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How to Get Your First Pharmacy Tech Job

You’re freshly certified and ready to hit the ground running in the pharmacy world. But where do you start? We put together some helpful tips you can use to get your first job as a pharmacy technician!
Laura Amendola.

Laura Amendola

Applying for new jobs in a new field can be both exciting and terrifying. Job hunting can be incredibly stressful, especially when you’re just starting out and don’t know what you’re doing. To help, here are some tips and steps you can take to get your foot in the door with your very first pharm tech job.

5 steps for getting your first job as a pharm tech

Before you even start applying for jobs, a good first step to take can often be getting some formal education and training under your belt. While many pharmacy tech jobs don’t necessarily require training before you start, having the knowledge and skills that can help you be successful on the job can make a big difference. And, in some states, you may need to be certified before you’re even eligible to work in the field.


Enrolling in a training program can be a huge help here. Some programs are accredited by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP), as well as pharmacy residencies. Kathy Nemkovich, Senior Director of Healthcare Business at The Penn Foster Group, reminds future pharm techs that "it's important to know your state requirements and whether or not you're looking for a program that is ASHP-accredited."


Though certification is not always required, obtaining it can help you set yourself apart from other applicants and show employers you know what you’re doing. Once you’re ready to start applying for open positions, you can do the following:


1. Research

Familiarizing yourself with the job duties and responsibilities of a pharmacy technician will help you know what you’re getting into. Gather information about a day in the life of a pharm tech so you have a realistic view of the role. You can also research potential interview questions to help prepare you when the time comes.


Read more: 10 Reasons to Become a Pharmacy Technician [Infographic]


2. Learn medical and pharmaceutical terminology

You’ll learn a lot of terminology while going through your training program, but it’s easy for this kind of information to go out of your head once your exams are completed. Keeping up to date with this and ensuring you know the important terms is important so you can communicate effectively in your interviews and, later, your job.


3. Understand laws and ethics

The laws and ethics are some of the most important things to know in healthcare, so brush up on this information prior to applying for your first pharmacy technician job. If it makes sense, during the interview you could even reference some of the most important laws to show that you understand them and how important they are in the day-to-day role of a pharm tech.


4. Network in the field

Networking can be an important part of being a working professional in any field. As an aspiring pharmacy technician, the best place to network could be during the externship you’ll complete as part of your training program. There, you’ll gain hands-on training at a pharmacy in your area and can build relationships and trust with the pharmacists and company. Even if that externship doesn’t turn into a job offer, staying connected with the people you worked with there can lead to opportunities down the road. And, if you did well during your externship, they can even potentially be strong references when you apply to jobs at other pharmacies.


You can also attend conferences in the field to network or join organizations like the American Association of Pharmacy Technicians (AAPT). Any professional relationships you build may help you when the time comes to seek out your first pharm tech job.


5. Apply for jobs and prepare for interviews

Polish your resume with your skills and experience. Everything relevant is fodder for your resume, so ensure all the work you’ve done to get to this point is highlighted. Make sure to include your education and your externship to show potential employers that you do have the knowledge and practical skills they’re looking for.


Then you can start sending it out to pharmacies in your area! Be sure to follow up if you don’t hear back after a week or two, as it shows genuine interest in the role.


Read more: Skills Every Pharmacy Technician Should Have


Tips & tricks for finding, applying for, and preparing for your first pharm tech job

Once you learn how to become a pharmacy technician and earn your certification, you can buckle down and really dig into your job search. Here are some tips and tricks to help you on the hunt!


How to find jobs

Use online job portals

  • Sites like LinkedIn and Indeed are great places to start. You can filter by area and get recommendations based off your search.
  • Another great site to use is Glassdoor. Glassdoor lets you search for jobs by area and you can see reviews from current and former employees to help you get a better sense of what a potential employer is like.


Check local pharmacy sites

  • Check out the websites for any local pharmacies to see if they’re hiring. Remember that big name pharmacies aren’t the only ones out there. Many cities or towns have small scale and family run pharmacies that may be looking for help. Even some grocery stores have their own pharmacies, so there are more options than you might think.


Check social media

  • Many pharmacies will post if they’re hiring on their social media pages, so be sure to follow any you’re interested in.

Apply to the jobs you find

Customize your resume

  • The bones of your resume can be consistent, but you should have multiple versions you can flesh out for the job you’re applying for. You should also have a cover letter that highlights the experience, knowledge, and skills you have that make you a good fit for the position.


Read more: How to Market Your Skills to Potential Employers


Proofread your documents for accuracy and typos

  • Your resume and cover letter are the first impression an employer will get of you, so you want it to present professionalism and be free of mistakes. Spelling and grammar don’t matter in every setting, but they can certainly make a difference for employers debating on bringing a candidate in for an interview.
  • Use a professional email address. This may not be your first thought, but using an email address created in adolescence might send the wrong message. You can even create an email address specifically for job applications to keep everything in one place.


Read more: 5 Secrets To Make Your Resume Stand Out


Show off your soft skills

  • Any job where you’re interacting with the public requires some level of soft skills, and working as a pharmacy technician isn’t any different. Highlight any customer service experience or situations that required you to whip out your best compassionate voice. Tales like this from your externship could be great to recall during your interviews.


Follow directions

  • Directions are there to be followed, so be sure to read them carefully to avoid missing something or doing something incorrectly on your application.


Read more: What You Can and Can't Say to Customers as a Pharmacy Technician


Prepare for interviews

Get familiar with the company

  • Researching the company you're interviewing for can help showcase your initiative and interest in the company. If they just launched something great you can reference, definitely try to fit that in when you meet with them!


Practice interviewing

  • How many of us practiced our acceptance speech in the mirror at an imaginary awards ceremony when we were younger? Well, you can practice interviewing in the mirror just the same way! We mentioned earlier researching potential interview questions for the role, and this is a great way to get in the right mindset for your interview.


Talk yourself up

  • Interviews are your time to shine. There’s no need to be humble or downplay your accomplishments; on the contrary, you should highlight all you’ve achieved. Be sure to touch on your pharm tech certifications and skills to show how qualified you are for the role.


Don’t stress

  • Job hunting and interviewing can be nerve-wracking and stressful, but getting yourself worked up prior to your interview can negatively impact how you do. Be kind to yourself, take deep breaths, and try to remain calm throughout the process.


Read more: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Pharmacy Technician


Let Penn Foster help you prepare for the job you want

Getting your first job in the field of your choice takes time, hard work, and dedication. If you know becoming a pharmacy technician is the right path for you, prepare to take the first steps toward a new career with Penn Foster’s Pharmacy Technician program! You can call 1-800-471-3232 or enroll online to get started!

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