Busting pharmacy myths

holding a sign: 'looking for a job'
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A recruitment expert addresses employment myths as well as tips for scoring a job in the pharmacy industry

Locum jobs are in demand, and there are plenty to go around, says LocumCo owner Sue Muller.

They are also perfect for students and young pharmacists who can experience different pharmacies before deciding which one to take a more permanent position in.

“As far as locum jobs are concerned, we have a 100% success rate,” Ms Muller told delegates at the NAPSA Congress 2019 in Adelaide on Wednesday.  

“We have nearly 12,000 pharmacists on the books, we did over 1,000 jobs last year.”

She says it’s a myth that there are no jobs in pharmacy.

“There are a lot of myths floating around in the pharmacy industry: oversupply, poor pay, no jobs, no career progression, ownership is impossible.

“There was a survey in 2017 of the full time employment percentages,” she says, pointing to the high graduate intern employment rate of over 95%.

Of those who graduated pharmacy in 2015, 95.5% had found full-time work in four months, and 93% were in full-time work after three years, the Graduate Outcomes Survey 2018 found.

“You can get jobs all over Australia,” says Ms Muller.

LocumCo also filled 140 emergency locum service jobs filled in 2018, she adds.

These are rural government-funded roles that need to be filled within 24 hours.

“With these emergency locums, you’re never away for more than seven days.”

Of course, locum roles are more suitable for people with flexible circumstances.

She encourages students and pharmacists currently looking for work to try working in locum positions.

“It’s a great way to experience different pharmacies – I encourage you do to these when you finish because it makes you a far better pharmacist in the end.

“You see how other pharmacies operate, you see the good things that they do and the bad things that they do. You can locum while looking for a permanent job.

“What you might not know is that if you’re flying to a destination, then your airfare is paid. If you’re driving you get a certain number of cents to get there. You can choose anything from going away for a couple of days or for weeks or months depending on what your situation is.

“We have locums who call us saying only want to locum in exotic destinations. We had a guy who recently locumed on Hamilton Island – he didn’t want to leave. You can really choose anything you want.”

Meanwhile Ms Muller shared her top tips for pharmacists to score the job that they want:

  1. Resume: “What do employers want? The first thing they see is a resume and they sift through them. What they notice first is bad spelling, bad grammar, and that doesn’t create a terribly good first impression. You don’t realise how big a turn-off that is to some employers. It’s worth making an effort.”
  2. Gaps: “The next biggest thing is leaving gaps in your resume. Employers want to see continuity. If you take a gap year, that’s fine – put it in the resume, so there are no questions. If you had to take care of your grandmother for six months – put it in, it gives a more complete picture of you and what you do.”
  3. Hard vs soft skills: “Hard skills are technical skills, soft skills are people skills,” says Ms Muller. “It’s a fine balance – it’s not that one is better than the other, but the right combination is what is important.”
  4. Backing up statements: “There are a number of ways that employers ask questions in an interview. You have a choice in the way that you answer them. The employer doesn’t want to hear: ‘I’m very fastidious’ or ‘I show a lot of attention to detail.’ If you make a statement like that you have to give an example of when you showed attention to detail. You show examples of what you’re talking about.”
  5. Social media: “93% of employers will search your social media profile in the course of an interview – so be very careful. They look at the type of things you post.”

A new partnership

At NAPSA Congress, LocumCo and NAPSA also announced that they recently signed off on a partnership which will see a new portal that pharmacy owners can use to list jobs for free, and students can access all jobs in the one place.

“Now there’s going to be a middle person that you can go to get information on the job that you’ve applied for. A lot of the sites, students go to SEEK or Indeed, students submit their CV and you’re one in 1000 sitting there waiting. This one portal should be cohesive, you won’t have to go to all the other sites, it should be able to direct you from here to the jobs that you want,” explains Ms Muller.

“If you’re looking for a job, you don’t have to be unemployed – download the LocumCo app, you’ll see all the jobs.”

As part of the partnership, NAPSA and LocumCo will also be providing $1,000 to successful applicants of the Rural Pharmacy Scholarship.

“We’re very happy to announce the rural placement scholarship, for anyone who wants to go rural but doesn’t have the funding,” says NAPSA President Jessica Hsiao.

“We will open up applications today. There are 10 scholarships up for grabs [five per semester]. We’re looking forward to reviewing applications.”

To be eligible for the scholarship you must:

  • Be a NAPSA member from any year level, currently studying a Pharmacy Degree

  • Have not gained any assisted funding from other organisations

  • Be willing to write a testimonial for NAPSA’s ePlacebo and LocumCo at the conclusion of your placement, and upon request be willing to participate in future advertising of the scholarship

  • Fill out the NAPSA and LocumCo Rural Placement Scholarship Application Form by 1 March 2019

If you would like to apply for the scholarship, please follow the below link. For more information on LocumCo or the NAPSA-LocumCo scholarship please email secretary@napsa.org.au.

Applications: https://goo.gl/forms/G7jTKDdW9khY9f7E2 


You may be interested in reading:

Where are all the pharmacists? By Sue Muller

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