February 13, 2021
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
Idaho State University
College of Pharmacy
Dr. Jennifer Adams: Leadership, flexibility and adaptability, innovation and creativity. Pharmacy is an ever-evolving profession and these are the skills that will help graduates to succeed in an ever changing environment.
Dr. Jennifer Adams: In my experience, students who are well-rounded with good grades and with leadership and extra-curricular experience stand out. Especially if that extra-curricular experience is also connected to their expressed passion in the application letter.
Dr. Jennifer Adams: Our curriculum at Idaho State has always involved synchronous distance education across 3 campus locations in two states, but the learning environment has still been a shift, even for our experienced distance learners. From students with families managing child care and virtual education, to finding a quiet place to attend class and study for those with roommates, the pandemic has been stressful for many of our students. That being said, they have been resilient and have risen to the challenge and since the pandemic began our students' academic performance has not suffered.
Our students have also been given the opportunity to serve our communities during the pandemic; helping with COVID screening, testing, and vaccination efforts through their service learning activities. Many have gone well above and beyond what is required for service learning and have volunteered many, many hours of service to our communities.
University of California, Irvine
Department of Clinical Pharmacy PracticeWebsite
Sarah McBane: The COVID-19 pandemic caused some changes in pharmacy education, but it's important to remember that pharmacy education is held to specific standards as defined by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Pharmacists who graduated in 2020, and likely those graduating in later years as well, will have gained experience in pandemic health care and telehealth. In addition, the graduating students will have enhanced their development of important life skills such as adaptability and creativity that will serve them well in every pharmacy practice setting. These skills will enable the graduates to face and address challenges more easily.
Sarah McBane: The profession has been evolving as long as I've been a pharmacist but, as with the rest of the healthcare system, the speed of that evolution really accelerated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Pharmacy graduates will need to flexible, innovative and entrepreneurial, able to adapt to changes and to create their own opportunities. We will continue to count on pharmacists as the medication experts, but what that looks like may vary from setting to setting.
Sarah McBane: It is a bit difficult to offer a blanket recommendation for what stands out on resumes because the profession is so diverse. Pharmacists practice in community settings, institutions, pharmaceutical industry, regulatory agencies, the list goes on. I expect most employers will look for diversity of experiences as well as unique experiences, such as public health or public policy internships and international service missions.