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The Importance of a Pharmacist’s Resume

 

We have all heard the stories of the current oversaturation of pharmacists. This is due to multiple
reasons including; the opening of more pharmacy schools each year, increasing pharmacy class
sizes, and chain pharmacies cutting hours due to poor reimbursement rates. One thing is for sure-
its a tough market if you are on a job hunt. Long gone are the days of being hired from a phone
interview alone or the large sign-on bonuses. It’s simply a supply and demand issue, and
pharmacists are no longer in the driver’s seat.

In my opinion, there are two ways to get a job: 1) know someone or 2) have an incredible resume.
The best way to get a job is to know someone through networking where you can get an internal
referral. You still need a resume or a CV, but your referral from a trusted employee is going to mean
more than your resume, and your resume becomes a formality. Now if you don’t know someone, you
better have an amazing resume so you can get that interview. If you don’t have either, your chances
are pretty slim.

So, what makes a great resume? Glad you asked. There are lots of opinions and ‘experts’ on this
subject. What isn’t so commonly covered is what makes a great pharmacist resume? There are
three major components that make a pharmacist’s resume great: content, organization, and format. I
will discuss each of them.

Let’s start with content. Pharmacists have many achievements and accomplishments. What I
typically see in a resume is responsibilities. “Responsible for…” is a very passive phrase and doesn’t
show what you have achieved while being responsible. For instance, you are ‘responsible for’
maintaining inventory as a pharmacy manager. I bet you are constantly monitoring your inventory
and trying to reduce your carrying costs. By writing “Reduced pharmacy inventory from a 5 week
supply to a 2 week supply,” it paints a much larger picture of what you actually did. It also leads to
some great conversations during an interview. Remember that you not only want to leave a lasting
impression on the hiring manager, but you also want to make them realize that you can solve their
problems. Show the problems you have solved at your positions, and they will believe that you can
do that for them in the future. You are creating value for yourself as an employee. You are saying,
“Hire me! I can reduce your inventory and improve your bottom line.” You can do this for every point
on your resume. Use numbers and metrics where you can, and don’t be vague.

Work backwards. When you find a position that you want to apply for. Read the job posting and
description carefully. Read between the lines. What is important to the company? Can you figure out
what the main purpose of the position is? Now, is your resume aligned to match up with that
position? I frequently see pharmacists leaving off mundane day to day duties such as dispensing,
counseling, collaborating with prescribers, and supervising technicians. Just because it’s obvious
doesn’t mean you need to leave that off your resume. You want to make it through the ATS
(Applicant Tracking System) to get you to the interview. When companies use ATS, the software
program helps organize, weed out, and suggest potential candidates for an interview. If your resume
lacks the key words needed for the position, you will fall well below the threshold to even be
considered a good candidate.

 

Organization is also very important in a resume. We see so many pharmacists who put sections of
their resume in wrong places on the document. Even if you make it through the ATS, a real person
doesn’t actually spend much time scanning each resume for candidacy, so information placement is
key. Real estate is all about location, location, location and your resume real estate is no different.
You only have a few seconds to get someone’s attention, the most important information should be
top, front, and center. The following sections, in this order, should follow: a brief professional
summary with strengths and passions, skills with possible keywords for ATS, jobs in reverse
chronological order, education, professional trainings and licenses/certifications, and finally
professional affiliations and/or community involvement. By following this order, hiring managers will
see exactly the information they need to know in a well-organized manner while understanding your
professional experience and your life outside of pharmacy. It is valuable to show that you have a life
outside pharmacy and are invested in your community.

My favorite part about writing a resume is the formatting. Each and every one I create is different
with similarities between them. It should be the most formal document you create. Afterall, it is a
doctoral profession, so leave all the graphics out of your resume. It is certainly personal preference,
but here are some of my favorite formatting suggestions:

1. Pick a font and size and be consistent. Use a font most similar to Times New Roman.
2. Bold your position title, not the company name. You are the highlight, not the company you
work for.
3. Use a simple footer with your name, title, and page number.
4. Place a page break in a reasonable spot. Do not break in the middle of a job description.
5. Use margins to adjust how everything fits on a page.
6. Always save your resume as Your Name Resume Year (example: John Smith Resume
2018) and always send to an employer as an attachment in the application program or in an
email as a PDF to preserve formatting.

