Here’s another guest post by Alex Barker, from the Happy PharmD.   A great post for pharmacists looking to polish their resumes.

Getting a pharmacy job wasn’t always so hard.

Twenty years ago, many community pharmacies offered, in the USA, six-figure incomes, plus a brand new car.

That was before the number of pharmacy schools almost doubled, and before the reports of pharmacist shortages drew record numbers of students to pharmacy school.

Now, in the wake of a saturated job market, competition for jobs is fierce; so fierce, in fact, that a single job opening often attracts hundreds of applicants.

Given those odds, you simply cannot afford to submit a less-than-stellar resume. Unfortunately, most pharmacists never hear back from prospective employers, and the resume is to blame.

The more resumes I review, the more I realize that there are three common mistakes pharmacists make on their resumes. See if these apply to you and if you need a resume writing guide, I mention my guide in a link below.

Your resume is simply a list of your jobs.

Your resume should do more than list the past positions you’ve held. It should be more than a brief written history of your career.

It’s your opportunity to sell yourself. It’s your personal billboard. Hiring managers will only see your “ad” for a few seconds before deciding if your resume belongs in the trash or the interview pile.

Just as a company’s billboard should sell its product, your resume should sell you. It should communicate your strengths, your skills, and your accomplishments.

Over the last five years, I’ve opened five businesses and failed at three of them.

I’ve learned along the way that every business requires selling, and if you can’t sell the idea, no one will buy.

For pharmacists, the fact that the job market was so good for so long meant no one focused on teaching pharmacists to sell themselves; and so here we are.

I spoke with a pharmacy client recently about transitioning to a new job, and I realized quickly that he didn’t understand his own worth. His resume didn’t display his leadership, his conflict management skills, or his initiative. It was simply a list of job responsibilities.

When I pressed him about it, he explained that the stuff he did wasn’t special. Because it wasn’t difficult, he perceived that it wasn’t unique.

He completely overlooked that it set him apart because not many others were doing it.

You’re sending the same resume to everyone.

Employers aren’t looking for just any “body.”

Pharmacists are in higher supply than they have been in the past, so there are more people competing for each position.

If you are unspecific during the application process, you’re failing to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack. If you treat every position as though it’s the same as the other positions, employers will likely treat you as though you’re the same as all the other applicants.

Each company is looking for a different set of skills, abilities, traits, and accomplishments. Your goal is to address those unique needs with a unique resume.

You want the hiring manager to see you as the perfect person for the job. You do not want the manager to see yours as just another resume.

If he does, your resume will likely end up in the trash.

You fail to send a cover letter.

I know. I can hear your exasperation.

“Why do I have to send a cover letter with every job application?”

Do it because no one else is willing to write them; and because your cover letter is the simplest way to distinguish yourself from a crowded pool of applicants.

Put simply, your resume lists your features and your cover letter lists the benefits the hiring company will get if it chooses you. Benefits and feelings are closely associated, so your cover letter should appeal to the hiring manager’s feelings and emotions.

Think of it in terms of a kitchen inside a house.

Buyers don’t buy houses because they have kitchens. A kitchen is a feature that every house has.

If, however, the kitchen makes you feel at home, or if it reminds you of your grandmother’s kitchen, that’s a benefit. It triggers an emotional response that draws you to the house.

Use your pharmacy cover letter to draw the hiring managers to you and to convince them to hire you.

You fail to enlist help.

These mistakes are common, so making them isn’t the worst thing in the world.

The worst thing would be recognizing these weaknesses in yourself and failing to ask for help.

If your resume fails to sell you as an employee, if you’re sending the same resume with every application you submit, or if you’re failing to send cover letters, you’re asking to be overlooked.

Because we’ve been on both sides of the process, we understand what hiring managers are looking for. We also understand how intimidating writing resumes can be, and we’d love to share what we know..

On my website The Happy PharmD, I created a start-to-finish resume writing guide with a template (based on the Harvard Business Review recommendations for Healthcare industries) to help you succeed in your job search. When you sign up to get these templates, you’ll also get our list of 248 Power Verbs that you should include in your resume.

Allow us to help you sell yourself to the hiring managers who need your skillset. Allow us to help you avoid the mistakes that will keep you from being hired.

Do everything in your power to avoid these common mistakes. Give yourself every opportunity to set yourself apart.

Don’t make getting hired harder than it already is.