As an increasing number of job seekers enter the pharmacy field, competition for the most desirable jobs will heat up. While resume writing is not typically taught in pharmacy programs, it's a skill worth developing. If you follow these three steps, you will be on your way to creating a resume that will maximize your calls for job interviews.
Step 1: Research
The first step in preparing a winning resume is research. After all, you're selling a product (you) to a buyer (the employer), so find out what the buyer wants. You probably have enough information about yourself to write a novella, but given the limited space on a resume, you must highlight your strongest, most relevant qualifications.
If you're preparing your resume for a specific employer, visit its Web site to learn about its services, goals, mission and corporate culture. Take notes about how you would fit in and add value to the operation. If you're not targeting a specific opportunity, search for pharmacist jobs on Monster and study ads that interest you. Review the job descriptions and requirements to find out what's important to hiring managers. Once you have a clear idea of what employers want, you can start developing a compelling resume. (See our sample resume for a pharmacist.)
Step 2: Write
Pretend you're a director of marketing writing a dynamic description of a new product just hitting the market. You've done your research, so you know what your buyer wants. Here's how you can organize your credentials:
- Resume Headline: Create a brief headline that encapsulates your career goal and one or two of your top qualifications. For example: NY-Licensed Pharmacist -- 5 Years' Experience and PharmD Degree.
- Qualifications Summary: Present your value proposition -- a narrative statement of the main reasons you should be called for an interview. In the Monster Profile & Resume Builder, use the Objective section to present your summary. Here's an example:
NY- and NJ-licensed clinical pharmacist offers a PharmD degree and 10 years of acute-care/hospital experience. Thorough knowledge of computerized drug-distribution systems, drug-utilization evaluation, complex equipment and delivery systems, emerging medications, inventory management and regulations governing pharmacy services. Serves as an effective liaison between the healthcare team and the community to improve drug usage and therapeutic outcomes. Completed clinical pharmacy residency at the renowned ABC Medical Center.
- Employment History: In the Experience section of the Resume Builder, provide a reverse-chronological work history. Recent grads should include internships, externships, clinical rotations and preceptorships. Experienced workers may move these to the Education section. Describe your job duties as well as accomplishments, showing how you went above and beyond your responsibilities to help your employer or department. Think about how you improved workflow, enhanced patient/customer satisfaction, saved money or time, generated revenue, managed inventory levels, trained employees and built positive relationships.
- Education: List education, training and licensure, as well as academic honors, scholarships and extracurricular activities. New grads should place the Education section before the Experience section. In the Resume Builder, new grads can mention their degree in the Objective section to move that credential to the top of the page.
- Key Skills: Use the Resume Builder's Skills section to create a list of your most relevant skills. This is a great way to add important keywords so your resume is found in an electronic applicant search. Include specialty areas (e.g., acute/critical care, ICU, retail, nuclear pharmaceuticals) and important skills (e.g., pharmacology, dispensing/compounding, medication therapy, pharmaceutical research, MedE America Pharmacy System).
- Miscellaneous Headings: Other headings depend on your background, but in the Additional Information section of the Resume Builder, you might include published articles, public-speaking engagements, technical skills, community activities and language skills.
Step 3: Refine
Think of your resume as a work in progress. Before distributing it, solicit feedback from colleagues and hiring managers to learn ways to improve your presentation. Keep in mind that everyone will have suggestions for improving your resume, so decide what will work for you and make appropriate changes.
When you're finished modifying your document, set it free into the job marketplace. After taking the time to research, write and refine, you should have a resume that generates calls for interviews.