pharmacist at her desk

Writing a Pharmacist Resume That Works

Our Prescription for Success

By Erin Coursey, iHire, LLC

Even for pharmacy professionals who spend their days interacting with clients and other team members, effectively communicating with future employers through a resume can be difficult and overwhelming. Plus, with many roles involving the same duties (verifying/dispensing medications, educating customers, maintaining patient records, managing inventory…etc.), how can you make your pharmacist resume stand out from the crowd?

This guide will walk you through the process of writing a pharmacy resume section-by-section to get ahead of the competition.

 

Title & Summary

After a traditional header with your contact information and target job title, create a 3–5 sentence summary of your greatest professional strengths, career highlights, and hard and soft skills. This is your first chance to make a strong impression on the hiring manager, so it’s important to make it clear what makes you exceptional. Have you worked with diverse populations? Are you familiar in more than one pharmacy environment (community, retail, hospital, etc.)? What motivates you to do what you do?

Example:

Summary: Versatile, progress-focused, and quality-centered Pharmacist with diverse leadership experience. Broad background within hospital, LTC, and community pharmacy settings; knowledgeable in inpatient and outpatient care needs. Valued drug information resource and interdisciplinary team member with collaborative attitude.

 

Core Competencies

After the summary, set off a list 10–15 key skills you bring to the table. This section is primarily designed to boost your resume’s compatibility with applicant tracking systems (ATSs), and so may involve the more common skills you expect to see on any pharmacy resume.

While you should aim to tweak the entire resume for each position you apply for, the core competencies section is particularly versatile. Add or subtract keywords to increase your chances of getting past the robots. Examples include:

  1. Patient Counseling
  2. Prescription Verification & Dispensing
  3. Inventory Control
  4. Process Improvement
  5. Patient Satisfaction
  6. Community Education
  7. Provider Relations
  8. Regulatory Compliance
  9. Compounding
  10. Medication Therapy Management (MTM)

You should also include a list of computer skills. When writing a pharmacist resume, iHire’s resume experts frequently separate this list from other core competencies with a small amount of white space. Because pharmacists typically have extensive knowledge of prescription processing and inventory software, a list of software capabilities can easily grow too long to include in the 10–15 core competencies section.

 

Professional Experience

The first step in preparing your professional experience section is to decide which of the three major resume formats best suits your needs. For most pharmacists, a chronological resume format is the right strategy. These traditional resumes list your previous jobs in reverse chronological order, with the employer information and dates of employment followed by a description of day-to-day job duties and bullet point achievements.

 

 

While the chronological format illustrated above is the most common choice, it is not the only option. Career changers, those who have many previous jobs to cover, and recent graduates with little or no relevant work experience might consider a different approach. Functional and hybrid formats strategically emphasize your accomplishments and skills over the details of specific prior positions you’ve held.

When writing out your job descriptions, try to focus the bulk of your job duties to reflect the position you are applying for. For example, a hospital pharmacy will be much more interested in a pharmacist who stresses their clinical expertise than one who emphasizes their ability to increase revenue.

Finally, make sure you avoid repeating the same duties for every position. No hiring manager is interested in listening to a broken record, so find a way to vary your descriptions!

 

Achievements

Achievements are the substance of your resume, proving that you bring real, tangible value to your employers. Whether you plan to push your accomplishments to the top of your resume in a Career Highlights section or chose to call them out below each job description, the elements of a great achievement statement are always the same.

Each accomplishment should be comprised of an action and result. Tell hiring managers what you did and how you knew it was successful. The strongest achievement statements include measurable outcomes. Concrete results allow hiring managers to visualize what similar successes could do for their organizations if they bring you on board. If you don’t have access to the exact business impact of your work, take your best guess and add “approximately” or “~” to show you’re estimating.

For example:

Instead of saying: Dispensed medications quickly.

Try saying: Reduced wait times by ~25% while improving patient safety.

 

Education & Professional Development

Include all of your degrees and the school at which you received them. Graduation years are only necessary if they occurred within the last five years. You might also include academic honors and awards here, but be careful not to overshadow important work experience. Note professional development only when relevant to the position you are applying for.

 

Credentials & Professional Memberships

A section for credentials is an essential piece of any pharmacist resume. Include your state license(s) as well as any certifications, national credentials, etc.

Professional memberships may be included in the same section as credentials or separated into their own area, depending on how much space you have available. These show employers that you are up-to-date in current trends in your field and are dedicated to your work.

 

Additional Sections

Consider including these sections depending on how relevant they are to your situation and the specific job you are applying for. Don’t forget to do some research on the potential employer to see if the company’s mission or values align with something else in your life.

Possible supplementary sections to consider:

  • Presentations & Publications
  • Awards
  • Volunteerism

 

Writing a pharmacist resume is no small undertaking, but it’s important not to fall into the trap of a one-size-fits-all resume. Take a break from recycling sample pharmacy resumes you find online and use this guide to create one that truly shows off your potential.

Still struggling? Leave it to the experts. For a sample of what iHire’s certified resume writers can do, check out the iHirePharmacy Resume Services page.


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