Generally speaking, once a recruiter or hiring manager takes a look at your resume, you have about 8 seconds to make an impression-to convince them to keep reading and not simply toss your resume into the junk pile. Indulge me for a second and brainstorm some things you can do in 8 seconds. Put on your socks. Drizzle your waffles in syrup. A deep, guttural yawn (ya know, the kind you had to feverishly stave off during biostatistics class). Shoot a free throw. I’m going to add one more to that list: parse through a pharmacist resume. Ya, I know, it’s almost offensive, right? I mean, you spend hours (days?) painstakingly constructing your resume, submitting it with the utmost anticipation, and it all comes down to 8 measly seconds to decide your fate? In this era of technology our attention span lies somewhere between that of a goldfish and a gerbil. You’re not competing with 3-4 other candidates. You’re competing against 30-40. Your pharmacist resume needs to make an immediate impact… within 8 seconds. Here’s how it’s done.
Begin with a bang
My favorite movie of 2015 was Star Wars. And considering the huge movie nerd that I am (yes, I will even shamefully admit to seeing an occasional movie by myself), that’s saying something. My favorite movies start slowly, build up, and then finish with a heart-racing climax. Resumes are different. The very BEGINNING should be the climax. Throw everything you have into that first half-page, and, yes, that includes the kitchen sink. That first half-page will probably make or break you. Don’t waste precious time and space with generic, buzzword-laced summaries that your undergraduate career counselor preached to you and anybody else that would listen. After all, you only have 8 seconds to make an impression. The first half-page is your elevator pitch-the paper version. Write down the 5 reasons you are the ideal candidate and showcase those as powerfully and concisely as you can within the first half- page.
Ditch the objective statement.
I read many pharmacist resumes each week, and a shockingly high percentage still contain an objective statement. For whatever reason, it’s a trend that refuses to die. But, similarly to acid-washed jeans and-no offense to the great Elton John-platforms for men , it’s a trend that NEEDS to die. Objective statements are fundamentally flawed in that they are focused on YOUR objective rather than the EMPLOYER’S objective. Remember, a resume is a marketing document. And what are you marketing? Yourself, as the solution to the pharmacy director’s problems. An objective statement takes up valuable time and prime resume real estate, but does nothing to convey your value or accomplishments. I mean if we’re being honest with ourselves do we really think a pharmacy director cares what your career goals are? Focus on marketing your accomplishments, not rambling on about your career goals. I know it’s a bittersweet moment for many of you, but it’s time we allow the objective statement to rest in peace.
Quantify your impact.
Too many pharmacists begin their resume by jumping straight into their work history. Why’s this a problem? Reading about somebody’s mundane day-to-day tasks is only slightly less riveting than when my aunt shares on Facebook that she just finished walking her dog or attending a neighborhood Tupperware party. The beginning portion of your resume needs to showcase not what you do every day, but the IMPACT your work has had. Did you increase pharmacy profit by 12% in 6 months? Did you implement a wellness program that has helped increase compliance rates by almost 10% in under one year? Did you monitor 20+ patient INRs daily which helped lead to a steep reduction in GI bleeds compared to prior years? I suggest you focus on the impact you’ve had rather than regurgitating a laundry list of your daily tasks. These resume examples may help illustrate this concept.
The job market is tough right now. Pharmacy schools are churning out students at an alarming rate, and there’s more competition for jobs than ever before. You can outpace your competition with an impactful resume that showcases your value and aces the 8-second test. If not, then shoot me a line, and I’d be more than happy to help out.
Garrett Brown is a clinical pharmacist and Founder of RxElite Resumes. Is your current pharmacist position simply not cutting it? Are you transitioning from retail to clinical? Are you a new graduate looking to land a great position? RxElite Resumes is the industry-leader in pharmacist resumes, cover letters, and CVS. Contact us now to get started!