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Top tips to help you kick start your search for a new job

Thinking of changing your career? Maureen O’Sullivan explores ways you can prepare yourself for that all-important job application

Your weekly copy of The Pharmaceutical Journal lands on your doorstep or pops up on your tablet via the PJ app. If turning to the back to browse the recruitment section is the first thing you do, chances are you might be ready for a change in your career.

Career Crossword (Jirsak/Dreamstime)

But for anyone who has been in a role for several years, just the thought of applying for one of the jobs advertised could be enough to bring on a cold sweat. Or maybe you are more than ready to make the change but you do not know where to begin.

To help boost your confidence in your search for a new job, here are some tips for getting started.

Figure out your strengths

A good place to start when planning a career move is to identify what you are good at and the value you add to your current role. Take a look at your most recent appraisal or any peer assessments you have received and highlight the positive comments. Think about what you enjoy doing and what part of your practice gives you the most satisfaction.

A mentor can help you tie these together and pinpoint your strengths. “Career mentoring can help you explore ways to advance your career or change direction,” says Priya Rasanayagam, professional support specialist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

“The RPS provides an online mentor database where you can choose a mentor who will be happy to invest time and effort in helping you,” she adds.

Consider your options

The career opportunities for pharmacists are wide: there are roles in community, primary care, hospital, academia, industry, media, regulatory and government agencies and beyond. Explore the different options that are available and do not be afraid to look outside your current sector, because many of your skills could be transferable.

You can learn about the different paths you can take on PJ Online, where there are articles on the different pharmacy sectors and specialties, and plenty of tips and advice from pharmacists who have a range of roles in pharmacy.

Update your portfolio

Spend some time reviewing your portfolio and make sure that it contains your most recent achievements.

“When I go to look for a new job, I will look for something that reflects the work I have done and the things that I am good at,” says Robert Elliot-Cooke, rotational clinical pharmacist at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, who has been keeping a portfolio documenting his best pieces of work for the past four years.

“When it comes to the interview process your portfolio will help you prove that you are good at what you are applying for,” he adds.

The professional recognition assessment process for entry into the RPS Faculty requires the submission of an online portfolio; therefore, keeping an up-to-date portfolio can also help you to be recognised for your level of practice.

Mr Elliot-Cooke was a member of the RPS Faculty development group and helped design a new electronic tool for building a Faculty portfolio. Pharmacists who are more than two years qualified can access this tool and more through the Faculty website.

Make a start on your CV

Once you have a clear idea of what you are good at, what you would like to do and how you can prove that you are capable of doing it, it is time to communicate these points in your CV.

For help with writing your CV and to discover how you can “stand out from the crowd” check out the PJ Careers CV clinic at this year’s RPS Conference, where recruitment specialists from the RPS will be running sessions on how to write and improve your CV.

RPS members attending these events will also have the chance to book some time with a recruitment expert for some one-on-one CV help.

The annual RPS Conference is being held at The ICC in Birmingham on 8–9 September 2013.

PJ Careers CV clinic

PJ Careers is running two one-hour sessions at this year’s Royal Pharmaceutical Society Conference. The first session is at 12.30pm on 8 September and the second session will be at 11.30am on 9 September.

 

So, interested in a career change? Take a look at the latest job listings on PJ Careers (www.pjcareers.com)

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2013.11124564

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