When is the last time you pulled out your resume and revised it? Are you 20 years into your career and still have your rotations from pharmacy school in your work history? Have you been hired and left one or more companies since you last refreshed it? Does it reflect your most current accomplishments and career goals? If you are like most pharmacists, your resume is probably a little out of date. But that is okay. Now is a great time to invest some energy into improving it.
Your resume is your career in a nutshell. A resume should communicate your goals and accomplishments in a style that reflects your professionalism and personality. Your resume tells a lot about how seriously you take your job and what your future employer might expect from you. How well you communicate in a resume may reflect your communication skills in the rest of life. And because your career goals and accomplishments should be growing and maturing, your resume should regularly change as well.
One important factor often overlooked in resume creation is the use of critical keywords. Many employers use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to weed through resumes and find the best matches for their open positions. You may be a great fit, but without the appropriate keywords you might be getting overlooked. I recommend reading closely the “qualifications” sections of several job postings for positions that you would like. Then be sure to include language in your resume that reflects some of the important words in these job postings.
Another key ingredient to a successful resume is to lead with a strong, well-worded, summary of your skills. Everyone is busy, including the hiring manager reading your resume. Don’t beat around the bush. Marshall an army of powerful verbs and engaging adjectives to arrest the attention of your reader. Tell your prospective employer exactly what you are capable of. Don’t be shy. You only have a few moments to capture their attention enough to get you a face to face interview. Don’t hold back.
And I don’t recommend calling this opening section your “objective” anymore. That is old school. And frankly it puts the priority in the wrong place. An objective is about what YOU want. But this job is all about what the employer wants.
Organization is very important. In my opinion, your work experience should begin with your most current job, followed by your previous work. Use bullet points and sharp statements to highlight what you achieved in these roles. The font should be a normal, readable type in a size that the average person can manage without difficulty. If you look at your resume from a little distance, you should see a pleasant symmetry and order to the way the information flows.
And, of course, make sure your contact information is crystal clear. Your name, address, best email and phone should be easy to read at the top.
Last, but not least, proofread the whole thing several times. Have a friend look it over as well. And most importantly, share it with a respected staffing and recruiting firm like Pharmaceutical Strategies. The best time to perfect that resume is now. Even if you don’t currently want a new job, it is still a good idea to keep your resume current.