Why Working in Retail Might Be the Key to Landing Your Dream Job

Brooke M.
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“Excuse me, but do you have this in, like, any other colors?”

You cringe at the high-pitched voice that is already filled with dissatisfaction. You know this customer. It’s the woman who will demand you bring her that blouse in Every. Single. Color. She’ll ignore your suggestions for other blouses she might like, keep you from helping any other shoppers, and then at the end of the day, sigh and say, “Oh, well this blouse just isn’t looking how I thought it would look.”

Gritting your teeth, you finish folding a pair of jeans, smooth a wide smile across your face, and turn around.

“Sure,” you say enthusiastically, “let me go grab those for you.”

It’s not that you hate your job. It’s just that it’s summer and you’re about to start Pharmacy school next fall. Is this even worth it? Sure, you’re making some money, but let’s be honest, a few months of work at Nordstrom isn’t really going to impress any future employers. Right?

I wouldn’t be so sure.

Brooke Matsanka is currently a Pharmacy major at the University of Florida set to graduate in 2017. She recently got an internship with Winn-Dixie Pharmacy through AfterCollege and we couldn’t be more pleased! She took some time to talk with us about how she started using AfterCollege, why she wants to be a pharmacist, and why that summer job might be the reason you get hired.

What was your job search like?

I began my job search by visiting my local pharmacies in Gainesville, Florida, but this became quite frustrating since I wasn’t getting any positive responses. I heard about AfterCollege through my school’s financial aid office as a resource to potentially acquire educational scholarships.

When I signed up for AfterCollege, I realized that it was also a job search site. So, I uploaded my résumé and listed my occupation preferences and ideal companies. One of these establishments just happened to be Winn-Dixie. I received an email from AfterCollege every time there was an opening at one of their stores.

I was overjoyed when a pharmacy intern position opened up here in Gainesville. I would never have known about this potential work opportunity had it not been for AfterCollege.

How long did your job search take?

I had been looking for an internship for around a year but once I joined AfterCollege, it was only a matter of months before I found a job.

How did you become interested in your field?

I have always been interested in disease and how it affects the body. As I was researching prospective career paths for myself, I became attracted to the role that drug therapies play in preventing or alleviating medical disorders. It was fascinating to think about how medications act on the body in order to relieve disease symptoms. After realizing my passion for treating medical issues, it was an easy decision to follow the pharmacy career path.

What are you most looking forward to about your new job?

I am looking forward to developing many new skills in order to aid me in my future career in the pharmacy field. Not only will this internship experience help to make me more successful in a pharmacy job on a daily basis, but it will also make me more desirable to future employers.

What advice would you give to college students who are interested in pursuing a career in your field?

First, I would tell students to get their pharmacy school applications in early in order to obtain a place in the first round of interviews. This will ensure that the maximum amount of class spots are available so that you have the best chance possible of getting accepted.

I would also advise students to get involved while in pharmacy school. The leadership experience that I gained from being active in certain student pharmacy organizations really made my application for a pharmacy intern position stand out from the others.

Finally, I would let students know that my new employer was most attracted to the customer service experience recorded on my résumé from a previous work opportunity. Thus, if you are able to maintain a summer job before school begins in the fall, try to apply for one in either retail or in the restaurant industry. The people skills gained from such job opportunities will be sure to give you an advantage over other students when looking to land a pharmacy intern position and will certainly aid you in your future career as a pharmacist.

Homework time! Brooke talks about how her customer service skills were what sealed the deal when it came to getting the pharmacy internship. If you’re interested in a career in pharmacy, try to get a job that allows you to practice this skill. That also means that you should include the summer you spent waiting tables on your résumé. And don’t forget to check out pharmacy jobs we have listed on AfterCollege.

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