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Getting the Job - Interviewing Process - SpeedometerThe Canadian job market is very competitive, so you need to prepare and understand what steps to take to gain employment. As well, finding a job in Canada may be very different than in your home country.

You have to be registered to work as a pharmacist in the province or territory where you intend to settle.

You must look for jobs in the region where you will be registered. Therefore, take your time to research job requirements in that region and develop a plan to find work.

There are many ways to search for jobs in the pharmacy sector.

  • Broaden your search and include alternative careers.
  • Seek out a mentor in the pharmacy sector – for example, a retired pharmacist – who would give you valuable insight and advice and probably introduce you to their professional network.
  • Join pharmacy or healthcare related job-finding or networking clubs through immigrant-serving agencies.
  • Attend pharmacy or healthcare related job fairs and regularly check the employment sections of your local newspapers.
  • Some pharmacy colleges or associations may maintain a job bank or suggest a commercial job site. As well, hospitals and other health institutions generally post vacancies on their websites.

Immigrant settlement agencies

Most settlement agencies and other immigrant-serving organizations offer help with finding job vacancies, updating your resume, writing cover letters, preparing for interviews and understanding what Canadian employers are looking for.

[cjtoolbox name=’Career Pathways – Pharmacy CTA’]

Click the link to find immigrant services in your area.

Resume writing

As the Canadian job market is competitive, you need to stand out from other applicants. With the right resume, you’ll be able to launch your pharmaceutical career in Canada.

Resume writing tips:

Objective: Have a solid objective on your resume to help your prospective employer know what kind of career you’re looking for. If you’re licensed, state that in your objective. For example, write, “Licensed pharmacist with three years of professional study.”

Experience: Include any internships and volunteer placements you had or are currently having in Canada. Also mention the name and city of the pharmacy college you attended, along with your degree and courses, such as compounding or ambulatory care. You should also mention the Canadian province where you got your license.

Accomplishments: Step away from just describing what you did and where. Start by thinking what value did you add to your current or previous organization. How did you help them reduce medication errors, or potentially save money? Did you develop any new programs or projects that changed the way your department did things? Don’t be afraid to give specifics.

Action words: Action words best describe your work experience. For example, write, “Dispensed and compound prescriptions, informed patients of dosing information and directions for use and interacted with XYZ and other insurance providers regarding billing or reimbursement issues.”

Key skills: Make a list of skills that are relevant to your career as a pharmacist. Put your most relevant skill at the top of the list. You may include skills such as distributing prescription drugs, compounding and counsel patients. If you have any pharmaceutical specialties, add them (e.g., acute/critical care, ICU, retail, nuclear pharmaceuticals). For an online resume, you should include keywords relative to your pharmacist career. This can help employers find you on the Internet.

Interview techniques

Pharmacy is one of the most unique job types available. As the job market is competitive, you need to practice answering common pharmacy interview questions.

It is rare that you’ll be asked about technical questions, as your interviewer may assume that you have the knowledge necessary to handle your pharmacy job, otherwise you wouldn’t have completed your degree. It may be a good idea to brush up on your technical knowledge before your interview, however, you should focus more on practicing more basic interview questions, as well as common interview questions you might hear at all interviews.

Here are some sample pharmacist job interview questions to help you prepare for your next interview.

  • Do you have access to a car? Are you comfortable driving to multiple locations for work?
  • Tell me about a time you have provided outstanding customer service.
  • Why did you decide to pursue a career in pharmacy?
  • Here is a case describing a common drug interaction. How would you resolve the problem?
  • How would you deal with a difficult customer?
  • How do you spot drug seeking behavior?
  • You cannot read the prescription. What do you do?
  • Did you ever successfully combine business with the pharmacist’s profession?
  • What do you think pharmacy’s greatest challenges are in the future?

Business interview

Informational interviews

While the job outlook looks very positive for pharmacists, landing that next opportunity – especially for newcomers like you – requires extra effort and outreach.

Informational interviewing can be viewed as a way to put your wonderful empathetic yet professional communication abilities, research skills and time management talents to work for your own benefit.

An informational interview is a brief (20–30-minute) meeting that you schedule with a person who is currently working in an industry to learn more about that particular industry.

You should not try to get a job during an informational interview but rather find out whether or not a particular position or industry might be a good fit for your interests and your personality. An informational interview with a contact from your network can be an excellent source of career information because, in addition to basic information about a particular type of industry (such as you might find on a company website), it also offers you the benefit of a professional’s first-hand experiences and impressions.

  • Make a list of the pharmacies, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, public health agencies, and others, as desired, that operate in your area.
  • Use your resources including professional organizations, LinkedIn, and other networking tools to identify organization insiders, such as pharmaceutical recruiters, health unit coordinators, etc.
  • Create 5 – 10 open-ended questions that you would like to know more about.

Networking

Networking is an essential tool that may give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular firm or industry, and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network. As many job vacancies are not advertised, you must make connections with practicing pharmacists and others in your field.

Good places to network are gatherings such as conferences, association luncheons, and Chamber of Commerce get-togethers for the convenience in meeting people, building relationships, and sharing information.

LinkedIn is another important professional tool for networking. It is great for reconnecting with your ex-colleagues and employers, search by company or jobs, and get introductions and recommendations.

You can also mingle with people in the pharmaceutical sector and join some related professional groups.

But remember, that you have to allow time to cultivate and grow the ties you establish through networking. Nothing will happen overnight and you need to be patient.