Pharmacist Resume Writing Dos and Don'ts

These résumé writing Dos and Don'ts may help you stay competitive in today's pharmacy job market.

I got my very first job as a pharmacist without a résumé. Word of mouth from my previous employer was good enough to get me hired by my future boss.

Looking back, I don’t think I really understood how to draft a professional résumé anyway. After all, it wasn’t exactly in my pharmacy school curriculum.

Today, the job market for pharmacists is saturated in much of the country, so pharmacists need every advantage they can get to stand out among the pack and get hired.

Fortunately, my skills in résumé writing have greatly improved over the years, and I have learned many lessons either from my own experience or from others.

Here are some of my résumé writing Dos and Don’ts to help you stay competitive in today’s pharmacy job market.

Do

  • Be honest! One of the fastest and most surefire ways to lose a job prospect is by having a would-be employer find out that something in your résumé was falsified. In an industry as interconnected as pharmacy, employers can easily verify information by contacting your previous supervisors.
  • Detail all of your applicable achievements and experiences (e.g. internships, externships, rotations, previous positions). I advise that you continuously take note of all the tasks you do, regardless of how small they might seem, as they may very well add depth to your résumé.
  • Mind your grammar and consistency. You can use a certain font size for the content and a slightly larger font size for the headings, but make sure you keep this format consistent throughout your résumé. Grammar-correcting software (e.g. Microsoft Word) is common, so there is no excuse for spelling errors and poor grammar.
  • Continuously update your résumé. There should always be new items to add and revisions to make. It is a perpetual work in progress.
  • Incorporate the following basic headings: Contact Information, Education, Relevant Coursework, Technical Skills, and Honors and Awards. You should pay special attention to your most qualifying work experiences, projects you have led, and skills you have developed that make you stand out among those applying for the same position.
  • Include basic information for every job you list, such as the organization’s name and location (city, state), title/position held, and dates you were employed. Be sure to describe in detail the level of responsibility, special contributions, skills, and abilities that you demonstrated in each of your jobs. “Implemented and led immunization services for a clinic attending to more than 1000 patients” is a more compelling statement than “Ran an immunization clinic.”
  • Ask the person you intend to cite as a reference for permission to do so, as a professional courtesy.

Don’t

  • Lie! I included this in the Do list but it merits a second mention.
  • Use any color other than black or font other than Times New Roman, Arial, or Helvetica. Pharmacy is not really the ideal industry to show off your artistic side on a résumé. A font size of 10 or 11 is good to use.
  • Write N/A under a heading (e.g. “Relevant Coursework,” “Technical Skills,” or “Honors and Awards”). Just leave it off completely.
  • Put “Résumé” at the top of your document. It is obvious that the document is a résumé.
  • Overuse bold, italics, or underlined words. These highlighting features should guide the reader to the most important features of your résumé and will lose more value the more you use them.
  • List your friends and family as references. It is best to use your contacts in the industry who can best advocate for your professional skills.
  • Mention jobs that have nothing to do with the industry, unless it is something particularly interesting and noteworthy. No one in pharmacy needs to know about your first job at Burger King.
  • Offer unsolicited personal information about yourself, such as age, race, ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, marital status, hobbies, and photographs. Your employer can hear more about your personal interests when you make small talk during the interview.

A solid résumé is in a perpetual state of updates and upgrades. It is a work in progress that must provide the best possible reflection of who you are as a professional.

Your résumé will be the first impression you make on your potential employer, so if it is sloppy, then you will be cast aside for another candidate.

Refine your résumé and make it the best that it can be. Your next job could be counting on it.