7 Tips for Unemployed Pharmacists

More and more pharmacists are unfortunately facing the challenge of unemployment.

When you don’t have a job, everything just feels wrong. Unemployment is an emotional roller coaster ride, except that it isn’t fun and the end may not be in sight.

More and more pharmacists are unfortunately experiencing unemployment firsthand. With mergers, market changes, and more students graduating than ever before, pharmacists are finding that jobs are not as plentiful as they once were.

I interact with unemployed pharmacists quite often. Because of my online activity, career in pharmacy management, and the articles I have written on related subjects, I often find myself giving advice to fellow pharmacists on how to manage this uncomfortable and unsettling time in their career.

I don’t claim to have all the answers, and this article only begins to scratch the surface. This isn’t a “do these 7 things and you will automatically get hired” type of post, but the following advice is what my years of experience and observation suggest is the right approach.

What should the unemployed pharmacist do?

First, don’t panic.

You are not the first pharmacist to have gone through this, and you won’t be the last. By allowing anxiety to take over, you will not be able to think clearly or communicate responsibly.

You cannot change yesterday, and you don’t know what tomorrow holds. All you can do is make smart choices right now, and that requires keeping your head.

Second, do not think of yourself as unemployed.

The fact is you do have a job, which is trying to find and secure the next great step in your pharmacy career. This is going to take 8 to 9 hours of real work a day.

You are actually going to work just as hard now as you have ever worked at any job. There is nothing to be ashamed of in that.

It is a good practice to treat your days like regular workdays and plan to put in a 9-to-5 shift of job searching.

Third, take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Eat well and exercise. Dress appropriately. Read encouraging and motivational books to stay emotionally positive.

Your attitude will be exposed in e-mails, phone calls, and interviews, so stay upbeat. Don’t blame yourself or be critical of others.

You can use this time to sharpen yourself professionally by completing additional continuing education courses or certifications.

Fourth, start networking.

This encompasses everything from reaching out to your pharmacy-related contacts, to updating and refreshing your online presence in places such as LinkedIn and other social networks.

Keep record of whom you have contacted and when, and follow up on any suggested contacts. Find out about local professional networking events by contacting your local school of pharmacy or state pharmacy association.

Fifth, get your career documents in order.

Your professional résumé and CV are essential and critical tools that will be used to evaluate you and compare you with other candidates.

Sixth, sign up for job notifications from the most popular job boards and pharmacy job networks.

Visit the “career” page of some of the larger employers in your area. Check out the job boards available from your state pharmacy organizations or schools of pharmacy. Learn to use resources like CareerBuilder, Monster, and GetHired. I also like inPharmacyJobs.com and PharmacyWeek.com.

Seventh, don’t give up or get discouraged if your job search takes longer than you expected.

My own research and experience tells me that the process of finding a job if you are a presently unemployed pharmacist can take upwards of 9 to 12 months, sometimes more depending on the area of the country you are in.

However, there are ways to speed up that process, and I would be happy to talk to you about that. Feel free to reach out to me personally at jason.thehonestapothecary@gmail.com for more information.

Unemployment is not a pleasant experience for any pharmacist, but with the right focus, tools, and persistence, it will hopefully only be a brief intermission in an otherwise long, successful, and exciting career.