How students can stand out from the crowd with a CV and cover letter

BekkiWith an ever increasing number of pharmacy students but the same number of pharmacy jobs, competition in the sector has never been higher. What can you do to make sure you secure a role as a Pharmacist upon graduation? The key to ensuring a pre-reg position and job post-graduation is making yourself stand out from the rest; everyone will have a degree but it is the extra experience and diversity you can demonstrate that will set you apart.

Here are some key tips:
– Experience in the sector is essential. Apply for summer placements early and do this from first year. Employers will like the fact that you show commitment to the profession right from the start.
– Try and get experience in both hospital and community – this demonstrates adaptability and will enable you to accrue a more diverse set of skills
– Apply for a part-time job as a healthcare assistant (HCA) in community – this will give you vast experience in communicating with patients and help you to become accustomed to the industry as an employee rather than a student
– Employers like leadership – get involved in helping mentor students at your university.
– Get involved in the profession – engage with the RPS and BPSA and the work they do and get involved in the student roles they have. This will allow you to network and appreciate the wider aspects of the profession.
– Be pro-active – actively look for opportunities to do something extra during your degree.

All of this experience needs to be formulated into a great CV and cover letter. Your CV should provide a focused and shortened summary of all the education and experience you have; this is the most formal part of the application. A cover letter should always accompany a CV unless you are instructed otherwise and should be tailored specifically to the role you are applying for. A cover letter is the first thing an employer will see and provides an opportunity for you to attract the employer’s attention and persuade them to choose you. The cover letter allows you to personalise an application and discuss specific areas of the CV in depth. This is your chance to stand-out and highlight key experience that you have that make you most suitable for a role. Don’t be afraid to use the cover letter to state exactly what you have that make you an obvious candidate and better than the rest.

Bekki Burgoyne, Recently Qualified Pharmacist

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