A little advice from The Redheaded Pharmacist... I’ve been asked more than a couple of questions lately by pharmacy students that are starting rotations or finishing up school and wondering how they should approach the beginning of their working careers. They want to know who to sign with and what to askin any job interview. So I thought I’d give a few pointers for anyone in that situation struggling with what to do next. 1. Talk to people. Whether it’s a family member you trust, pharmacists you know from work, or even some of your classmates it can help simply to talk with someone about your career path and your employment choices. Getting other perspectives is priceless. This can only help you in the end make the best decision for your future. Even that crazy floater with the red hair might just know a thing or two about the employment decision making process and could have some valuable advice for you if you just ask! 2. Think big picture. This is important for everyone but especially if you have a family already coming out of pharmacy school. The employment decisions you make and the resulting working schedule and demands that are put on you not only affects you as an individual pharmacist but also impacts a spouse and/or kids if you have them. Discuss you options with the family like you would any other major decision. 3. Get everything in writing. This point really should be #1. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to a pharmacist who was promised X when they were hired by Chain Y and then Chain Y comes back later and tries to alter/eliminate whatever benefit/promise that was agreed upon at the time of hire. It has happened to me and to lots of other pharmacists too. Certain major employers within the retail pharmacy world will promise you literally anything to get you to sign on the line. Don’t fall for it. Get everything a potential employer promises in writing and keep a copy of that document on file just in case you need it later. Also, try and be as specific as possible with your offer letter so you will have things like vacation policies and breaks spelled out in your contract before you work the first day for an employer. This advice can apply to anyone no matter how many years you’ve been a pharmacist. 4. Don’t assume. One of the biggest assumptions I see students make is that the employer they work for in school is assumed to be their best option for employment after school as a pharmacist. Nothing could be further from the truth. I too fell into the trap of the idea that I already knew the company I worked for as a technician and intern in school and they could guarantee me a job after school so that is the right move to make isn’t it? Um no, without naming this company my choice for employment right out of school turned out to be one of the worst decisions I’ve made in my career. Familiarity and security are comforting for new graduates but they aren’t worth the grief you will experience if you choose the wrong path after school. Trust me, look at all your options and pick what will be the best for you. 5. Be flexibile. There are a lot of new graduates worried about the current job market for pharmacists. Sure, it is more challenging than it has been in years but there are still jobs out there for willing pharmacists. I think that if you are more flexible with your potential areas of practice and/or with where you want to work in the country you can find that job that is right for you. Demanding certain positions or limiting yourself geographically when job hunting might make the process of finding employment more challenging for you. Be flexible and have an open mind. Maybe that small community hospital is a good starting job that will lead to that dream clinical position in the big teaching hospital you desire down the road. Keep your options open and see where it leads you. 6.Try not to stress. Sure it is a big deal to graduate and find that job so you can start paying down those student loans. Sure, most students graduating are anxiously waiting to get some positive cash flow after years of hard work in pharmacy school. But try not to stress too much about the boards or the job market if that is possible. Enjoy and appreciate your accomplishments to this point and realize that things will work out and that you are joining a great profession. Excessive worry does nothing to help a situation like finding a job. Take the steps necessary to become employed as a pharmacist and enjoy the ride instead of worrying about everything. You will be happier and healthier in the end. 7. Use the resources available to you. Many pharmacy organizations have job postings and networking opportunities. Pharmacy schools often have employment alerts for students and graduates informing them of job opportunities. Network with the pharmacists you already know from work and school about job opportunities. Use the internet or any other resource you have to find the position and employment you desire. Find a staffing company or head hunter that can help place you in the position you are looking for out of school. There are many ways to find what you are looking for if you put forth some effort. To read entire blog post go to The Redheaded Pharmacist