This is Jonathan Mitchell, your 2019-2020 MedVal medical communications fellow. It seems like not that long ago I was making my own preparations for ASHP’s Midyear. I can remember scouring the web for advice, tips, and suggestions that the veterans used to make their trip to pharmacy’s largest convention and career exposition a successful one. There was a lot to consider! What sort of attire should I pack? How many CVs would I need? How does somebody begin preparing for interviews?
Fortunately for you, past posts here on this blog offer a lot of really fantastic advice on how to tackle Midyear. I’d highly recommend reading through these for a detailed instruction manual on how to be successful at such a daunting task. I wanted to provide a few of my own additions to emphasize the areas that I felt prepared me for Midyear.
When preparing for interviews, it is important to prepare an elevator speech. This is a clever title for a short introduction to yourself that highlights your goals and the experiences that lead you to become interested in this. The idea is that it is short enough to serve as a chance to pitch yourself to an individual in the time it takes to ride in an elevator a few floors. Here is an article that details the process of writing an elevator speech, but I recommend including some or all of the following:
Practice answering questions. Here’s an addition to the sample interview questions provided by Jessica in previous blog posts. I’d recommend going through these questions and writing out answers according to the STAR method. By using storytelling as a tool to answer questions, you create distinct moments that interviewers can follow. I would also recommend writing out the following during your interview prep:
Preparing a portfolio of your best work will also be crucial to succeeding at Midyear. Bring copies of relevant assignments with you to showcase your work. Some employers will even request specific assignments from you like journal clubs or drug information questions you’ve answered. Also, don’t be afraid to proofread and adapt these assignments. If there’s a journal club that you’d really like to use to represent your work in an interview, but a grader marked you down for providing a weak discussion, improve the discussion!
After putting these recommendations to practice, you’ll be one step closer to succeeding at Midyear. Drop a comment, get in touch on Twitter (@Fellow_MVPW), or shoot me an email (email@example.com) if you’ve got any questions or suggestions for a blog post you’d like to see. Best of luck on your Midyear and post-graduate journey!
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