Student Corner

“Putting Your Best Foot Forward for Postgraduate Opportunities: ASHP Midyear 2017”

Interviewing season is coming up for pharmacy students looking for postgraduate opportunities. Recently Touro College of Pharmacy (TCOP) in Harlem held a Career Fair where representatives from major retail, community and hospital pharmacies, and residency and fellowship programs gathered to discuss tips and strategies for landing postgraduate positions. Tips on preparation and interviewing took center stage. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Create a list of all work. Students should write down everything they have done during pharmacy school. Write detailed descriptions of responsibilities, including all supervisory work – both paid and volunteer. This would include work for student organizations, any pharmacy practice experience, rotations, and community service. List everything in a timeline that shows progressive responsibility over time and professional development.

2. Create a Curriculum Vitae that can be continually updated as one progresses through school and post-graduate training. Have the CV reviewed by a mentor or an expert in the field where one is applying so that they can help you structure your CV to highlight your strengths that are valuable to that professional area.

3. Research the company that you are interviewing with, review their website, read about them in the news, and check out any news on their website. Look at the company’s branding, mission and understand the company’s business, its competitors, and products, because you may be asked about them. Know the position that you are interviewing for.

4. Practice, practice, practice...There’s no better preparation for making a great impression than practicing your interviewing skills. Prepare an elevator speech (a clear brief message that communicates who you are, what you're looking for) that typically lasts about 30 seconds. Think what you would like to say about yourself so that when you are asked you can be clear and concise. Anticipate what other questions you might be asked and practice answering those as well.

5. Prepare questions for the interviewer. This shows that you are prepared and engaged and want the job.

6. Project confidence and be yourself. Employers want to know that the person they are hiring can work within the organization. Students tend to become robots – after all, they interview with hundreds of people. Those who stand out are the ones who are comfortable and let their personalities shine through. They are able to make an impression, usually a good and lasting one.

7. Network. If you are planning on going to the ASHP Midyear 2017 Conference in December, make an effort to find out if the places where you are interviewing are a good fit for you – culturally and in other ways. Network in both formal and informal settings. Contact current fellows and residents about their experiences to gain insight. If possible, contact former employees who have moved on.


“With interviewing, you get out what you put in,” observed Dr. Ronnie Moore, Assistant Dean, Clinical Affairs and Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice at TCOP. “Everyone there has similar credentials and one of the challenges is to communicate your knowledge, passion for the opportunities that await you and differentiate yourself from your peers. Everyone is unique and you need to find a way to communicate what is special about you and what you can deliver to the organization.”