The NESACS Blog
From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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11/17/17
Professional Behavior. Dealing with Catastrophic Challenges
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 3:34 pm

We recently observed close friends living in CA who lost
their home and most of its contents to wildfires.  Another
friend was overtaken by back pain making it difficult to
work.  A third friend lost her husband suddenly.

.
These are hard things to face.  So is losing one’s job and
other “black elephant” events.  
.
This entry offers some ideas for actions you can do
at separate stages in your career.
.
EARLY CAREER
 - develop a detailed “master resume” [  2 ], develop a
credible internet presence 
 - monitor daily your credit card and financial records,
noting unusual events.  Have an action plan ready–
 - have an 
action plan ready for losing credit cards, cell
phones or cars
.  Don’t wait for the unfortunate event to happen–
have paid up insurance, contact numbers organized,
detailed information to provide 
 - record retention file guidance retention
1 year:  payroll stubs, bill statements
6 years:  income tax records and related forms
7 years:  critical slips, statements and cancelled checks
Permanent:  investment records, pension papers, insurance
policies, contracts, personal-  birth certificates, military,
marriage, divorce, adoption, naturalization and citizenship
real estate
 - always enroll in substantial disability insurance
.
MID-CAREER
 - continue all the early career record-keeping
 - formulate a document location spreadsheet, what is in
your safety deposit box
 - have a list of people and institutions with their contact
information for banks, brokerages, lawyers, physicians
 - formulate a will, powers of attorney, and care for
children:  instructions who would raise them in your
absence
 - organize important family photos, papers and records
 - take the initiative to ward off identity theft 
.
CLOSE TO RETIREMENT
 - visit trust attorneys and determine who you would like
to represent you
 - interview and work with a financial adviser
 - organize a checklist for what to do when a loved one
dies [see comment]
 - wealth transfer planning
2 comments
10/31/17
Financial Considerations in your first Work Decade
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 6:00 pm

You learn and train in a wide range of technical skills,
develop writing ability creating public relations documents,
perfect public speaking and presentations in universities.

.
Do you get an introduction into solid financial practices
and decisions when you start your career?  From a number
of recent interactions I sense most don’t have those 
conversations or know people they can feel comfortable 
to ask.
.
Some situations, for example:
- start at a position and get reduced in staff in less than
a year;  Immediate actions
- decisions at sign-up starting a position at the new 
company-  stock options
- accepting an offer and relocation benefits
- financial planning questions and answers
.
Columbia University offers ten items worth bringing 
to mind.  The last hits home — money is not an end in
itself, it is a means to create personal satisfaction and
value.  Leading among the ten items are:
1.  figure out your required and optional expenses
2.  include creating an emergency fund, insuring yourself
and life essential properties
3.  manage your loans, payments, and credit record.
The time value of money can be estimated by the
rule 
of 72
“.
.
The financial world is changing constantly.  The recommendations
and rules of the past in general may not be applicable.  
Think 401Ks, IRAs, pension plans, how you use tax returns
and estimated tax payments.  
.
Create a “financial notebook” for yourself as a continuing learning
tool.  Learn from your mistakes.
.
Seek financial counselors or mentors you can go to.
.
If you work for the federal government, student loans can be 
forgiven.
.
Beware of becoming overly dependent on algorithms for
decision-making.
.
Suze Orman offered seven helpful tips useful at all ages.
3 comments
08/24/17
Cuts and De-Regulation. What can we do?
Filed under: Recent Posts, Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Technicians, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 9:39 am

Have you looked at the proposed FY2018 budget for science,
technology, health and engineering?  Mostly flat or cutback.
except for defense related expenditures (and the “wall”– which
will be paid for by someone else..)

.
Have you looked at the proposals for taxes?  Across the board
reductions in rates, which results in peanuts for the poor,
a cup of Starbucks for the middle class and a new yacht for
the wealthy.
.
Have you noticed the major overhaul of the rules and enforcement
actions of EPA, SEC and bank regulators?  Blank checks
for violators.
.
These three areas– major federal support for research, 
progressive taxation (richest contribute a fairer share) and 
regulations and legislation are what has turned American 
enterprise into an equitable thriving system in the 20th century.
.
We need to do something about the gutting of these.
.
Through the ACS we are provided some tools to be proactive
individually.  In a recent town hall we learned from our senator
that groups and organizations are much more effective in 
influencing and sending cogent messages to senators and
congress-people.
.
Let’s all urge the EPA to meet its mandated assignment, if not,
let’s increase our efforts at the state level with the DEP.
Let’s ask our ACS President to address research funding 
shortfalls that impacts our enterprise long term.
Let’s bring back regulations that reign in wild speculative behaviors
that benefit a clever few who have escape clauses to absolve
them of blame.  ACS Advocacy
1 comment
02/05/17
Linkedin Updates. Dennis Brown Suggestions
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 11:03 am

 From Dennis Brown:

