Pharmacy is a profession where there’s virtually no room for error, as serious mistakes can be a matter of life and death. At best, a pharmacist resume is a showcase of your unfailing eye for accuracy. At worst, it’s an instant disqualifier. And there are few second chances.
Never fear, however, with Resume.io’s tools and expert advice. Our job search resources include more than 350 occupation-specific writing guides, matched with resume examples .
The guide you’re reading now offers step-by-step information and tips geared to pharmacists, with wording you can adapt from a corresponding pharmacy resume example. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- The pharmacist job role and employment outlook
- How to write a pharmacist resume, including the structure and basic guidelines
- Optimizing the impact of each resume section: header, summary, employment history, education and skills
- How to pass the tests of the automated computer systems that can reject your resume before a human being even looks at it.
- Professional layout and design tips for a pharmacist resume
What do pharmacists do?
Pharmacists have a huge responsibility — filling prescriptions for life-saving medication, guarding against adverse reactions, dispensing flu shots and other vaccinations, and advising patients on how to recover from illness and stay healthy.
Good pharmacists are consummate professionals who go to great lengths to verify that the proper medication is being dispensed to the correct patient at the right dosage. They diligently inquire about drug allergies, other medicines the patient is taking, or any other indication that a patient could have a bad reaction to a prescribed medication.
Tragically, 7,000 to 9,000 patients die every year in the United States alone as a result of medication errors, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. While 50% of these mistakes can be traced to the doctor who prescribed the drug, these errors can also result from a simple mistake in spelling a patient’s name, or from confusing medications with similar names.
Even a dropped hyphen can be a critical error, according to Global Vision, a leading provider of document inspection software for companies in regulated industries.Consider the difference between a medication label that says “Take 2-3 caplets per day” and one that says “Take 23 caplets per day.”
Know your job market
The number of pharmacist jobs in the U.S. is expected to decline by 2% between 2020 and 2030, at just over 314,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The good news is that demand for pharmacists is expected to increase in some healthcare settings, such as hospitals and medical clinics. As the baby boomer generation ages, chronic disease is expected to rise, and along with it the demand for prescription medicines to treat it. Medical clinics and hospitals will need more pharmacists to meet this demand and to assist in patient care, for example by testing blood sugar and cholesterol. Also, advances in medicine will continue to introduce new drugs to the market, creating a need for specialists who understand the applications and limitations of these drugs.
Top employers of pharmacists, according to the BLS:
- Pharmacies and drug stores: 42%
- Hospitals; state, local and private: 27%
- Food and beverage stores: 8%
- General merchandise stores: 5%
However, employment at independent retail pharmacies is expected to decline as more people obtain medicines online or by mail order. Also, more tasks once performed by pharmacists will be entrusted to pharmacy technicians , who are less educated and lower-paid.
Pharmacists are responsible for ensuring that patients receive the right medication, with no foreseeable adverse reactions, and they often speak directly to prescribing doctors. But the technicians who assist pharmacists perform a growing number of administrative tasks in a pharmacy — collecting patient information, processing payments, packaging and labeling prescriptions, and keeping track of inventory. Finally, the number of pharmacy schools is on the rise, creating more grads competing for jobs.
Some of the job opportunities for pharmacists include the following:
- Community pharmacists work at independent pharmacies or drug-store chains, interacting with the public to fill prescriptions and advise patients.
- Clinical pharmacists work in hospitals or clinics and are more involved in direct patient care — sometimes making rounds with doctors and providing pharmaceutical solution to medical issues.
- Consultant pharmacists provide expert advice to health facilities, insurers and patients on pharmaceutical solutions.
- Pharmaceutical industry pharmacists work in R&D, clinical drug trials, quality control, and sales and marketing.
U.S. pharmacists earned a median wage of $128,710 in 2020, meaning half of all pharmacists earned less and half earned more. The lowest-paid 10% made under $85,210 and the highest-paid 10% earned over $164,980.
