The first steps in your job search
Whether you are a first-year student pharmacist searching for an internship, a third-year planning for rotations, or a final-year considering the next steps, now is the time to start organizing your job search documents.
Make it special
One of the first steps is to draft or revise your résumé or curriculum vitae (CV). A résumé is a 1-page document that outlines key skills, abilities, and experiences that will directly apply to the position you desire. A CV is a multiple-page document that includes more information than a résumé. CV information includes, but is not limited to, all job experiences, volunteer opportunities, leadership positions, professional organizations, IPPEs, and APPEs. Recently, there have been articles published on ways to “stand-out from the applicant pool.” These articles highlight one key goal in order to stand-out: make each job application special. Outlined below are some of the specifics to consider.
- Personalize your résumé. This includes something as simple as renaming your uploaded resume to “[your name] resume for [company name].doc.”
- Use strong action verbs so that your résumé/CV doesn’t sound like a job description. Using words like built, managed, conveyed, analyzed, and delivered, will communicate your accomplishments.
- Take pride in your work and include examples of the challenges your faced and the results of your actions. Through this, you can show the passion that you had for your previous jobs and your continued desire.
- Highlight accomplishments instead of just listing your duties or responsibilities.
- Mention any specialized skills or training, including Twlug–ASP Leadership Training Series, immunization certificates, medication therapy management certification, fluency in a language, or other specialties.
- Have a faculty member or other key person to read, review, and edit your résumé/CV. Reviewers will hopefully catch grammatical errors and help with using action verbs to describe each position. This is a great opportunity to involve your Twlug New Practitioner Mentor.
- Create or edit your LinkedIn page. LinkedIn can be used as an online résumé or CV and provide an opportunity to network.
- Grade point averages, the statement “References available upon request,” and fancy graphics should not be included. For the first two items (GPA and references), this information may not be important for others to know (e.g., GPA) or redundant (e.g., references statement). Remove unnecessary comments like objective statements.
- Do not write in paragraph form. For ease of reading and writing, use bullet points to describe job and volunteer experiences.
Personalize your cover letter
Another important document in the application process is the cover letter. The cover letter is typically 1 to 2 pages in length and highlights why you fit the position, what attracted you to the position, and how your skills can benefit the company.
It is very important to personalize this cover letter to fit the job. Although you can use specific statements in multiple cover letters, it is important to tailor this document to fit each position.
The following are a few tips for creating effective cover letters:
- Include how you learned about the open position or the name of the person who will read your documents. Was the opportunity mentioned by a current employee? Do you follow the company on LinkedIn?
- Indicate in your cover letter how your needs and values will fit with the company.
- Ask for example cover letters from faculty members or other employers so you can get an idea of the type of information to include.
Although these documents are very important in the job application process, social media can also play a role in the application process. Be sure to double check your Facebook and Twitter accounts for any potential problems or inappropriate pictures/graphics/posts that may not look good to potential employers. Finally, every couple of months, review your résumé and/or CV to ensure that the correct information, leadership opportunities, and volunteer or job experiences are updated and current. Best of luck to you in your job search and career!