I don’t know anyone besides myself who likes to make a resume. It is time consuming, daunting, and
confusing. There are few good resources for pharmacists specifically and a ton of terrible resources
and advice available on the internet. So when do you do it yourself versus hiring a professional?
That’s a great question. I would say that if the above information I have given you is making you
anxious, it’s time to hire someone. I would also say that if you have been applying left and right and
aren’t getting any interviews or communication, it’s time to hire someone. After all, it’s a small price
to pay to get you in the right position. If you can’t hire someone to do the writing, make sure you
have a peer review it critically to give you feedback.

The last bit of advice I have is that you should constantly update your resume. Make time to update
it twice a year. Even if you are perfectly satisfied with your job and are not job hunting, it is so much
easier to take 15 minutes twice a year to add in your projects, promotions, presentations, and
achievements than it is to try to remember information from five years ago. Be ready to jump on an
opportunity when it arises. In this market, they won’t come up too often, so it is best to be prepared
and ready to go.

Ashley Gulyas, PharmD
Founder & Senior Pharmacy Resume Editor

Just a Pharmacist

By: Lisa King, RPh, Amazon Best Selling Author

 

I recently read about a speech that the American Pharmaceutical Association president gave about how many times we find ourselves as pharmacists saying ‘I’m just a pharmacist, community pharmacist, staff pharmacist.’ I never really thought about this as I was always proud to be a pharmacist. I had heard so many women in the past say to me ‘I’m just a mom or other title” when I told them about my career. I never thought I was one of those people who referred to myself as “Just A” but when it came to my career as a retail, staff pharmacist, I was guilty as charged. I married my high school sweetheart, graduated from pharmacy school, and soon started having children. I was alway just a mom and a pharmacist. I have always loved caring for my patients at the pharmacy and know everything about their families. It was always my goal to share a smile with a patient. I love to comfort a new mom and tell her I had been there when it came to sleepless nights. I enjoy sharing nutrition tips regarding the diet and exercise portion of a diagnosis. We all love to dream big and many pharmacy moms have a side hustle that helps them feel more complete. At times, we become frustrated that the pharmacy is taking us away from what we feel is our true life’s purpose. That may be an additional income stream or it may be just staying home with our children. Sometimes, you have to step back in gratitude and reflect on one of the main roles in your life as a pharmacist. I challenge you to take out a piece of paper and write down everything that you feel grateful for in your career. Think about what the career actually does for you and your family. Is it financial freedom to go to the movies, buy a new outfit, contribute to a college fund? Is it the ability to feel that you are actually changing people’s lives, whether that be your patients, interns or technicians? I guarantee you your heart will be warmed by doing this exercise on what you are grateful for in your pharmacy career. We all want to live the life that we desire, to live our life’s purpose and be the best version of ourselves. That life can be many things, and I want that life for myself as well. I love sharing information on health and wellbeing. However; at this time in my life, I am happy to include all of those things as part of who I am. This includes not being “just a pharmacist” but a pharmacist!

Five ways Artificial Intelligence will Change Medical Affairs

Artificial intelligence (AI) applications to the pharmaceutical industry have gotten a lot of attention. Recently, two AI drug design companies, Insilico Medicine and A2A Pharmaceuticals joined forces to bring to market a possible treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and other rare orphan diseases. Using AI to more rapidly discover optimal pre-clinical candidates may revolutionize the drug development process in the life sciences.

 

What AI can bring to the table is the ability to rapidly and accurately sort through massive amounts of data. This may very well revolutionize how competitive intelligence, drug discovery and stakeholder engagement take place as we know it. Among many functions that medical affairs is tasked with, an important one is stakeholder engagement with External Experts (EE) (formerly known as KOLs or Key Opinion Leaders). For Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs), who are the primary function engaging external stakeholders, there will likely be several changes.