These were the median annual wages for U.S. pharmacists in top industries in 2018, according to the BLS:
- General merchandise stores: $137,820
- Hospitals; state, local and private: $131,290
- Food and beverage stores: $131,200
- Pharmacies and drug stores: $125,740
To beat the odds in this job market, pharmacists with more advanced degrees and special certifications will have a leg up. We’ll get to that below. For now, suffice it to say that candidates for pharmacist jobs cannot afford to make mistakes in the content and formatting of the resumes used in their job search.
For additional inspiration and ideas, check out these and more resume examples and writing guides in our medical category: pharmaceutical sales representative resume example , medical support assistant resume sample , medical science liaison resume example , epidemiologist resume example and physician assistant resume sample .
How to write a pharmacist resume
These are the essential components of most resumes, regardless of occupation:
- Employment history section
- Education section
- Skills section
Each section serves its own purpose, and together they should add up to no more than a single page. Later on, we’ll be taking a closer look at these individual resume parts, step by step.
As a pharmacist, you must have a perfectionist’s attention to detail. The Hippocratic oath says “First, do no harm” — and this is not a bad starting principle for anyone in the medical field who is crafting a resume. One of the most common and devastating resume errors in all fields is making simple mistakes in spelling or grammar. A 2018 CareerBuilder survey of more than 1,100 hiring managers found that typos and bad grammar were by far the top reason for rejecting job applicants — accounting for 77% of deal-breaking resume mistakes.
First test: the ATS
Applicant Tracking Systems ( ATS ) are software applications that allow employers to automatically filter resumes based on the keywords they contain (or don’t contain). For example, employers seeking to hire a pharmacist may have no interest in looking at resumes from candidates who don’t have a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.). So they can instruct their ATS to reject any resume that doesn’t mention this degree, saving recruiters the trouble of even reading them. Obviously, you don’t want your resume to be rejected by a computer bot. To avoid this, study job listings to see what employers are seeking, and include these job requirements in your resume.
Pay close attention to exact wording and terminology used in job postings. Abbreviations, names and professional terms may vary from country to country, from state to state and even city to city. By using the exact wording for certificates, licenses and skills used in the job application by the employer - you give yourself an advantage in passing the ATS test. Don’t just automatically write your preferred professional lingo out of habit, analyze the job listing first and foremost.
Also, remember that your resume is not carved in stone. A resume should be a dynamic document that can and should be tailored to each job application. The growing prevalence of ATS filtering has led to the practice of resume optimization, in which job applicants abandon a one-size-fits-all approach and create custom CVs for each potential employer.
Choosing the best resume format for a pharmacist
In all likelihood, your pharmacist resume will lend itself to the most commonly used chronological format, which recruiters prefer. That means your work experience is listed under employer headings, in reverse chronological order from most recent to earliest positions.
If your job background is more varied, or you have relatively little experience as a pharmacist, you may consider organizing your resume a different way. The functional format allows you to put more emphasis on skills, types of experience or even projects, rather than employee positions. It may be suitable for pharmacists independent consulting roles. A hybrid resume format is even more adaptable, combining chronological and functional elements.
Note that if you are just now completing your education and obtaining your doctorate, it may be best to list your education before your job history.
Resume header: prescription for standing out
Off the top, your pharmacist resume should convey professionalism and appear inviting to read. A distinctive header, displaying your name, occupation and contact information, is the best assurance of your submission standing out from all the rest. It’s also easier for recruiters to follow up when they’re ready for the next step.
You’ll also not regret the small amount of extra effort it takes to create a visually attractive pair of application documents — a matching cover letter and resume.
Pharmacist resume summary example: A professional introduction
The first thing hiring managers see on a resume after your contact information is the summary , also known as a profile or personal statement . It’s your opportunity to introduce yourself on your own terms, in the best light possible, by showcasing your professional skills and passions.
Do not be too modest — stay confident in your achievements, contributions, qualities and productivity. If you don’t promote yourself as a strong job candidate, nobody else will.
Code of Ethics for Pharmacists
Pharmacists must abide by a strict code of ethics, as specified by the American Pharmacists Association:
- A pharmacist respects the covenantal relationship between the patient and pharmacist.
