Most pharmacists don’t use “easy” and “resume” together in a sentence.
The problem isn’t that it’s physically demanding to write a resume, but rather the feat we’re asking it to accomplish: Capture the hiring manager’s attention and convince her to interview you, within a span of about 30 seconds.
Then consider the oversaturated pharmacy market, and the perceived shortage of jobs and the whole process feels daunting.
It often feels as though your entire career hinges on your resume.
You must make a great first impression. You must immediately convince the pharmacy hiring manager that you’re a good fit. The goal, after all, is to secure an interview so you can demonstrate face-to-face why she simply must hire you.
Do that by writing a compelling resume. Distinguish yourself from the rest of the field with a resume that grabs the hiring manager’s attention and convinces her that you alone are the solution to all her problems.
This guide, taken directly from our Resume Master Class, will show you how.
Include Reliable, Professional Contact Information
Your name and doctorate-level degree should be listed at the top of your resume, in an easy-to-read font. (Lesser degrees should be included in the Education or Professional Certifications category.)
Your email address should be professional and reliable. Use an address that is personal rather than one shared with an entire family, and be aware of the impression it will make. First and last name is best if possible.
Include your phone number, but resist the temptation to label it as “Phone.” They’ll recognize it as a phone number. Same with your email address.
Make a mental note of the phone number you provided on the resume. If you receive an “unknown call” on that number at any point in the near future, it might be best to answer so you don’t miss a call from the employer.
Create an Executive Summary that Serves as a Pitch
Remember the 30-second time frame?
Your summary must be concise. You must quickly demonstrate your strengths and your desires.
Explain what you’re great at and the skills you’ve gained throughout your career, as well as what you can do for your next employer.
If the job you’re applying for is a bit of a detour from your previous experience, connect the dots for your reader. Explain why you’re applying and how your skills transfer.
Our course resume Mastery goes into great detail on how to construct an executive summary that grabs attention.
Provide Relevant Experience
The information here will depend on how long you’ve been out of school.
If you have been out of school less than five years, include your rotations and college projects here.
If you’ve been out of school longer than five years, list jobs you’ve held that are relevant to the new job. Exclude anything that isn’t related, but definitely include your latest job.
Write a concise summary of your achievements, including outcomes.
Use plenty of action verbs. Our Masterclass teaches provides 248 power words and when to use the right words to capture your accomplishments.
List Related Education and Certifications
Your education matters, but not every aspect of it should be included.
Note where you went to school, but don’t include every rotation unless it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for. Rotations aren’t generally valuable on resumes unless the rotation is related to the new opportunity.
If you have a 4.0, you can include your GPA, but realize that it isn’t required. If you’re more than five years from graduation, don’t include your GPA.
Include any awards or achievements from your academic years.
Share Personal Information, Interests, and Skills
Provide any skills that are unrelated to your degree, like languages you speak. This is also a great place to give the recruiter or hiring manager an overview of your competencies.
Additional interests are optional, but they offer an opportunity to provide a personal touch to your resume. One pilot-in-training found common ground with an interviewer who was interested in learning to fly.
Be Selective When You Save Your Document
Many companies use an electronic tracking system to keep track of applicants.
If your resume lands there, a document with a generic name may make you tough to find.
There may only be one document named “resume” on your computer, but there will be hundreds on theirs.
Use a filename that includes your first and last name. Consider it a way to brand yourself.
Realize, too, that f your resume file name includes the name of the company you’re applying to, it could suggest a wider job search.
Additionally, not everyone uses the same word processor. Save your resume as a PDF so it’s a user-friendly format for anyone who opens it.
Write for Your Reader
Your resume must lend itself to easy skimming. If the reader can’t easily skim your resume, the reviewer will likely move on.
Craft your resume for the person who will read it. Give the hiring manager a snapshot of who you are.
Limit jargon in your resume, as it may pass through HR before it gets to the hiring manager. Take a cue from the job posting and use similar language.
Additionally, consider that large companies may use bots to skim your resume in search of keywords relevant to the position. Use the job posting as a guide to keywords you should include.
If you focus on communicating with the reader, you’ll do a better job of conveying your message. Approach your resume as an outsider and write it accordingly.
Tailor Your resume
The people handling your resume have most likely done this before. This isn’t their first time hiring, and they’ve seen more than a few resumes.
That said, experienced hiring managers can immediately spot a generic resume. Given the choice between a tailored resume and a generic one, they’ll never choose the latter.
Generate a unique resume for every position you’re applying for. Use keywords related to the position, and write industry outsiders who may not understand your jargon.
Decide Whether to Enlist Help
Not everyone needs to enlist help writing a resume, but it often makes sense.
If you have unsuccessfully applied to multiple jobs over the span of several months, you might find that you aren’t effectively communicating what you have to offer.
If you’re miserable in your current job or unable to advance, seeking outside help might speed up the job search and free you from an unfulfilling situation.
If, on the other hand, you’re a rugged individualist and you prefer working on your own, our Resume Master Class offers valuable tips and pointers, as well as a swipe file of templates you can draw from as you write your own resume.
At a minimum, everyone should seek another set of eyes to proofread the resume before sending it.
Typos will immediately discredit you as a candidate. Read your resume backward to more readily catch typing errors.
Convince the Hiring Manager that You are the Solution
The company wants to find a qualified candidate.
The hiring manager wants to find the right person for the job, and your resume will provide the first impression of you and your skillset.
It’s a challenging process, but if you invest the effort to craft your resume well, you’ll more likely distinguish yourself from an already-crowded field of applicants.
We’ve been on both sides of the hiring process, and we’ve made it our goal to demystify things. We’ve got a proven track record of helping pharmacists distinguish themselves throughout any hiring process.
We’ll help you sort out what’s truly important and do the heavy lifting of writing a powerful resume.
We’ll help you use your 30 seconds to make a noteworthy impression.
Alex is the Founder of The Happy PharmD. He loves anime, his family, and video games, but not in that order.