I thought I might share my experience. I'll try to not make it too long, but if it is I do apologize in advance. I graduated from pharmacy school May 2017 and obtained my Pharm.D. I knew that wasn't enough so I took some time off and studied for both my Naplex and MPJE (Pharmacy State Law Exam). It took me 6 months to be really prepared for the Naplex, and at least 4 weeks for the MPJE. Once I passed both exams and obtained my license, I thought I didn't have anything to worry about. I got a reality check soon after as soon as I started applying for jobs. Most of the retail and hospital required some years of experience, or if you had your foot in the door already by working at that particular setting from the start. I took my chance and applied. Of course I got rejected and got responses like you don't fit what we are looking for to fill this position etc.. So I decided starting from February of 2018 to volunteer at a pharmacy in a hospital that I'm familiar with and where the pharmacy team knows me already since I completed IPPE and APPE rotations at that particular site. Once I started volunteering I started with the basics from filling medication orders, maintaining crash carts, completing cycle counts, and pulling expired meds from the carousel. I knew all along I wanted to become a clinical pharmacist and work at a hospital. I thought just applying for it since some institutions didn't require experience was the way to go, but I wasn't as lucky as some of my classmates.
So I decided to do a PGY-1 Pharmacy Residency which will provide me with a platform and open doors for me and help make my dream a reality. Mind you I'll mention this now, I did apply for residencies after graduating pharmacy school, but I only had two interviews and didn't match. So this was my second time applying for residency after I passed my boards. This time, I wanted to be better prepared for my interviews and improve my presentation plus communication skills. I sought out guidance from the pharmacists in the pharmacy I was volunteering at. They helped me research questions and find out why I want to do a residency. What makes me standout from the rest? They even helped me restructure my Curriculum Vitae (CV) as well as give me good letters of recommendations. So I applied, and of course they were one of the residencies I applied to. With their help I was able to acquire 7 interviews a lot better than last time, and I went into the interviews with a lot of confidence. I was fortunate to match with them since they were my top choice. I did that for a year, obtained my Consultant Pharmacist license, presented at Mid-Year, taught a CE course for Southeastern Society Health-Systems Pharmacists, presented at my states residency conference, and got paid with my stipend. Now I have something to show on my CV.
After completing and graduating from my PGY-1 Residency, I took some time off and went to Europe. I needed that break. When I came back, it was back to reality. I started applying again, but I still found out I was getting rejected. So I went back to the basics and it started with my CV. I looked at it over again. I realized that I'm no longer a student or a resident, but a professional now. So I did some research and looked online for a better template to fix my CV. Once I found the template that works I structured my CV again and utilized that CV for my job applications. What came next was like 8 phone interviews (6 with recruiter and 2 with the director of pharmacy), and 3 onsite interviews (1 of the 3 I skipped the phone interview and went onsite, the other the director personally invited me onsite). Again I did my research on the company and hospital and interviewing wasn't bad for me since I kept doing it. After all that, I'm proud to let you all know that I received an offer for a Per Diem position as a clinical pharmacist at one location, then I received an offer for a fulltime clinical pharmacist position at another location. I really counted my blessings and the hard work I put in to get where I am today.
The pharmacy profession is becoming more saturated and competitive, but it is also growing and rapidly expanding in a good way. It is never too late no matter what age you are. Other people will not be like me and have different circumstances which I completely understand. I'm 31 years old, not married, and don't have kids so it was manageable for me. Again everyone is different, but it is never too late to find something because we are all striving towards the same goals and desires. A close friend and classmate of mine was 42 when he started the pharmacy program, has two kids, was 46 years old when he graduated, and 47 by the time he got his license. Again, don't despair. We will all find something. I thought I could share a learning experience with the bumps in the road for all of you. What I also want you all to get out of this is to turn a negative into a positive.
Thank you for reading and listening if you chose to.