- A pharmacist promotes the good of every patient in a caring, compassionate, and confidential manner.
- A pharmacist respects the autonomy and dignity of each patient.
- A pharmacist acts with honesty and integrity in professional relationships.
- A pharmacist maintains professional competence.
- A pharmacist respects the values and abilities of colleagues and other health professionals.
- A pharmacist serves individual, community, and societal needs.
- A pharmacist seeks justice in the distribution of health resources.Most profiles do not use first person pronouns (“I” or “me”) — your reader knows who you’re talking about. Nor are complete sentences even necessary.
Most profiles do not use first person pronouns (“I” or “me”) — your reader knows who you’re talking about. Nor are complete sentences even necessary.
Below is a pharmacist resume summary example you can customize for your own use.
Dedicated pharmacist with a decade of experience and success in retail pharmaceutical services. Strong background in clinical pharmacology and medication management. Extensive knowledge of pharmacy operations, pharmacy management and medications. Proven track record of appropriate customer advice, with an empathetic and compassionate attitude. Superior technical and communication skills needed to excel in fast-paced working environments.
Employment history sample: Your experience at a glance
This is where you tell recruiters not just where you’ve worked, but what you achieved. As a candidate for a pharmacist job, hopefully you have a track record of employment in this field. Regardless of the breadth of your experience, however, it’s important to capture the hiring manager’s attention quickly.
As noted above, your employers should be listed in reverse chronological order. It’s vital to deliver the most relevant and impressive information at the top of this section. In addition, you should add bullet points under each employer heading highlighting your achievements, contributions, projects, facts and figures.
Avoid saying what you were “responsible for” and say instead what you actually achieved. For example, “Accurately filled approximately 12,000 patient prescriptions” is far more powerful than “Responsible for filling patient prescriptions.”
If you are a recent graduate or still studying, be sure to mention any internships or related experience. In some cases, even work experience in a totally unrelated field may help build a case for your reliability, breadth of experience and/or people skills.
Below is a pharmacist employment history resume sample you can modify.
Pharmacy Floater at Rite Aid, Danbury
October 2014 - march 2022
- Worked on an as-needed basis, covering for absent pharmacists and assisting on heavy-traffic workdays when prescription volumes were in the range of 180 to 220.
- Treated patients with sensitivity and respect for their privacy.
- Filled and verified prescriptions.
- Counseled patients on product safety and proper administration protocol.
- Collaborated with physicians to best support patients.
- Identified and reported any potential illegal or dangerous activity.
Pharmacist at CVS, New York
July 2012 - September 2014
- Worked to promote an error- free and productive pharmacy department.
- Reviewed prescriptions and practiced safe quality assurance control for patients.
- Implemented an enhanced system for maintaining computer records of dispensed medications.
- Provided accurate screenings to avoid health complications including allergic reactions, and negative medication interactions.
- Effectively counseled patients on medication use.
Pharmacist resume education example
This resume section should be fairly straightforward for pharmacists. Present the education and credentials that equip you for this job in reverse chronological order from highest to lowest level.
In the U.S., pharmacists must have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree, and they must be licensed to practice pharmacy. Pharmacists study chemistry, biology, physics, pharmacology and medical ethics. As a prerequisite, pharmacy programs require at least two years of undergraduate study, though some require a four-year bachelor’s degree. Applicants to U.S. pharmacy programs generally must pass the Pharmacy College Admissions Test, and pharmacy programs generally take four years to complete.
Some pharmacists go on to complete a one- to two-year residency to receive additional training. And many take continuing education courses to keep up with advances in pharmacology.
To practice in the U.S., holders of pharmacy doctorates must pass a couple of tests to become licensed. One of these is the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam, and another is the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam. (The latter requirement is sometimes satisfied by an individual state exam.)
Certifications in a number of specialties are also available from a variety of instructors. You can review some of the certifications available, including in pharmacokinetics, medication safety, emergency medicine and nutrition support, at the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists website.
Below is the education section from our pharmacist resume example.
