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Career Advice articles

Winning Tips for Residency Applicants from an Interviewer

Pharmacy students in their last year of Pharmacy school are in the midst of the busiest time of year, the PGY1 residency match. Not only are pharmacy students busy, but we are busy as a clinical pharmacists prepping for another year of deciding who will be in our programs. Last year, there were 4864 total pharmacy students looking to fill with 3332 total positions. 

How can you stand out from the crowd looking for a residency?

Do not make the mistake of giving answers that you find if you googled the question. Be authentic.You have to stand-out somehow and not only are your grades and CV important, but your personality has to come through somehow. 

Research the program and know the strengths and even the weaknesses. You will know if you are competitive for a particular program just by landing the interview. Practice ahead of time with a mock interview and practice how you will answer questions. Alsomhave a couple of questions to ask the interviewer(s).

Make a good first impression with professional attire, comfortable eye contact, and a firm handshake. If you do not know an answer should you get a question on something clinical that you are unaware of, we may be also judging how you handle pressure. Be honest you don't know and maybe even tell me where you would look for the answer.

Reach out to the current pharmacy residents and ask them questions. They can give you all kinds of inside information! You may find out you would be a good fit by what they say or a bad fit and not even consider ranking a program. 

Networking is not only important in finding a job in pharmacy today, it is also important in landing an interview for a residency. Hopefully you have already started early and took the whole process seriously with grades and building your CV, but if your past isn't as strong as you had hoped, networking can maybe send you to the next level.

Do not forget to write thank you notes as soon as you can. Even if you do not plan on ranking a particular program, it is a professional touch that is memorable. You may need to network later, after all! 

Good luck heading into the match this Spring! 

By: Beth Lofgren

Please click HERE to read this article.

Source: CSHP CareerSource-Feb 2017

Top 6 Regrets During Pharmacy School 

Lately I've been doing a lot of reflecting and trying to help people who may be in the beginning of their career, and I want to share some of the mistakes I made during the beginning of my graduate school.

Behind every great hero is a mentor-figure, like Obi-Wan Kenobi or Gandalf. Although I may not be an actual sage, I would love to be a virtual mentor for the next generation and impart some of the hard lessons that I learned. So, for your learning pleasure, here is a list of my 6 pharmacy school regrets:

Regret No. 1: Not reading outside pharmacy material

Regret No. 2: Not finding enough real-world experience

Regret No. 3: Focusing so much on grades

Regret No. 4: Waiting until P3 year to fully realize my career path

Regret No 5: not getting enough work experience. 

Regret No. 6: Not conquering procrastination

By: Alex Barker

Source: CSHP CareerSource, December 2016

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A New Beginning, A New Journey

I wanted to share some of the advice I received from ASHP staff for finding a job you love.

1. Look at each step of your pharmacy journey as an adventure. Your path may not be straight and narrow, but you can learn something from each experience. You can use each position to help you determine your true passions within the pharmacy profession. Stay flexible. 

2. Practice makes perfect. You are not supposed to know everything on your first dau in a new position. Patience is important in helping you achieve success. Sometimes you will have to fail a few times before you succeed. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave 2,500 speeches before he gave his most famous " I Have a Dream" speech.

3. Continue your involvement in ASHP throughout your career. ASHP can provide you with encouragement, mentorsm mentees, friends all over the country, education advancement opportunities, and so much more. 

4. Strive to advance our profession in each of your positions. The ASHP Government Affairs Division says, "If you are not on the bus, you are under it."

5. Have fun with each step in your journey

By: Kelsey Stephens

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Source: ASHP Connect

Networking: The ability to make yourself Uncomfortable

So often when we use the term networking we think of "pressing the flesh", elevator speeches," and in general promoting of one's self. I've found that for  for true networking to occur one has to give of oneself, and maybe not so ready to be on the take. Getting involved in your community and giving back is the most effective way I've found to meet those people who can build your career. Get involved in your profession-take part in county, state, or national organizations-and become that "go to pharmacist in your community. Getting involved in civic organization, such as youth organizations, chamber of commerce, and your church, ios a great way to build trust in your community. 

Networking involves the abiility to make yourself "uncomfortable," not sitting with your acquaintances at dinner meetings but by talking with someone you have not met. Everyone is looking for a common thread when they meet someone new. If it is a non-professional meeting I seldom ask people their profession, because it categorizes them too quickly. I'd rather know about their hobbies and passions rather than how they make their money

By: Peter A. Kreckel

Source: CSHP Career Source, November 2016

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Peer Leadership for pharmacy students

Newly graduated pharmacists face a unique task. When they enter the career field, they walk into an evolving profession that will offer them opportunities to turn both personal and professional challenges into successes. There are many ways that pharmacy students can prepare for these opportunities. Serving as a leader as a pharmacy student provides chances for development of many unique skills that are often not attainable otherwise. However, with the growing complexity of pharmacy school curricula, students require preparation for the challenges they may face on the personal and organizational levels regardless of a desire to pursue a formal leadership position. The ACPE 2016 standards endorse the importance of leadership development, listing leadership as a key element of students' personal and professional development. 

Benefits of leadership: Although the value of a stellar CV is undeniable, the benefits of peer leadership in pharmacy school reach far beyond looking good on paper for future employers and residency directors. Peer leadership helps students to sharpen their focus, develops them into pharmacists ready to lead an evolving profession, and motivates them to perform well in the pharmacy curriculum.

Peer leadership affords opportunities to experience new areas of pharmacy practice and make new connections, helping to guide pharmacy students as they determine where they fit in the profession. Student leaders involved at the local, state, and national levels build bridges with both practicing pharmacists who can shed light on day-to-day work experiences in different settings and with pharmacy students who may be future colleagues. 

How to transition from a student to a pharmacist 

This time of year is a stressful time for pharmacy students; especially those in their fourth professional year. Graduation is just around the corner, and APPE rotations are in full swing. Many students are in the middle of residency interviews whiloe many others are polishing their CVs in preparation for life after pharmacy school. No matter where a student's careerpath leads after graduation, one thing is true; a phsrmacy student must eventually transition to a pharmacist. But this shift in mindset is difficult. Changing your self-view from "student: to "pharmacist" can be surprisingly tough; I personally think I didnt "get it" until U had completed most of my PGY1 residency. Most P4 students will grapple with this transition easier for you, here are 3 things I learned during my own transition from student to pharmacist

1. Take an active role in patient care

2. Hone your communication skills

3. Understand what a pharmacist contributes to patient care

 By Brandon Dyson, PharmD, BCPS

Source: pharmacy times

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