Transition From the Pharmacy to an Office
Follow these 6 tips for making the move to a nontraditional career or role within the profession.
A recent poll in the Pharmacy Moms Group on Facebook found that a majority of members were most interested in learning about nontraditional careers and roles within the pharmacy profession. Here are 6 steps to follow when transitioning from the pharmacy to an office-based role:
1. Be certain. Pharmacists should first make sure they want to leave traditional pharmacy. Shadow someone in a different area to confirm. Be aware that though the compensation may be higher in a nontradi- tional setting, it could also be lower. It is important to fully explore new career paths before making a change. Remember that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
2. Become an expert. Any type of expertise, such as cardiology or oncology, can help pharmacists who want to transition to an office-based role stand out. Earn a certification or take a course in a specific discipline. Gaining specific knowledge helps land interviews as it demonstrates a willingness to learn and become an expert in a particular area. No certification or class guarantees a job, of course, but no potential employer will view more train- ing as a negative. This could help secure a position down the road.
3. Focus on a goal area. Make sure not to cast the net too wide. Pharmacists looking for a career change should know what they want and go after it. Some areas to consider include clinical trial design, contract jobs, contract resource organizations, drug supply chains, formulary areas, medical information, medical or regulatory affairs, medical writing, phar- macovigilance, prior authorizations, and research and development.
4. Improve interview skills. Remember that a big part of landing a job is interviewing well, so it might be necessary to hire a coach or take a class to beef up these skills.
5. Network. Never underestimate the power of networking. Yes, network- ing takes energy and time, but it can help pharmacists looking to change careers to glean insider information on industries and positions. It also helps obtain information about company culture and the expectations that are not listed in a job posting.
6. Update the curriculum vitae (CV). Pharmacists should make sure their CVs are up-to-date. Ask a colleague or friend to review it, or pay a profes- sional company to help. Include all experience and information that may be relevant to the position and find a way to demonstrate specific expertise. Think outside the box. Use design elements to help the CV stand out.
Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS, is the chief academic officer at the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs and the founder of Pharmacist Moms Group, the largest group of female pharmacists in the United States, with more than 35,000 members.