Knowing Personal Value is Key for Pharmacy Technicians to Advance Their Career

Seeking personal fulfillment over money can help when assessing one’s value as a pharmacy technician.

Knowing their value is key in helping pharmacy technicians move on to more advanced roles in the pharmacy, according to a presentation called “Journeying Up The Ladder” from Judy Neville, CPhT, CSPT, executive officer at the American Association of Pharmacy Technicians (AAPT), at the AAPT 2022 Annual Pharmacy Technician Convention.

“When you're looking at where you're at in your career and where you want to be, do not compare yourself to anyone else. Never do that. You have your goals, and you compare yourself to yourself,” Neville said in the presentation. “Know your value, you know, as an individual beyond being a technician…I tell my students I am doing this because pharmacy is a small world, it's a small community, and I know that one of you will touch my life personally.”

She added that seeking personal fulfillment over money can help when assessing one’s value as a pharmacy technician. She said to choose enjoyable work in a place with admirable colleagues who set good examples.

“You have to be around people who you feel are role models to you,” she said in the presentation. “Seek employment in a place in an environment where if you didn't have to have the money, you would still choose to work there.”

Communication in the field is essential, especially as pharmacy technicians prepare for more intensive roles. Neville listed some tips to help pharmacy technicians forge relationships with their colleagues who are at every level in the pharmacy. These tips included smiling more, active listening, making eye contact, inviting colleagues to lunch, and staying educated on the field.

She said that technicians should develop relationships with other technicians, but it is also important to get to know other colleagues, including pharmacy owners, schedulers, and managers.

“Ask for help and asking for help is something that will help you navigate relationships,” Neville said. “I used to tell my daughters when they were in elementary school and junior high to compliment someone today, and that'll help you build a relationship.”

Additionally, pharmacy technicians should look at jobs that match their personal needs, such as the benefits to the individuals, including health benefits, work hours, colleagues, job title, and matter of work.

As far as opportunities go, pharmacy technicians can branch out into a variety of paths, including being a pharmacy owner, pharmacy auditor, or a prior authorization coordinator. She mentioned some practical tips that could help pharmacy technicians format a well-aimed application.

“What I mean by well-aimed applications, if you are an individual who is seeking a position where you will feel more fulfilled, where you will feel more respected, where you will feel that your talents are being used,” Neville said.

She advised against doing “blanket applications,” but to research the job beforehand and tailor the resume to match what the job description is looking for. Further, she added that the job has to be a good fit for the individual and their talent and skills.

She said that adding a Curriculum Vitae of accomplishments and a letter of recommendation from a colleague also helps pharmacy technicians stand out to recruiters.

Furthermore, she listed some more outdated advice and how it has changed over time. For example, cover letters, she said, do not have to be as formal. She suggests tailoring a cover letter to fit a job opportunity and to always attach a cover letter, even if it is not required.

Additionally, she said that talking about your weaknesses and how you approach and overcome them strengthens your interview. She also debunked social media, saying that many employers use social media now to advertise job opportunities. Previously, it may have been taboo to have social media in order to get a job, but now it is much more acceptable, as long as the individual watches what they post.

She also touched on job hopping, which employers may look down on. However, she said that if there is a clear direction or reason to be job hopping, such as getting more education at different types of jobs, employers could actually be more accepting of it.

She said that career path is like a journey, and it is as everchanging as the individual in the position.

“I really feel like a career is a journey. It's something that isn't a 2-year, it isn't a 5-year—it may be a lifelong journey,” Neville said in the presentation. “We think we want to be in one place, and we get there, and we decide maybe this isn't really where we want to be. Maybe we want to be over here instead.”

She said that personal fulfilment is what makes a pharmacy technician job. It doesn’t matter how much money the pharmacy technician makes, but whether they are happy with the position their life and career are in.

Reference

Neville J. Journeying Up The Ladder. Raleigh-Durham, NC: 2022 AAPT AAPT 2022 Annual Pharmacy Technician Convention; July 22, 2022.