Ideas 5 and 8 are applicable.  Remember online marketing is
the current state of the art.  Job seekers can use this tool 
for “push Marketing.”
  use of keywords
  involvement in groups
  online presence
  links 
  connection to “hubs
1 comment
01/15/17
Watch-Outs. 100. Negotiation insight, Title IX-Parental Leave, Continuous Personal Development
Filed under: Interviewing, Leadership, Mature professionals, Technicians, Legal matters, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:19 pm
INTERVIEWING AND NEGOTIATIONS
MONEY12-2016  Trends in 2017 (Job Market)
In negotiations it is not unusual for you to be asked
“How much do you make now?” and Something 
like, “What are your salary expectations?”
.
Recent ideas have materialized into legislation in
MA where it is no longer legal to ask about salary
history for in-state positions.  Note, too, that a later
paragraph states the law takes effect in 2018.
.
The article offers a response to the salary query–
“.. personal practice to keep salary confidential, as
my research has provided employers compensate
qualified employees with a salary between $xx
and $xy, and your being a leader I would not be
surprised to hear from you in the upper portion of
that range.”
.
PARENTAL LEAVE GRAD STUDENTS, POST-DOCS
L
inda Wang CEN 1-2-17, P. 23-4 PARENTAL LEAVE
Let me shout out about Linda Wang’s meaningful
article in the first issue of 2017 CEN on parental leave.
With the continuing trend of very long graduate
school tenures followed by one or more post doctoral
stints those wishing the fulfillment of family life
either learn too late that certain people or organizations
frown on or discourage distractions from their goals.
I dare say there can even be blacklisting or not offering
strong recommendations as noted in 
Mason’s fine
article on Title IX
.
CONTINUOUS PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
What can we do to remain employable throughout
our careers?  We do not think about that until often
it is too late.  It is in the present that we carry out our goals.
You should choose positions that provide personal satisfactions
day-to-day so you stick with it.  Engage in activities that 
have outcomes that coincide with your personal longer
range goals.
.
Early on in your careers you should realize that doing the 
same things over and over is self limiting.  You need to 
bring to bear what is emerging in the larger employment 
market (artificial intelligence, computation, robotics) and
seek out and complete career focused education, experiences
and certifications.  The Economist highlighted observations
and some trends.  (1)Self examination leading to Curiosity
is critical to continually learn and
(2) knowing your learning style and adapting content to
meet your style for long term application and near term
demands is your responsibility.  
Large questions remain, namely,
(a)does the training and knowledge get recognition and
reward for the time and expense?  
(b)Will there be experiences, skills and abilities that will
be useful where I am now and/or in other organizations?
.
ACS seems to have a working model for continuous
education and needs constant input for what would benefit
members.  How can we better offer soft skill development?
is one specific area, for example.


comments (0)
11/15/16
Undergraduate Job Search Workshop.
Filed under: Position Searching, First Year on Job, Technicians, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 1:31 pm

Last weekend we were part of a team presenting a job search
workshop for undergraduate chemistry field majors
at UConn. 
It was well attended and provi ded resume reviews and mock
interviews in addition to four topical discussions tuned to this
audience’s needs.

Four discussion areas from the day workshop are presented to readers.
 1.  Thesis or non-thesis masters is a graduate school option that was
new to many.  The thesis option involves a specialized project with
a professor.  It can require a longer term of study due to the research
in your domain.  The non-thesis option often involves a mini project
or a comprehensive exam to meet the requirements of the degree. 
The exam is taken after you have completed certain courses.

Choosing the thesis option can allow you to receive an assistantship
during your program.

Some fields prefer the thesis option as it allows a learning by doing
a new project to come up with outcomes.  If funding is limited, a
project reaches an end or facilities are not available the non-thesis
option
can be preferred.  Some fields, like geology, have reported the
non-thesis option has advantages as reported a Colorado School of mines.

 2.  Some firms reportedly use Jobvite to facilitate hiring.  People
have reported problems uploading their documentsJobvite specifies
that resumes need to be Word or “unlocked PDF” file formats
and that after uploading to populate application fields, you need to
use the attach button to include part for your application file.

You need to follow uploading instructions to the T.  Some instructions
include word limits, some seek a specific number of writing samples,
and others have specific deadline dates .

Barbara Safani points out that many people make the mistake of
taking their formatted Word document and uploading it into a text
box
on a company website.  Formatting is lost.  So it is prudent to
follow the specific job search instructions.

 3.  Traveling to an onsite interview can be a challenge.  Ask for
specific directions
to specific gates before you go.  Know who you
are to meet and their telephone number
in case of a delay, expecting
to arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled first meeting time.

Interestingly a number of companies now require following ITAR
regulations
.  Thus to facilitate the special ITAR badge bring your
passport with you if you are an international candidate.

