As I searched on EzineArticles for pharmacy technician jobs, I found many good articles written on becoming a pharmacy technician or various reasons why you should become a pharmacy technician. In general, they all make good points and provide useful information. It has made me think about what we are missing. I do not want to rehash the same topics and then add a few of my own thoughts. It occurred to me, and I have a perspective that few people who are writing articles for pharmacy technicians have.
I am the person who sits on every interview for pharmacy technicians in my institution’s inpatient pharmacy. Over the course of just one year, I probably interview about 50 to 60 technicians for about 10 to 12 openings. So here it is, what are three things you can do to get a job when you have just obtained your license/certification/registration (depends on your state), still working on your license, or maybe just moved to a new area and want to find a job (this happened to me as a pharmacy tech, and I will share one of my biggest mistakes when looking for a job)?
Volunteer or complete your required hours (depends on your state requirements for licensure/certification) in a pharmacy practice site you would like to work. Many states require you to obtain practice hours before you become a pharmacy technician. If your state does not require hours before becoming a pharmacy technician, pick a set number of hours (40 to 80 hours should do it) and volunteer at a pharmacy. The pharmacy you choose should be a place you would like to work. If you know you want to work in a hospital pharmacy, do not obtain your hours or volunteer at a community/retail pharmacy. Next, take advantage of this time by showing your practice site how good a pharmacy technician you are. The traits I look for the most are a team player, proactive about taking on any work that he/she sees needs completing, and getting along with other staff. I am looking for is a good fit, not necessarily the smartest tech, but the one who will be a good team member. This time really amounts to a trial period where the pharmacy gets to see how you work, and you get to see if you really want a job there. I have had a few students who goof off or text for a large portion of their time in my pharmacy. Unfortunately, they will not even make the interview list for the next open position.
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Obtain national certification, BLS/CPR, be active in one of your state’s pharmacy organizations, and make sure you have these items on your resume. Regardless of your state requires you to get nationally certified or not, you should do it. The two major national certifications that are most recognized are the PTCB and the ExCPT. BLS/CPR (basic life support/cardiopulmonary resuscitation – for the most part, it is the same thing) is a good additional skill that most pharmacy managers will consider a bonus. It tells them that the applicant is engaged in healthcare and will more likely be engaged as a pharmacy technician. State pharmacy organization (either the state ASHP affiliate or APhA affiliate) participation is another way to show your commitment to the pharmacy profession. In most states, it cost very little to be a member as a technician. Once you are a member, look for the Website link on joining a committee. If you have options, join the committee that sounds like the most fun (I personally like advocacy or legislative). Now be active in your committee; this is a great way to network with pharmacists and other technicians. Pharmacy is a small world; the more connections you make, the better off you will be. Once you have done some or all of this, make sure your update your resume.
Look on company Websites for job openings and not just the local newspaper or online newspaper site. This was my big mistake. After living on the east coast for many years, I moved out to the west coast. I began looking for jobs in the local newspaper, and there were a few, but not the ones I was most interested in (I was a sterile compounding tech and wanted to work in a hospital or IV infusion setting) were never open. Fortunately for me, a large health system (the one I currently work for after 11 years) was hiring a graveyard technician and didn’t get enough applicants from their internal site, so they placed a newspaper ad. After I got a job, I found out about the company job postings Website, and I was seriously bummed that I had wasted months not looking in the right place. While you are on the company Website, do some homework about the company to speak about the company during your interview. I will typically ask applicants why they want a job with my company or pharmacy if you can respond with an answer that shows you have done some homework on the company, that will impress most interviewers (do not overdo it or be cheesy, find something you genuinely like about the company).