Ageism. It’s real. Too many wonderful and highly-qualified pharmacists are being passed over for positions because they don’t have a residency and/or a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD.) degree. This is a travesty! These pharmacists have something far more valuable to bring to the table: experience. Many of these pharmacists will tell you they believe they aren’t given a fair shake in today’s job market because they are considered to be old. So what’s the difference between being considered experienced and being considered old? Well, nothing really. The difference boils down to perception. And perception is driven by professional branding. This means you have the power to shape how hiring managers are perceiving you! It starts with your resume and continues with your job interview. Here are a few ways to leverage your vast experience and turn it into your greatest asset.
Your resume should emphasize your experience
Sounds pretty obvious, right? But it’s harder than you think it is. You see, pharmacists know they need to emphasize their experience, but they fall short in actually doing this effectively on their resume. Are you focusing on the most important accomplishments you’ve had throughout your career or instead listing mundane, day-to-day activities? Is your experience the FIRST thing you are emphasizing on your resume? Are you adquately conveying your leadership experience? Are you simply mentioning how many years you have done something rather than showcasing the profound impact of your work? Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
Example 1: Have over 15 years of experience of dosing Coumadin and monitoring INR levels.
Example 2: Possess 15+ years of Coumadin pharmacokinetics and INR monitoring experience that includes serving in a key role for a hospital
initiative that helped decrease GI bleeds by 50% within a 2-year timeframe.
The second example describes in greater detail the results of your work and showcases your experience more powerfully.
Remember, your experience is your greatest asset and the most exploitable point of differentiation between you and the other candidates. It is imperative that you convey your experience in the most compelling way possible using descriptive terminology and quantifiable examples. Results. Results. Results. By focusing on the difference-making results of your work, your wealth of experience will jump off the page.
Be careful with your dates
Admittedly, leveraging your experience without appearing old can be a slippery slope on your resume. You need to be mindful of the dates you are including and what they are possibly saying to hiring managers. This is your resume and you shouldnt’ feel compelled to include superfluous information that will make it easy for a hiring manager to discriminate against you based on your age. Make sure you only go back 15 years in your chronological work history. If you have work history beyond that time that you want to leverage on your resume, there are ways to do so without divulging the dates and subjecting yourself to potential age discrimination. Not sure how to do this? Send me an email. If your education includes a Bachelor of Pharmacy and was completed several years ago, I recommend listing it on the last page of the resume making certain that the reader notices your vast experience and accomplishments before browsing through your education. As long as your licensure is current, it isn’t necessary or beneficial to emphasize you graduated from college in 1985. And, please, do not begin your resume with “Over 30 years of experience with….”
Modernize your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile.
If your resume’s appearance is outdated and old, how do you think that will reflect on you? It will absolutely make you appear as outdated as your resume. It is up to you to take control of the way you are percieved by the recruiter or hiring authority. Do you want to be looked at as experienced…or old? Don’t make the mistake of appearing out of touch with technology by submitting a resume that still utilizes the advice you were given in the mid 80’s by your long-since-retired career counselor. Ditch the objective statements. They carry a very bad stigma in today’s resume writing world. Filtering software today is more advanced than in previous years, so don’t be afraid to utilize a small amount of eye-catching color and formatting elements on your resume. Make sure your resume pulls up nicely on a mobile phone, both Android and iPhones, as the pharmacy director may often view your resume on-the-go. Once you’ve modernized your resume and cover letter, it is absolutely crucial to have a nice, well-written linkedIn profile. Nothing screams old and out-of-touch when somebody asks you to connect with them on LinkedIn and you say “what’s that?”
Fellow pharmacists, the job market isn’t peaches and cream like it used to be. You have to put more effort into professional branding than ever before! Many pharmacists out there are being left out due to unjust perceptions that they are past their prime. These pharmacists bring invaluable experience to our profession. It’s time to vanquish these false perceptions and land the pharmacist position you deserve.
Garrett Brown is a practicing clinical pharmacist, professional resume writer, and the founder of RXelite Resumes. At RXelite Resumes, we specialize in helping pharmacists land their ideal job by writing the best and most effective resumes, cover letters, and linkedIn profiles in the pharmacy industry. Visit RXelite Resumes or contact Garrett on LinkedIn to learn more and experience the RXelite advantage