In this competitive job market, we offer advice to help candidates get ahead in the search for a retail pharmacist position.
You’re about to graduate pharmacy school after 6 long years, and now you’re ready to land a job in retail pharmacy. Or you are between retail pharmacy jobs, and are struggling to find that perfect fit.
Many of you have seen this hilarious YouTube video called “Millennial Interview.” Hopefully by the end of this 2-part series, if you are anything like Amy, you will come out like Eric Kinney, current PharmD student, and give well thought out, intelligent answers.
The pharmacy job market is tough right now—I am hearing that the market in many areas is saturated, and finding a retail pharmacy job is very difficult. It has been reported for several years (https://newrepublic.com/article/119634/pharmacy-school-crisis-why-good-jobs-are-drying) that the pharmacist supply exceeds the demand.1 The number of pharmacy schools has increased2 (http://www.pharmacytimes.com/contributor/alex-barker-pharmd/2015/05/the-pharmacy-job-crisis-blame-the-pharmacy-school-bubble) over the years from 72 in 1987 to 138 as of January 2018.3 (https://www.aacp.org/article/academic-pharmacys-vital-statistics)
I have talked to many pharmacists/new graduates that are having a very difficult time finding a job. One pharmacist, BR, worked throughout school as a pharmacy technician and later as an intern; however, there was no room for her to continue with the company as a grad intern. The day she graduated from pharmacy school, she was no longer allowed to work shifts in the pharmacy because of her official change from pre-grad intern to grad intern. She sat down with her husband and studied a population density map of the eastern United States, looking at number of job postings in relation to population, and they settled on Ohio. A few months later she accepted a staff pharmacist position at a large chain in Ohio.
Another pharmacist, Lori (whose name was changed at her request), did not have much luck with websites, such as Indeed, Monster, or Glassdoor; and she found many of the postings to be outdated. She checked websites of the large chains faithfully every day for months. Eventually, Lori widened her search area, and applied directly to the companies she was interested in and was happy to be hired with a national chain.
Jenny is a pharmacist who has been out of school for 20 years and has worked as PIC for several chains. She reports sending in almost 100 applications and getting 3 interviews. She is currently still looking for a job, and considering pursuing another career path such as nursing, by enrolling in an accelerated nursing program.
Angelica (whose name was changed at her request) had a more ideal experience—she was able to score a full-time floater position after working for her chain for 8 years as a tech, and intern. However, some of her classmates, especially those who did not work throughout pharmacy school, are still looking for jobs, and are anxiously awaiting callbacks.
What can pharmacists do in this situation?
We are going to talk about creating the perfect resume in part 1. In part 2, we are going to convey important interview tips from actual district/regional leaders and recruiters from large chains, so you get the inside scoop on how to make a lasting impression that will get you the job.
Starting with the perfect resume: If finances allow, make the investment and hire a professional resume writer. Ashley Gulyas, PharmD, creator and owner of Academy & Apothecary explained that many pharmacists do not have the time to properly create an effective resume, which can take hours from start to finish. Professional resume writers such as Dr Gulyas ensure there are absolutely no mistakes and that all achievements are appropriately highlighted. Resume writers develop a crisp, easy to follow, well-organized, and effectively written product that many pharmacists cannot do on their own. Writers also are very good at ensuring your resume will get through the Applicant Tracking System, or ATS, and into someone’s hands.
If this route is too costly, consider these tips below from Ashlee Klevens Hayes, PharmD, also known as Rx Ashlee, a pharmacist and motivational career coach:
Here are some great tips from Dr. Hayes regarding your resume:
Some additional resume tips from Dr. Gulyas:
Here are some resume mistakes from Dr. Gulyas:
Ok, so you wrote (or hired a professional to write) the perfect resume, and you are called in for an interview. Now what? Stay tuned for part 2, coming soon, where I have compiled amazing advice from pharmacy hiring insiders. Combining a flawless resume with the interview tips to come will be very helpful in your job search.