Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane "pill-flipping" life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.

5 Tips for Finding a New Pharmacy Job While You're Still Employed

JULY 20, 2017
If you don’t love your current pharmacy job, the best time to find a new job is while you still have an existing one. When you’re already working in the industry, your network can keep you updated about job openings that you might not otherwise hear about. You’ll also have the freedom to find a job you love rather than taking a job just to get back to work.

I’ve spoken to dozens of pharmacists about finding a career that they love, and I’ve realized that there is a fair amount of fear involved in searching for a new job while you’re employed: fear that others will discover your search; fear that you’ll be perceived as disloyal; and fear that your work relationships will sour as a result.

Over the course of my pharmacy career, I’ve spoken to several mentors and esteemed college professors about seeking a new job while you’re already employed, and their advice is worth sharing here.

Continue your work ethic.


It’s human nature to lose focus on your existing job when you begin searching for a new one. Perhaps you’ve had great leads on other jobs, and you’re convinced you’re going to get a job offer. You might consider slacking off at your current job or neglecting your existing projects because you assume that you may be taking a new job. I find that when I’m not fully committed to something, I tend to slack off. Just ask my wife about my lawn work.


Continue with your commitments until you’ve received an offer from another company. Even then, you’re wise to fulfill your commitments to your current company because sometimes salary negotiations fail, and companies rescind their offers of employment.


Work at your existing job in such a way that you could someday be welcomed back even after you leave. In an industry marked by mergers, it’s entirely possible that you’ll encounter some of the same people again someday.


Seal your lips.


It’s incredibly tempting to share job prospects with your coworkers. You’re seeking a new adventure, and it’s exciting to be invited to interview or to receive a job offer.


Don’t trust anyone, even if you have developed great friendships at your workplace. Your exit will likely leave an open position, and coworkers may see it as an opportunity to get a leg up by sharing details of your plan. Coworkers may also decide not to invest in you, making it difficult for you to complete existing assignments without the necessary resources.


Edwina Martin (not her real name) landed a one-year contract at a state university and was told by her coworkers that a permanent position would likely be hers at the end of the contract if she worked hard and performed well. Edwina was excited about the position, and at the end of the contract, she confided to a colleague at a different university that she was competing for a permanent position. Edwina didn’t notice when her colleague asked about the pay and benefits of the position as well as the kind of classes she was teaching. She was completely unprepared when she discovered that her colleague was a finalist for the same position. Worse yet, Edwina’s colleague got the position.


There is no way to predict what can happen when someone has that kind of information. There is no way to predict whom they will share it with. Your best bet is to keep it to yourself.


Keep your current work and your job search separate.


It’s foolish to think you can safely search for jobs while you are at work. Even if you are researching jobs that are in-house, you should never use work resources to find a new job.


Everything is traceable these days. The American Management Association, in a 2007 survey on workplace monitoring, discovered that 66% of employers monitor Internet activity, and 45% track content and keystrokes. Almost half of the employers surveyed (45%) monitor phone usage, and 43% monitor email, either electronically or manually.


Restrict your search activity to after hours, on personal equipment. If your company relies heavily on computer use, you very likely signed an agreement or contract acknowledging acceptable use of your company’s equipment. Although it may be difficult to fire you for simply searching for a job, it may be much easier to fire you for a breach of company policy. Avoid putting yourself in that position.


Use only former employers as references.


It should be clear by now that keeping your job search confidential is in your best interest. To do that, avoid listing your current employer, and any of your current coworkers, as references. The only exception might be a situation in which you’re being laid off or a contract has expired.


When you approach previous employers, request confidentiality. Additionally, it’s acceptable to request it from the hiring company as well. Most people involved in hiring will understand the desire for confidentiality in the job search, but they may not maintain secrecy unless you specifically request it.


Be sure to notify people you are planning to use as a reference, so they can be prepared when the phone call comes. If they are not expecting to be contacted, they may inadvertently hurt you by being unprepared.


Use discretion on job boards.


Having an online presence can be vital to your job search. Job boards and career sites account for 35% of hiring, and 89% of employers reported having hired employees via LinkedIn, according to Statistics Brain Research Institute. The catch, then, is maintaining your presence without alerting your employer to the fact that you’re searching for a new job.


Jennifer from Asbury Park posted a warning on Indeed that the website alerted her current employer when she updated her resume. Her theory is that, because her current employer found her on Indeed, her employer likely saved her profile, which is why they received the update. It is possible, too, that your employer is seeking additional employees through the same job boards you are using to find your own job.


Job boards like Monster and Indeed offer settings that allow you to control who sees your resume.

  • Visible makes your resume available to everyone.

  • Limited allows employers to see your resume without your personal info such as name and references.

  • Private prevents searchers from finding your resume but allows you to apply privately for jobs.


Choose the most restrictive setting possible to protect your identity as you search for a new job you love.


Search while you’re employed.


Employers prefer to hire still-employed workers because their skill set is current. They also want to hire the best of the best, and they perceive that those are those people who are still working. Having a job makes you more confident as you search for new work, instead of leaving you feeling desperate.


Don’t put undue pressure on yourself by quitting your current job before you find another one you love. Be cautious as you search so that you don’t unwittingly reveal your job search before you’re ready. Most importantly, don’t allow fear to keep you from finding a job you love.

 


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