“Thank you for your recent application, unfortunately on this occasion, we won’t be taking your application further”, does this sound familiar to you?

Wait no longer! Hopefully, with these few tips and personal experiences you can get that “Congratulations, we are delighted to confirm that your application has been successful”.

“The early bird catches the worm”

There are very few placements that limit their places to the first 100 applicants, so do not let this prevent you from gaining a placement. To keep on top of placement openings and application deadlines you need to check the website of the pharmacy you're interested in working with regularly, follow them on social media or even enquire personally and keep note of any important dates. I set reminders on my phone for each of the opening dates for placements of my interest!

“Don't ask, don’t get”

It can’t get any simpler! Walking into local pharmacies, handing out your CV and explaining what you’re after, can not only increase your chances of securing a placement but also of securing a job. It’s far more effective to show your presence rather than communicating via e-mail or over the phone, as often they can be busy and may turn you down.  Sometimes you may not hear back for a while and it’s completely fine, but make sure to get in touch and ask for updates in regards to your application. In managing my application submissions, I had created a word document, whereby I had noted down each application submission date with application closing date alongside if so listed an approximate reply time and updated it when employers responded.

“Expect rejections, BUT do not give up”

It can be extremely upsetting to receive rejection after rejection, but the best way forward is to seek feedback and improve on those weaknesses. Whilst applying for summer placements, I had been rejected by numerous places .However, with continuous persistence, I was able to find myself a paid placement (sometimes things can work out for the better). My advice is to always leave your contact details behind, you never know when an opportunity may arise.

“Don’t follow trends, set your own trends”

It’s often noticed when students are applying for placements, that they limit themselves to a small variety of opportunities and favour their application towards either big commercial pharmacy placements programmes or hospital. As much as these placements are beneficial, they are just as competitive. There are a vast number of other opportunities in which are just as valuable but commonly go unseen, for instance working with companies such as Holland and Barrett in learning about how illnesses can be treated through natural means or perhaps even shadowing a pharmaceutical sales representative and gaining an insight into the business nature of pharmacy. You can only limit yourself, so be creative and open minded to seeking experience, as at the end of the day it will only help you to get a taste of different career options within your field of study.

I wish you all the very best in applying for placements!


Dhruv Shah


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