(1) Multi-Channel Outreach- This will be enhanced with AI helping MSLs determine the most optimal ways to reach EE as well as what the most effective communication points and time to speak with an external stakeholder will be. Additionally, in combination with current KOL profiling and sophisticated CRM, companies will be able to better assess MSL performance through objective benchmarks and key indicators.

(2) Clinical Trials-MSLs are often involved in helping clinical recruit for patients and identify sites for company trials. AI will launch more sophisticated algorithms and predictive analytical tools which will be used to help find patients most likely to respond to interventions. By aggregating primary data, family history, genetics, and social media data to predict outcomes, clinical trials will be more effective and efficient minimizing risk to patients. Operationally, AI will facilitate better patient monitoring and real-time data gathering.

(3) Learning & Development-AI will personalize learning platforms and determine which learning styles are most effective for learners based on data gathered. This will presumably lead to more effective MSLs and more insightful discussions with external stakeholders. This will also help facilitate more enduring training and professional development for medical affairs professionals.

(4) Drug Development-Data has shown that it takes an average of 2 billion dollars to bring a drug to market. AI will undoubtedly reduce the time and costs needed to make this happen. AI may also help predict earlier on in the drug development process whether or not a drug candidate will be successful by sorting through massive amounts of data more efficiently.

(5) Label Expansion-By gathering large quantities of data, AI will help uncover possibilities for expanded indications a drug candidates may be optimal for after initial drug approval. With tens of millions of available data points in a post-marketing setting, AI may be able to determine if a certain drug could be effective in a particular patient population.

Author:

Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs

http://www.medicalaffairsspecialist.org

When the Pharmacist becomes the Patient: My Miscarriage Story

When the Pharmacist becomes the Patient: My Miscarriage Story

By Laura Challen

As pharmacists, we pledge to devote ourselves to a lifetime of service to others… to ensure optimal outcomes for our patients. But what happens when the tables are turned and we become the patient? What happens when we become the patient that goes through the “unmentionable”? This wasn’t on my radar at all… and I’ll never forget the moment my role switched.

It was a cool morning in November and I had been busy at work all morning. I took an early lunch break to quickly make my 16 week OB checkup and felt annoyed when the appointments were running late. I sat in the waiting room, frantically checking email to see what I missed. Why was I even there? I had two beautiful sons at home, had “passed” the genetic screen a few weeks before, had received the “all clear” after the 12 week appointment, and had announced the pregnancy on social media after our gender reveal. I didn’t drink alcohol, watched my caffeine intake, tried to eat balanced meals… this was just another check box. Go to the 16 week checkup and rush back to work. I finally made it into the exam room and was chatting with my doctor. We continued chatting while she put the fetal Doppler on my stomach to find baby’s heartbeat. After what seemed like forever of her trying to find the heartbeat, I asked her “Should I freak out yet?” She calmly said, “No… I bet he’s just super active and I can’t find him… he just won himself an ultrasound”. It took 30 minutes for me to get the ultrasound. I sat quietly alone in the waiting room, debating if I call my husband. Why should I call and worry him? The doctor told me not to freak out … everything was “probably” fine… it had always been fine before. It was my turn and I slowly made my way onto the ultrasound table. The technician finally announced “OK, I’m going to light up the blood flow now”. I’ll never forget how on the monitor all around the baby lit up, but baby remained dark. I calmly asked, “He’s supposed to light up… isn’t he?”… and all the technician could say was “I’m so sorry”. My world stopped, my heart skipped several beats, and it felt like the walls started closing in. Little did I know that I was now the patient that needed caring for and was no longer the one providing care and answers. I had never appreciated the small touch, the kind words and the need for privacy so much as those first moments. Once I had called my husband, completely broke down and then slightly gathered myself, the technician ushered me through back doors and back hallways to see the doctor again. I’ve never appreciated bypassing a busy, happy OB waiting room more than that moment. The nurse put me in an empty exam room and my doctor rushed in. She too looked devastated and shocked. Her sincerity and honesty struck me. I was now asking questions I had never thought of before… this wasn’t something I had studied or mastered in school… this wasn’t something that anyone talks about. I looked to my doctor to provide guidance and steer me on the best path. Later, when I broke down crying in the parking lot, I’ve never felt so much gratitude to the kind stranger that stopped to see if I needed help. I’m not normally one to hug strangers, but when she asked permission to hug me, I immediately agreed and almost felt relief.

