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.
I recently spoke with a hiring manager for a typical clinical pharmacy position at a large Florida hospital, where 1 job listing generated 125 applicants. For every available pharmacy position, hiring managers receive far more resumes than they can handle.
If your pharmacist resume isn’t accurate, appealing, and convincing, you won’t be invited to interview. That may result in you staying in an unsatisfying pharmacist job.
Consider whether these common mistakes may be plaguing your own resume.
1. Your pharmacist resume lacks accomplishment.
Most pharmacists leave their resumes untouched for years, so that when it’s time to rewrite them, the entire document needs an overhaul. Do not make the mistake of filling the resume or CV with meaningless statements such as 'provided excellent customer service' or 'managed a team.'
When I review resumes for clients, I often find asking what their bullet point accomplishments really mean. “So, what did you do to accomplish this?”—What follows is usually a story with more info that should be on the resume.
Be specific with the activities you engage in, and the outcome of those activities. If you can’t specifically explain what you did or what you accomplished, your hiring manager will likely be left with more questions than answers, which is not the first impression you want to give to a hiring manager.
If you fail to specifically outline how you impacted your an employer, you’re likely going to be ignored.
2. Your resume speaks the wrong language.
Your pharmacist resume must be relevant to the position you are applying for. If you send the same resume to different companies in response to different positions, you will be overlooked. It’s the equivalent of using the same tool to chop down a tree, and to cut your lawn: an ax only serves 1 of those purposes well.
Your pharmacist resume must be changed to fit each position. If you’re applying for a job as a pharmacy benefit manager using the same resume you used to apply for a position with a community pharmacy, you will fail because you’re speaking the wrong language.
In order to grab the hiring manager’s attention, you must speak the language she understands best.
3. Your pharmacist resume doesn’t address metrics.
Your resume won’t likely be reviewed by a person on the front lines of pharmacy. It will likely fall into the hands of a manager or a recruiter who does not think the same way you do. They think in terms of metrics.
They evaluate your performance based on metrics that you may or may not know. Whether we like it or not, metrics are the best indicator of how well you’re doing in your current job.
Have you increased efficiency? Saved the organization money? Launched a new service? It’ll all be tracked via metrics.
Think about your current manager’s priorities, and assess your job from her perspective. Speak her language as you write your pharmacist resume bullets. Do your best to understand the pharmacy company, and its mindset.
4. Your pharmacist resume includes errors.
Many years ago, I interviewed for a second-year residency in a program I was really excited about. The position garnered dozens of applications, and I wasn’t selected.
When the director called me with the news, he surprised me by asking if I wanted to know why I wasn’t selected. I did, of course.
He told me that I misspelled his name in my cover letter. I couldn’t believe it. I read that letter at least 20 times.
I learned from that experience the importance of double-checking and triple-checking your work. Sometimes we get so enveloped in our work that we miss things that should be obvious.
When you’re writing a pharmacist resume, wait a day before proofreading it so you can see it with a fresh set of eyes. And consider hiring a professional to review your resume so it is flawless when you submit it.
Get help with your pharmacist resume.
In a large pool of applicants, you realistically have about 30 seconds to grab the hiring manager’s attention, and convince him that he should invite you to interview. That’s a lot to expect of 1 document.
A professional resume service has been on both sides of the hiring process, and knows how to help you create an effective resume. Whether you work with a professional service or ask your peer to review your resume, it is worth your time, and effort to further your career.