn profile. Too many pharmacists neglect a well-written cover letter. Don’t do this. The impact of a cover letter can’t be overstated because it allows to show your personality, sell yourself, and address any concerns that the hiring manager may have. Don’t know how to format and write an effective cover letter? Contact me and I will show you.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: A pharmacist searching for a job does a google search for available positions and then submits his/her resume online. And then waits. And waits some more. You have to realize that only about 20% of positions are actually advertised online. And they’re usually only advertised after the hiring person has exhausted his/her professional network trying to fill the position. Translation: these are often the least desirable positions available. So, you are competing with the most people for the least desirable positions. Sound exciting?
A vastly superior strategy is to target and network with those who can get you the job you seek. I’d recommend writing down the companies you are interested in. Then, find out who does the hiring for those positions, and reach out to those people on LinkedIn or email. Don’t beg for a job. Instead, try to envision the challenges they may be having, and let them know how you will alleviate those challenges. I strategically write my clients’ resumes with the same principle. Every pharmacy director has “pain points.” Work is stressful. If you can show that you will solve those challenges, so that they can sleep better at night, you’re going to get a look. Maybe he/she is the director of a hospital that needs to staff overnight positions. Filling that position can be a challenge, but you did that in your previous job for several years. Let them know. Don’t just submit your resume into the great unknown. Be proactive and focus on networking to land those “hidden” job openings.
Slam dunk the job interview
If 10 people are being interviewed for a position, you may think your odds of landing the position are 10%. They’re actually 20%. How? Because five of those candidates will inevitably shoot themselves in the foot. Just make sure you’re not one of those five. The difference between a good interview and a bad interview often boils down to preparation.
- Research the company beforehand. Know the mission statement, the history, but more importantly, why you want to work there. Make sure you can convey this clearly and concisely.
- Know your pitch (yes, you should have a pitch)-what makes you different than the other candidates. Why YOU are the solution to their team’s needs. Your pitch may be your experience, or it may be your passion. Whatever makes you different than the others.
- Show that you mesh well with their company’s culture. If you’re getting a job interview, then you already have the baseline qualifications to do the job. Often, an interview is used to assess whether or not you will mesh well into their culture. Do some research. Reach out to some current employees, and try to get a sense of the company’s culture and act appropriately.
Pharmacists, the job market is changing. So, too, must your job search techniques evolve and adapt to the present day challenges. That starts with an impactful resume, LinkedIn profile, and cover letter distributed to the RIGHT people. Followed by nailing your job interview by being prepared and focused. Happy hunting!
***Garrett Brown is a clinical pharmacist and the founder of RxElite Resumes, a company that helps pharmacists find career success by writing industry-leading pharmacist resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles. Is your current pharmacist position not cutting it? Are you looking to transition from retail to clinical? Are you competing against younger, newer graduates for positions? Are you fresh out of school seeking your first great job. CONTACT Garrett and his RxElite team now!***