I vaguely remember both the doctor and technician estimating that baby had died three weeks prior to my ultrasound, and since my body had not started to pass him naturally, I had to either be admitted or have a surgical procedure to remove him. After weighing my options, I chose to deliver the baby instead of enduring a procedure. A big factor in this decision was choosing the option that would help the most with my closure. Prior to this experience, I had never asked if my hospital was equipped to handle this type of situation, after all, pregnancy loss isn’t talked about. This was and still is such a taboo topic—even though 1 in 4 pregnancies are lost. I had no idea that my hospital had an entire program that focused just on pregnancy and infant loss. They provided me with a counselor, followed me closely during my hospital admission, and provided much needed emotional support. Small little touches, like putting a red leaf on my hospital door to alert staff that baby was no longer alive, made a long lasting impression. My labor and delivery took a total of 32 long hours and my total hospital stay lasted 5 days. I was continuously amazed at how kind and gentle the hospital staff treated me at every encounter, even when I felt like I was requiring much more care than most. I quickly learned that there wasn’t a script or protocol for pregnancy loss. Everyone’s loss is different, and what works is making decisions that are best for your family and situation. One example of this was whether or not to hold baby after delivery. My hospital counselor shared that she had “never met a mother that regretted holding her baby”. As hard as that moment was… she was right. I’ll never regret holding and admiring baby Connor. To me, he was perfect.

Days, weeks and months have now passed. It was the small gestures from family, friends, and coworkers that carried us through those first few weeks. Cards, meals, keepsakes helped, but looking back—allowing me to say Connor’s name out loud helped the most. As cliché as it sounds, I’ve learned that time does help lessen the pain… but a heart never forgets. I hope that you are never in this situation… but if you are: know that you aren’t alone.

Happy FIRST Birthday to Pharmacist Moms!

 

It is hard to believe that just one year ago today, I was lying in bed feeling guilty for working and missing out on yet another baseball game for my son. I had attended the majority of his sporting events; however, it still bothered me that I missed this one. In fact, I remember that particular evening vividly;  I couldn’t fall asleep.

 

Eventually I got up and walked out of my room into my kids’ bedrooms just to “look” at them. You know…when your kid is sleeping and you get to watch them…best feeling in the world right??? But that night something was different. I knew I needed some support. Was I working too much at the expense of my children? Was I missing out on them growing up? Did they wonder why I traveled? Did they wonder why I had to work evenings or weekends sometimes?

 

At that point, I knew I needed to speak to someone even though it was pretty late in the evening. I knew I was struggling with work/life balance. Why did I feel so bad when I was at work and missed my kids, and then when I was with my kids I felt that I wasn’t giving my all to my job or my profession? I couldn’t be the only one who felt that way. It also wasn’t only about work. I was a member of a local gym and although I paid for my membership each and every month, I hardly attended because of the guilt. I felt so bad that I was already leaving my kids for work so how could I possibly leave the house to go work out and have me time?? I knew I wasn’t the only one to feel this way.

 

Of course, since I couldn’t sleep I picked up my phone (yes I know that just makes insomnia worse LOL but at this point I wasn’t a health care professional I was a mom),  and I opened up Facebook. I began scrolling through some of my local Facebook mom groups and reading them to see if maybe someone else already posted about work/life balance and I could relate to someone but I couldn’t find anything. I also wanted to hear what other pharmacists were doing and not doing and how they managed to work full-time, stay fit, eat right, maintain a marriage and raise children. What was the secret? Could you even do that?? Was it possible?

