Is a Pharmacist CV Necessary?

pharmacist cv & resume

You are familiar with a resume but you may or may not be too familiar with a pharmacist cv (curriculum vitae).

This post will guide you on the best practices on how to write a pharmacist CV and resume based upon my own experiences and research.

What is a Pharmacist CV?

A summary of a job applicant’s professional experience and educational background, along with other relevant information regarding the candidate’s qualifications. The curriculum vitae is similar to a resume but is used more frequently by candidates who have published works in journals, such as scientists or academic professionals.

Business Dictionary

How to Write an Effective Pharmacist CV

One thing is for certain, there is no such thing as a perfect pharmacist CV because the contents of the ideal pharmacist CV are determined by the position and the individual pharmacist who is applying.

What you want is a pharmacist cv that is precise and effective enough to get the help you achieve your career goals and aspirations. Employers use the information in your pharmacist’s CV to decide how suitable you are for the position.

This means you should tailor the information in your CV to each different pharmacy position you apply for. Answer this question, what do I want the employer to think of me after reading my CV?

Once you figured out the answer, then you can craft your CV in the exact way needed for that objective.

Steps to writing your CV

  1. Start with a message.
  2. Arrange the skeleton or outline of your CV and choose description headings that highlight your experience.
  3. Fill in content and describe each experience in a way that is relevant to the employer.
  4. Format your document to help the content stand out.

Tips for your CV

  • List information in reverse chronological order
  • Do not include information on events which occurred prior to entering pharmacy school except for education (degrees)
  • Do not use abbreviations
  • Use past tense
  • Use the third person
  • Information is presented in a logical order and easy to read
  • Proofread your Pharmacist CV and have your CV reviewed by at least two other people
  • Use a consistent font size of 10-14
  • Avoid graphics or images
  • List the most important and relevant information first
  • Don’t overly rely on templates
  • Use action verbs (achieved, prepared, supervised, trained, assessed, etc.)
  • Build accomplishment statements at the beginning that can capture the reader’s attention
  • Balance detail with length, in order words, not to be “wordy”
  • Print on white or ivory paper and use a Laser printer
  • One inch margin all around and consistent format

Pharmacist CV Mistakes to Avoid

  • Typos and grammatical error
  • Difficult to read font (sorry no fancy fonts for you!)
  • Inconsistent formatting
  • Unorganized content making it difficult to locate needed information
  • List personal information (age, marital status, children, etc.) that is not necessary
  • Do not include references, a statement such as “reference upon request” is adequate

*Adapted from ACCP & University of Florida College of Pharmacy

Format of a CV

  • Objective or Professional statement
  • Education
  • Work Experience
  • Clerkship Rotations
  • Presentations and Publications
  • Research
  • Honors and Awards
  • Membership in Organizations (include offices held)
  • Professional and Community Service
  • Other Special Experiences or Skills

Download UCSF’s Guide to Writing a Pharmacy CV for Employment here.

Download University of Arizona College of Pharmacy CV Guide here.

Who needs a Pharmacist CV?

Pharmacist CVs are used for applications for internships, scholarships, residencies, postgraduate positions (i.e., jobs) and more.

CVs include information on one’s academic background, including teaching experience, degrees, research, awards, publications, presentations, and other achievements. CVs include more information, particularly related to academic background.

UA College of Pharmacy

Sample Pharmacy Student Curriculum Vitae

American College of Clinical Pharmacy
Check out ACCP's Curriculum Vitae Pearls

What is a Pharmacist Resume?

Formal presentation of a job applicant’s education, skills, and work experience.

Business Dictionary

How to Write an Effective Resume

Key points to an effective resume:

  • Have a clear message
  • Include a professional summary
  • Focus on the top half
  • Highlight your accomplishments
  • Make it relevant
  • Place emphasis on the format

How you format and layout the content of your resume is just as important as the actual content.


Because it has to be easy for someone to quickly scan over and pick out the most important pieces of information.

Think of the top third of your resume as a snapshot of you. It should have everything they need to know about you in terms of what type of pharmacy job you are targeting and why you are qualified for that job.

It should sum up what they need to know about you and give teasers for the rest of the resume so they want to read the rest if they want to know more about you.

