Still Seeking: Strategies for Pharmacists to Move Their Job Search Forward

It's time to move forward with these job search strategies for pharmacists seeking work.

It’s been 6 months since you started your job search as a new grad or unemployed pharmacist, and still no job. Blame it on Baby Boomer pharmacists choosing to extend their retirement date, more pharmacy schools and graduates than a decade ago, or the economy.

Regardless, it's time to move forward with these job search strategies.

Get feedback.

Share your current résumé and cover letter with a trusted colleague to brainstorm how you can improve them. (Remember, we live in a transparent world, so do not embellish your résumé.)

If you interviewed but did not get the position, then request a follow-up feedback phone appointment from the recruiter or interviewer. Incorporate their suggestions into your next round of job applications.

Think outside of the box.

As a new graduate, you may have your heart set on a hospital rather than a retail position. Or, as a seasoned pharmacist, your comfort zone may be strictly infusion therapy.

Think about exploring positions in other pharmacy settings (government, corporate, community) where you can bring your interests and expertise and gain additional experience.

Look beyond your hometown or local region.

Many new grads like to stay close to friends and family when looking for that first full-time position. Why not try moving to a new city that’s one of the best places for pharmacists?

Expand your skillset.

While you are seeking a position, spend your downtime building upon your current skills. This can help set you apart from other job candidates.

For example, enroll in an online study program such as medication therapy management (MTM) and earn continuing education (CE) credits, as well.

Explore part-time work.

Even though you are looking for a full-time position, accepting part-time work can give you an advantage when a full-time job becomes available. This way, management gets to observe your work style, and you get to determine whether a future full-time position would be a good fit.

Network.

By now, you may have responded to several pharmacy postings on various websites with no success. Applying blindly to positions when pharmacist demand is high can be very effective resulting in multiple offers, but when the job market is tough, it's time to network face-to-face.

Make a list of everyone you know in the world of pharmacy who may have a job lead for you. (Remember, you are asking for a lead, not a job.)

If you are a recent graduate, start with your pharmacy school’s career office, faculty, classmates, preceptors, and mentors. For veteran pharmacists, extend your business card to former bosses and co-workers, colleagues at local CE programs and professional events, pharma reps, and pharmacists working at companies other than your last position.

Both recent grads and current pharmacists should have a LinkedIn account. Although social media is an excellent tool, face-to-face interaction still rules.

Stay positive.

It can be scary to be unemployed. Having to answer the question, “Did you find a job yet?” only adds to your anxiety.

Keep in mind that you are in transition and thinking otherwise is counterproductive. Seek support from friends and family, exercise daily to reduce job search stress, and celebrate what went right with your job search each day.