 

 

 

Pharmacist Moms Group is Born

I decided to start a group on Facebook called the “Pharmacist Moms Group”…yes I know not really an original name but it worked :-). It started as a group of 50 people (moms I went to pharmacy school with, did residency with or worked with throughout my career), and it quickly became a support network. In a matter of a month it grew to over 1000 members who were asking each other for recipes, work-life balance questions, clinical questions, career questions, money questions, insurance questions, vitamin questions, board certification questions and much more. As a pharmacist mom, I was always passionate about the field of pharmacy, but I struggled between the obligation of working and raising my family. I have found that this group brought me balance, energy, education and most importantly a new purpose and passion that was real. Bringing me happiness by  supporting others who are just like me…who went to school for 6+ years after high school, who pulled overnights to study, who moved thousands of miles for an education, who did residencies, did fellowships, took call, worked evenings, worked overnights, and looked at as the #1 resource by millions of people all over the world. Each day I learn something new from these amazing ladies.

 

I needed this group…let me rephrase that….we needed this group. As pharmacist moms, we are often in our silos but together we are that much greater. We are not just the moms of our own children, we are the moms who help other moms decide which cold medicine to give their child. We are the moms who help other moms select which baby formula may be best if they can no longer nurse. We are the moms who are calculating dosing behind the doors in a dark cold basement for a sick child. We are the moms competing for jobs in a culture dominated by Caucasian males. We are the moms who are pumping while we are working at the same time. We are the moms who are the only pharmacist on a team on rounds at 6am each day. We are the moms who don’t get a lunch break. We are the moms who stay late and don’t get paid. Most importantly, we are the moms who America trusts and we are the moms trying to raise our own families. We are pharmacist moms and we are a fierce and strong!

 

 Happy Birthday to my Pharmacist Mom tribe. We are 10,000+ Pharmacist Moms in just one year!! So excited for the future…

Are You a Pharmacist and a Mom?

mother and baby

Pharmacy has been touted as one of the best careers for women.1 In 2016, of the over 14,000 PharmD degrees awarded, approximately 61% were to women. Currently, more women practice in pharmacy than men, and it is expected that the number of women practicing will continue to rise.2

Many of these women are mothers. They are young mothers with newborns, expecting moms with children at home and in their bellies, mothers with grown children and some are mothers of mothers (i.e. grandmothers). They are mothers with one child, multiple children, adopted children, children conceived naturally, and children conceived from fertility treatments. One thing that all of these women have in common is they are all mothers who are pharmacists.

At around 11:00 p.m. one evening in spring 2017, my husband and children were fast asleep, but I laid awake in bed feeling terribly guilty because I worked past 6:30 p.m. and missed my son’s baseball game. The guilt would not subside, and I could not sleep. I began to think how I must not be the only pharmacist mom who has felt this way. There must be others who have worked late and missed an event for their child(ren). I wondered how did they cope? So I did what any other mom in 2017 does when they can’t sleep…I began to scroll Facebook.

I was a member of multiple mom groups for my town and area, but I decided I wanted to find and consult with other moms who had similar careers to me. I went out on a limb and decided to start a Facebook group called the Pharmacist Moms Group. I invited ~50 of my Facebook friends who were also pharmacist moms, and I let them know about my guilt. Within minutes, I had replies and began to feel much better. Then the group just began to grow organically. The pharmacist moms continued to invite their pharmacist mom friends and each day more pharmacist moms were invited to the group by their friends. Within 6 months the group reached more than 2000 very active members.

As a pharmacist, I often felt that I was operating in silo, but these moms have made me realize I am not. We discuss issues related to child rearing, new cooking/baking recipes, different careers paths within pharmacy, job opportunities, losing a spouse, being a single mom, going thru cancer treatments, the pharmacy bubble, job opportunities, networking and much more. We have even had some academic pharmacists conduct a research survey on the group. Some pharmacists have posted questions about medication dosing, resources and about preparation for job interviews. Others discussed board certification examinations or basic child rearing.

The Pharmacist Moms Group is not just a group but rather a movement and a full support system. We are currently trying to establish a National Women’s Pharmacist Day and hope to finalize a date in the near future. If you are a mom and a pharmacist, I encourage you to join by checking out the link here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1969320613289037/. The group needs you! Female pharmacists are the future of this profession and so are pharmacist moms! We cannot do this alone.

References
1.        http://fortune.com/2013/03/11/5-professions-ruled-by-women/
2.        http://www.aacp.org/about/Pages/Vitalstats.aspx