It has been just over 3 months since I lost my job due to a pharmacy closing. They could not promise me a set schedule or any guaranteed hours, so I had to part ways with them. However, I am beginning to get somewhat discouraged. I live in an area that is saturated with pharmacists due to 6 schools of pharmacy. I want to stay positive, but it is getting hard. What should I do?
Thanks for reaching out. You are not alone. We need to be honest about the current situation within our profession and the challenges that the over-supply of pharmacists has created in many markets around the country. A recent article in Healthcare Analytics News, speaking about the move of Amazon into the pharmacy space, makes mention of the “bleakness for pharmacy school grads and working pharmacists.”
This is an issue which every pharmacist should be thinking about. Being in a jobless situation is one of the most difficult things we can face professionally. I commend you for having the courage to reach out and speak up. I will do my best to help you.
The first thing you need to do, in my opinion, is to get some sort of income stream activated as quickly as possible, even if it means a long commute, working part-time or per diem, or taking a floating job at multiple sites. The best way to do this is to start with your own connections in the profession. Do you have a former colleague you could reach out to? A past boss who may be looking for a temp? Your network is critical at this point.
You also may need to brush up on your interviewing skills if it has been a long time since you have done any interviewing for a job. There are literally hundreds of articles online about what to do, and not do, at a job interview. Read a number of these articles to begin preparing for your interviews.
It is critical that you stay very positive during this time, particularly if you have any sort of online social media sites that you use. Now is a great time to share valuable information about news related to your professional career. Add insightful comments to show your passion for your work. Employers will look at the things you have done and said online, so your online activity serves as a “first impression” that will help hiring managers figure out who you are. Never come off as angry, bitter, resentful or disagreeable in your online presentation.
Sharpen your resume. Tighten it up to a well-written 2-page (1 sheet: front/back) summary of your professional strengths and accomplishments (don’t be shy), job history, education and credentials. Whenever possible, include concrete facts, numbers, and specific improvements which you were personally responsible for. You can look online for templates and examples of what a good resume should look like today.
You will need to develop a daily routine when it comes to your job search. It can get overwhelming quickly when you consider the number of postings you find online. Target your search to those employers where you are likely to bring the most value quickly. Keep careful records of your search activities. You should also figure out your strengths when it comes to looking for a job and try to maximize that advantage. For example, do you present very well in-person and have strong one-on-one communication skills? Then make a point to actually visit some potential employers and drop off your resume, looking for a chance to meet and greet anyone who may be involved in the hiring process.
Don’t panic. There are great companies like Pharmaceutical Strategies which are dedicated to helping employers and pharmacists find a great match. With patience and persistence your next great job is just around the corner. I appreciate your letter and hope some of this advice will serve you well.
Jason Poquette RPh