SOP’s Annual Career Fair Brings Together Students and Employers
More than 100 students gather in Pharmacy Hall to meet with local and national employers and gain valuable career advice.
By Malissa Carroll
November 21, 2013
To help ensure that its student pharmacists are prepared to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive profession, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy held its annual Career Fair on Nov. 2. The event brought more than a dozen local and national employers to Pharmacy Hall’s Ellen H. Yankellow Grand Atrium to meet with students of all years and offer important insights about navigating the current job market.
“The Career Fair acts as a learning experience for our student pharmacists to explore a variety of career opportunities and become better informed about the current job market,” says Margaret Hayes, MS, director of student educational services and outreach at the School of Pharmacy. “Competition among job seekers, including classmates and other Doctor of Pharmacy students, is increasing. It’s important that all students prepare for this competition as early as possible.”
Hayes worked with Ann Bonaparte, Carolyn Footman, and student volunteers from the Office of Student Affairs at the School to organize the Career Fair, which was attended by representatives from CVS Caremark, Giant Pharmacy, Harris Teeter, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, Kmart Pharmacy, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, Pinnacle Health System, Rite Aid, Safeway, Shoppers Pharmacy, Target, US Public Health Service, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Wegmans Food Markets, and Weis Markets.
During the morning session, students from all years were invited to meet with these representatives to network and learn more about their organizations. In the afternoon, fourth-year student pharmacists had the opportunity to participate in mock interviews with the representatives, who provided constructive feedback about students’ interviewing skills.
“Students who take attending the career fair seriously are better prepared to develop the skill sets that employers are seeking, talk about relevant experience and accomplishments, and present themselves as confident and enthusiastic,” says Hayes. “They also have the unique opportunity to watch the most successful student networkers and speak with them about their networking secrets, as well as identify organizations they would like to work for and prepare for discussions with those companies at a subsequent career fair.”
And, it appears that students echo Hayes’ sentiments about this popular event.
“I attended the career fair to gain insight into the kinds of questions a pharmacist might be asked during an interview, as well as to become comfortable with the overall interview process,” says Nkem Nonyel, a fourth-year student pharmacist at the School. “Under normal circumstances, I have no problem talking to people, but it is a lot different when the person to whom I am talking will determine whether or not I have a job after graduation. My experience at the Career Fair certainly increased my confidence with the interview process, and the feedback I received was very reassuring.”
The Career Fair is offered as part of the School of Pharmacy’s Job Ready Program, which partners and collaborates with faculty, employers, student organizations, and other stakeholders to enhance students’ employability skills through a wide range of activities. Through the Job Ready Program, students receive advice about how to provide excellent customer service in a health care setting, develop proficiency in interviewing for jobs and residencies, write resumes and curricula vitae, and market themselves to prospective employers.