Master of Molecular Pharmacology , NYU, New York
August 2012 - August 2014
- Graduated with Distinction
- Clinical rotations at St. Vincent's Medical Center
Bachelor of Biology, St. John's University, New York
August 2008 - May 2012
- Graduated magna cum laude
CV skills example: What makes you great
Showcase both your technical abilities and your soft skills in dealing with people. Some critical skills for a pharmacist may not fit well into any of the resume components mentioned previously. This is where the skills section comes in.
Do you speak a foreign language, enabling you to cater to patients from other countries with limited English? Do you have expertise in business management that would be useful in managing pharmacy operations? Do you have computer skills to help you navigate electronic health record systems? All of these bear mentioning.
According to payscale.com, the following are some of most important skills for pharmacists, along with their effect on salaries:
- Operations management: +8%
- Long-term care: +4%
- Clinical education: +4%
- Patient counseling: +3%
- Oral/verbal communication: +3%
- Oncology: +3%
- Retail pharmacy: +2%
- Hospital education: +2%
- Pharmacotherapy: +2%
- Mail-order pharmacy: +2%
Also, don’t overlook your interpersonal skills in dealing with patients and colleagues, such as communication skills. Pharmacists must interact well with patients, identifying any allergies, explaining how and when to take their medicines, and advising them on what to do about any side effects. Not unlike the resume summary, the skills section allows you to boast a bit about what you’re good at. It’s generally among the smallest, most laconic sections of your resume, but what you list here may be what puts you over the top.
Brainstorm a master list of all the skills you may even remotely possess. Then, from this list that you keep handy, cherry-pick those that are the most appropriate for this specific job application. Remember that this is a laconic bullet-point list, so make sure every word has the most impact.
These are some of the most important qualities in pharmacists, according to the BLS:
- Analytical skills
- Communication skills
- Computer skills
- Detail oriented
- Managerial skills
Check out the following sample skills list from a pharmacist's resume.
- Pharmaceutical Operations
- Clinical Applications
- Patient Counseling
- Product Safety
- Team Management
- Excellent Customer Service Skills
Resume layout and design: Keep it clean
A pharmacy needs to be immaculate, organized and efficient, and so it is with a pharmacist’s resume. It must be clean, clear and devoid of any mistakes.
All your formatting choices should optimize legibility and reader-friendliness, from fonts, margin widths and line spacing to overall white space. Graphic design elements, including touches of color, are fine if the impact is understated.
The aforementioned ATS that filter resumes are also sensitive to design bugs in your resume, which can lead to automatic rejection. If you’re constructing a resume yourself, using non-professional text-editing software, make sure to avoid hidden pitfalls like header / footer information that may be unreadable by ATS.
The recommended hassle-free alternative is to use a pre-made resume template from Resume.io’s design collection. The builder tool saves you time and uncertainty when focusing on the content; all the design details take care of themselves.
According to PharmacyTimes.com, these are the top 7 resume mistakes that sabotage a pharmacists’ job search:
- Recycling your resume for multiple positions
- Failing to demonstrate relevant experience
- Writing an uninspiring professional summary
- Overlooking action verbs (words that convey action, energy, achievement and productivity)
- Emphasizing duties instead of accomplishments
- Including an unprofessional email address
- Including typos and grammatical errors
The PDF file format is also widely accepted as the gold standard when sending resumes via email, as it’s guaranteed to preserve your style and formatting. Files created in text editors and saved in various non-PDF formats have a tendency to become a visual mess on another person’s computer. Take no chances by using the field-tested resumes at resume.io, designed by experts to bypass any minefields
Key takeaways for a pharmacist resume
- Pharmacists fulfill a critical role in the health-care system, but no increase is expected in pharmacist jobs.
- This means that advanced education and certifications are increasingly important, and that a flawless resume is a must.
- Pharmacist resumes should be individually tailored to each employer, highlighting the job qualifications that employers are seeking.
- Resumes must pass the crucial ATS test by including the keywords that describe needed job skills and avoiding any design bugs that could lead to automatic rejection.
For the best results and the least regrets, take the quick, safe path by using the proven builder tool and templates at Resume.io. Get started!