Don’t include the objective on your resume because it’s too vague, it tells the hiring manager what you want not necessarily what you can provide to the employer.

Instead, provide a professional summary, describe what you’re great at and passionate about, why you’re qualified to pursue your chosen pharmacist role.

Right beneath this section, you should have a section on your core competency or areas of expertise. This should be a quick summary so they understand exactly who they are dealing with and what’s your realm of knowledge to figure out whether or not you’re a good fit or not for their needs.

You should have a small paragraph that describes your role and responsibilities. Bullet points underneath this section is a great technique to draw the eye to your bragging points.

bullet points equal bragging points and action verbs are needed here

What is the right length?

If you are a new pharmacy graduate then you only need a one-page resume.

If you are five years out or have had multiple jobs then two pages are needed to cover all of your experiences.

Headers should be larger and should be between 13-16 font. The main body should be 10 to 12 font size. Use 1/2 inch margin all around the page.

Resume Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Spelling Errors

Spelling errors include typos and grammatical errors. I started blogging three months ago and believe me when I say this, it’s really hard to catch your own typos and grammatical errors.

Therefore, it’s best to have your resume/CV reviewed by your career counselor, professional resume writer, or someone you trust.

Listing Job Duties

Employers do not care about what you were expected to do from your previous pharmacist job. What they care about is what you can do for them. Rather than listing your job duties, you should list your accomplishments, It’s especially important to quantify them into concrete numbers.

Ignoring jobs relevance

Another common mistake is putting your jobs in purely chronological order instead of its relevancy to the position that you’re applying to. A lot of people think that you’re supposed to put them in chronological order but this is something you shouldn’t do.

Your job is to catch the recruiter’s eyes, according to the Ladders’ research, recruiters spend an average of only 6 seconds scanning a resume before moving on to the next one.

Failing to tailor your resume

Using the same resume for every position you go for is not ideal. This is a huge mistake because once again, you’ve got just six seconds to catch the attention of the recruiter.

Ask yourself this question. What are the skills and experience a recruiter is looking for in your desired position? Make sure you tailor your resume to match those exact qualities.

Cover Letter

Cover Letter Definition

A formal letter describing the accompanying documents and/or other items and the reasons for sending them.

Business Dictionary

A Pharmacist CV is not complete without a powerful cover letter.

A cover letter can be used to inquire about or apply for positions. It should have the same style and formatting as your CV. The letter offers insight into you through your writing style and communication skills. It must be personalized and underline the most important qualities listed in the job description. Additionally, the cover letter can highly your most relevant skills and experiences. In contrast to a CV, a cover letter is written using a block letter format.

What is a block letter format?

Block Format
When writing business letters, you must pay special attention to the format and font used. The most common layout of a business letter is known as block format. Using this format, the entire letter is left justified and single spaced except for a double space between paragraphs.

Purdue OWL

Parts of a Cover Letter

  • Top of page: name, address, phone, email, date
  • Introduction
  • Who you are and why you’re writing
  • Position applying for
  • Something you know or respect about the organization
  • Body
  • State how you fit the position and can benefit the company
  • Provide specific examples
  • Closing
  • Ask for an interview
  • Refer to your enclosed resume
  • Express appreciation

Final Thoughts

Pharmacist CV, resume and cover letter are marketing tools needed for all pharmacists. For a retail position, you may get by with only a resume but it’s always best to keep an updated resume and CV handy.

Pharmacist CV is more suitable for pharmacy students vying for a residency position, postgraduate positions such as fellowships, clinical pharmacist, clinical pharmacy specialist, honors and awards and hospital pharmacy jobs.

Regardless of whether you’re working on a resume or CV the same principles apply. Put thought into the content before writing (brainstorm). Keep the reader in mind, ask yourself, what do recruiters or hiring managers to look for in an ideal candidate?

Demonstrate results and actions don’t just list job duties and experiences. Remember that this is a living document and you need to update it on a consistent basis. You need to proofread, double-check, triple-check, get at least two other people to review your resume and CV for errors.

Lastly, if your pharmacist CV, resume and cover letter not satisfactory and/or you’re not getting your desired outcomes. Then you may need a second opinion. At this point, you may seek professional help from a credentialed resume and CV professional.