WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO MIDYEAR?
By: Maryah Haidery, Fellowship Director
Now that MIdyear is closing in (less than a month, everyone!), I'm seeing more and more of my P4 friends start to feel the nerves set in. A common question I've been getting (from both classmates and from the wonderful students I've been meeting and speaking to at career fairs) is if I have any tips for Midyear and the upcoming interview season. And I'm always super eager to lead them to this blog!
But one thing I realized I hadn't uploaded yet was how I prepared for Midyear and my PPS interviews last year. So what I thought would be super helpful to share would be:
And just as an aside - like 99% of the questions I ended up actually being asked on my PPS and onsite interviews were on this list! (This can apply for both residency and fellowship.)
The sample questions include common logistical questions and also the infamous "Situational Questions" (a term I'm sure you are all familiar with by now..) In case you wanted a refresher, here's the general "STAR" approach to answering Situational Questions (via Indeed):
Using this method, you create a deliberate story arc that your interviewer can easily follow.
But unfortunately, none of that meant much to me until I started forcing myself to answer those questions in the list in the context of my own experiences - and more importantly, remembering all of my answers during an actual interview. So I put together a helpful grid that I could easily call upon in a time of stress - and I'm attaching it for you below!
(and how to use it:)
Once you download the document above, you'll see that each box has the most common situational questions from residency and fellowship interviewers alike (can confirm: I was asked each of them at one point last year). Fill out each empty square with your Top 3 answers and have ALL THREE prepped, on-hand and ready to go. This is in case you use one situation already in another question - you'll have another (your second choice) already prepared. Also, be prepared to talk in-depth about each of the answers you pick. If you do nothing else to prepare for your interviews this year - make this table and your answers it!
BY MARYAH HAIDERY, FELLOWSHIP DIRECTOR
Hopefully all of these tools will be helpful for you during your journey to a successful Midyear! As always, if you have any questions or just want to chat - feel free to reach out!
By Shifa Zachariah, P4, University of the Sciences
How often have you heard your retail pharmacy manager a) wishing they never went to pharmacy school b) did a residency, or my personal favorite c) advising you to stay as far away from the community setting as possible while you are still young and have some hope for the future? And if you work in retail, how often have you found yourself envious of your friends who managed to secure a hospital job or that obscure job in the pharmaceutical industry?
Well, if you can relate to any of the above, you are certainly not alone. According to a recent study, over 50% of community pharmacists want to quit their jobs! And a recent workforce survey from AACP reported that pharmacists from all practice areas are increasingly stressed, having difficulty seeking new jobs, and experiencing lower levels of job satisfaction with an incessantly increasing workload.
Why do we feel like we have been stuck in a rut? Surely none of us can forget the grueling amount of work and stress we endured as students in pharmacy school and of course the ominous student loans following us into retirement. So why settle? There is a myriad of other non-traditional options which are available for pharmacists.
Not convinced? Consider this list of just some non-traditional practice settings for pharmacists:
If you happen to be one of those individuals who always enjoyed writing and belonged to the group of pharmacy students who did not think that Writing 101 was a “waste of time since you are a science major, duh!”, you may consider medical writing as a career!
Medical writers provide clients with specific expertise to meet diverse marketing challenges. They offer decades of experience in effectively communicating educational messages through print, live meetings, and electronic media. Medical writers are able to combine scientific expertise with strategic thinking and marketing in areas such as strategic publication planning, audiovisual presentations, and special event planning for some of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world.
And if you are now wondering how to go about becoming a medical writer - you're in the right place! Our MedVal/PharmaWrite 1-year postdoctoral fellowship in the medical communication industry is a great place to get started in the field. Apply for our fellowship today!
Now if you see yourself happy working in a retail setting, by all means follow your dream, but for the rest of us seemingly stuck in a rut, why not give one of these non-traditional options a chance?
Preparing for Midyear can get mentally overwhelming - with all the things you have to remember, it can be easy to forget a vital task! But stress not, busy pharmacy student -- we're here to provide an at-a-glance Midyear to-do list with everything you need to do before you head to Florida.
3 MONTHS BEFORE MIDYEAR
2 MONTHS BEFORE MIDYEAR
WEEK OF MIDYEAR
When I was a P4, PPS was a completely foreign acronym to me. Most of my classmates had done PGY1 residencies, not fellowships – so when I starting asking around for advice about PPS, I didn’t really get any useful feedback. The main thing I wanted to know was:
Luckily, I had an amazing preceptor who went through the PPS process during her Midyear, and she gave me all the advice I needed. And after going through it last year – hopefully I can pay it forward!
First of all – what is PPS? It stands for Personnel Placement Service (which might not tell you much). Essentially, PPS is a set of interviews where you can pay an extra fee to actually sit down and meet with your programs of interest, one-on-one.
Second – do I need to do PPS? Again: it depends. Keep in mind that NOT ALL programs participate in PPS in the first place, especially PGY1 residencies. Make sure to double-check with your programs of interest to see if they are doing PPS first, and you can make a decision from there. On the other end of the spectrum, some programs actually require PPS and use it as first-round interviews before on-site interviews. (For our fellowship (MedVal/PharmaWrite), we participate in PPS and use it as part of the interview process. For the candidates who can’t make it to Midyear, we accept phone interviews in place of PPS!)
PPS is for people looking for employment and is mainly beneficial for P4’s applying for fellowships and PGY1 residents applying for PGY2s. If a bunch of the programs you're interested in are doing PPS for PGY1s, then it may be beneficial - but most PGY1 programs don't participate in PPS, so you can consider saving your money if you only see one or two.
The ASHP website will put up a list of all participating programs here closer to the date – keep an eye out!
To register for PPS, sign up on the ASHP website and pay the fee ($145 for students, $200 for current residents). [NOTE: PPS registration is SEPARATE and IN ADDITION to registering for Midyear!] There you can upload necessary documents (CV, Letter of Intent, etc.) and contact each program you want to schedule your interviews with over the course of the conference. These PPS interviews are conducted parallel to the rest of Midyear – so schedule accordingly! If you want to make it to the Residency Showcase or have a school meetup, be sure to schedule around those.
Full PPS registration and resume uploading opened in September for candidates. Beginning October 21, candidates, employers, and jobs will become visible. Candidates will then be able to request interviews with employers, and employers will be able to view the resume database and contact candidates. Since PPS interview spots can fill up quickly, it’s important to upload your resume and request interviews as soon as possible. Interview spots are generally first come, first serve.
Once I registered for PPS, my next question was: how many interviews should I schedule?! Honestly, your PPS experience will be what you make of it. I’ve read articles that say you shouldn’t do more than 10 or else you’ll get burnt out – but at the same time, my fellowship director told me she did 40 during her year, so… it’s up to you! During my year, I only signed up for 2 interviews because there were only two programs I was interested in who happened to be on the list of participating program. And it still worked out!
When you first get to Midyear and sign-in, they’ll give you a special sticker that says ‘PPS’ on it and will grant you access into the PPS exhibit room later on. PPS will be conducted in slots from 12/4 to 12/7, 7:30am – 5pm. Once you're in the room, you will find the "semi-private" booth where you can meet individually with employers.
This one-on-one interaction honestly can be extremely valuable; you're essentially paying to have 30 minutes of personal face time with programs where, at Residency Showcase, you're just one face in a sea of hundreds. But just like with the Residency Showcase, do not feel obligated to do PPS – especially if you’re aiming for a PGY1 residency.
Hopefully that helped answer a few of your questions about PPS! If you have questions about this fellowship or want advice about anything else, don't hesitate to let me know!