Why Your Resume Isn’t Doing Its Job

Your resume has one job: to earn you an interview invitation. 

In a crowded field of applicants, your resume must grab the hiring manager’s attention. Together with your cover letter, it must immediately convince the decision-makers that they’d be crazy to miss a chance to interview you.  

Given that pharmacy is a competitive industry, it would be unrealistic to expect that you’ll land an interview for every job you pursue. If, on the other hand, you aren’t being invited to any interviews, it’s likely that your resume is failing you.  

The hiring manager for a clinical pharmacy in Florida recently told me that a single job listing drew 125 applicants. Though the numbers might vary, it’s typical for hiring managers to receive far more resumes for every position than they can handle.  

Consider whether you’re making one of these mistakes on your resume. 

  1. Your resume has mistakes.

Early in my pharmacy career, I interviewed for a second-year residency, and I was really excited about the program.  

When the director called to let me know that I hadn’t been selected, he asked me if I wanted to know why I wasn’t selected. I was surprised by the question, but I agreed that I’d like to know.  

Turns out I had misspelled his name in my cover letter. Despite reading and re-reading the document more than 20 times, I neglected to check the spelling of his name.  

It’s easy to get so involved in writing the content of your resume that you overlook avoidable errors. We’re so busy choosing the right action verb that we overlook the misspelled words. It’s also true that once you’ve worked on it for a while, it’s easier to “miss” typos and grammatical errors. 

Enlist the help of others to proofread for you, because they won’t be emotionally caught up in the content.  

Consider reading your resume backwards, which forces you to look at the words differently instead of skimming over them.  

Leave yourself enough time at the end of the process to step away from it for a day before the final proofreading. Read it with fresh eyes one more time before submitting it.  

  1. Your resume speaks the wrong language. 

If you aren’t crafting a unique resume for every position you’re applying for, you’re wasting your time.  

Hiring managers will immediately recognize a generic resume and they’ll quickly discard it in search of candidates who invested the time to write a relevant resume. Think of it like trying to use the same tool to cut down a tree and cut your grass: the ax is only good for one of those tasks.  

Your pharmacist resume must exactly address the position you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a managerial position, you must speak the language the hiring manager understands best.  

If your resume doesn’t specifically address the tasks and the activities involved in managerial work, you’re speaking the wrong language. Use language the decision-makers will understand.  

  1. Your resume lacks accomplishment. 

If you leave your resume untouched for long periods of time, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. By the time you need it, your resume will require a major overhaul.  

Furthermore, if your resume includes generic statements like, “provided excellent customer service,” or “managed a team,” don’t expect to be invited to interview.  

Make it immediately clear to the hiring manager what you’re communicating with each bullet point. Specifically outline how you impacted your employer. 

Be specific about the activities you carried out and the outcomes you achieved. If you can’t specifically explain what you did, the hiring manager will likely forego your resume in search of one that requires less work to decipher.  

Read each bullet point and ask yourself one question: “What did I do to accomplish this?” The answer to that question will probably reveal additional information that ought to be in your resume.  

  1. Your resume doesn’t address metrics.

Your pharmacy resume probably won’t be reviewed by someone who does the same work you do. It will likely fall into the hands of a manager or recruiter who thinks in terms of metrics.  

She may evaluate your accomplishments based on metrics you aren’t even aware of because metrics are the best indicator of success in your previous jobs.  

If you’ve increased efficiency in your workplace, say that. If you’ve saved the organization money, say that, too. If you’ve launched a new service, provide metrics to explain exactly what you accomplished for your employer.  

Do your best to understand the hiring company’s mindset as you write your resume. Think about the hiring manager’s priorities and look at your previous jobs from her perspective. What would she specifically want to know about your past performance?  

Make it as easy as possible for her to understand your resume and your contribution to your workplace. 

Give yourself every opportunity to get noticed.  

Statistics suggest that your resume will earn about 30 seconds of the hiring manager’s time before landing in the “yes” or “no” pile.  

The good news is that your resume and cover letter can work together to grab the decision-makers’ attention. Together, they can demonstrate to the hiring managers that you’re worth the time to interview.  

Craft a specific resume that stands out among a crowded field. Make it accurate, convincing, and appealing, and give yourself every opportunity to move into work you love.

Alex Barker is a full-time Pharmacist, media company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He is also is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps busy professionals build successful side businesses.

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