 4.  I was surprised that my colleagues felt it was fine to ask about
salary during the onsite interview
.  This might be the case, if you
had a very promising position in hand or were working in a good
position already.
You should always be ready to respond to a salary requirements
question
or what has been your salary in the past three positions…
There are pitfalls for coming in low or coming in high.  So, a response
to that query would be here is a range and you would consider any
reasonable offer where you can make a difference doing something you
are good at.

comments (0)
02/27/16
Watch-Outs. 94. Personal Presence, Job Search Tips, Academic SEO
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:06 am
Our world is emerging, evolving yet some things remain
as good habits in our job search.  This entry shares 
sites describing impressions and trends in how we appear
and what we wear is received by recruiters and interviewers.
We also uncovered an entry while targeted at academic
career track takes its key concepts from business development
and branding.
The third entry is a frank advertisement about the things
people with advanced technical degrees should be doing to
find opportunities and openings.  So often they display the
“prisoners’ dilemma” working for a faculty member exclusively
depending upon him or her to figure out what career path they
should choose and when and how to pursue that path.  It does
not work that way, as it is really your prime responsibility.  No
one tells you that.            
DRESSING FOR SUCCESS –> SUCCESS
SOURCE:  WSJ 2-21-16 “Why Dressing for Success Leads to
Success” 
There is an unconscious, nonverbal communication that
people offer in the clothing we wear for different circumstances.
You need to be aware of this as you enter the job market and
continue throughout your career.  Many of the comments
reinforce the importance of quality clothing and good grooming.

ACADEMIC SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

SOURCE  The Academic Triangle Blog
This article offers using marketing principles to increase your
search rank on Internet search engines.
-  Google scholar profile
-  Google +, Researchgate  ,Academia.edu
-  use of keywords in titles and abstracts
-  author a thoughtful blog
-  affiliate with panels, group discussions, and committed networks

FIND OPPORTUNITIES–> COMMITTED NETWORKS,
REFERRALS

SOURCE:  Cheeky Scientist
You must get out of the laboratory to find your next position,
as foreign as that world and experience may seem to you.
This cheeky scientist entry frankly spells out the realities for you
in the highly competitive, different “human” world of impressions,
relationships, and being in the right place at the right time. 

Most jobs are not advertised and many emails and uploaded
documents are not read or at least responded to. Committed
networks and referrals are key.  Take all opportunities to
differentiate yourself.
comments (0)
01/06/16
Watch-Outs. 92. DuPont Job Losses, Target Date Funds in Retirement, Questions for joining a Start-up firm
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:58 pm

We should all be alert to what happens to employees at
DuPont and Dow as the two leading chemical corporations
as they process their merger and carve outs forming new
entities.  We may not be directly involved but it adds to
what technical professionals will face more of in our future
careers.

Jacob Bunge wrote that 1700 job cuts will happen in
Delaware to DuPont (see also Morningstar source) which
will flood the market with outstanding talented scientists
and engineers.  It can be traumatic for each person directly
or indirectly affected.  It is a message that there is no “safe
harbor” and job security is the knowledge that you can obtain
another desirable position if your current one is in jeopardy.
It can also mean that you are given some time to evaluate your
options and pursue your personal and career goals.

SOURCE:  A. Tergesen, WSJ1-2-16, “Target date
funds must rethink bonds

There are a number of comments to this article that describes
how bond components of target date mutual funds might be
overweighted.  This impacts retirees, the author emphasizes.
Target date mutual funds one commenter points out is a marketing
tool for those needing investment advice in making investment
choices mostly in tax advantaged funds.

Another pointed out the benefits of target date funds are
risk management and “diversification” with a projection
of lower price.   Because all managers “race” for yields
risk has been sacrificed.  Conditions have shifted so assumptions
about return projections and costs have changed.  There is no
prescription for those who have invested in target date funds,
but it does indicate another risk factor, not in the prospectus that
nearly no one reads.

SOURCE:  A. Sklover, 1-6-16, “16 Questions for joining a
start-up

There are several things Al Sklover brings up in this
article about joining a start up company to aid in decisions
about joining and negotiating what things you and other
employees, founders, advisers and consultants should share.

The way it is done is classic-Sklover, tell a story and its
outcome and offer salient principles, actions and resources.

comments (0)
11/09/15
Undergraduate Majors. ITAR, Use of Contractors for Screening, Interviews
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Technicians, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 4:04 pm

More than thirty Chemistry field majors attended a workshop
Effective job Searching last Saturday.  The topics included:
Matching your skills and interests to the job market, Job
search strategies, Resumes and cover letters, Giving presentations,
Interviewing in larger organizations, Mock interviewing and
Resume reviews.

1.  More organizations are using recruiting firms to perform
screening resumes, screening interviews, and reference
checking. 
They are adept at the process and are generally
not responsible for the final decision.  It is not ununsual for
the position to be temporary, but there are legal limits on the
length of temporary employment. 

2.  ITAR review to enter certain industrial sites.  Organizations
who design, manufacture and work with a number of government
agencies are required to comply with International Traffic in
Arms Regulations ITAR. 
Thus, if you are invited on site for
interviews you will need to bring along a birth certificate,
form of ID with your photo and may be expected to leave
your cell phone at the door
(no photos)..

3.  Problem solving interview questions are popular again.
These may require out of the box thinking.  They may require
how you might work with other applicants to solve a problem.
They may be time limited, may have no set answer and may
just demonstrate how you deal with unexpected situations.
We observed a mock interview asking:  how would you design
an emergency evacuation system for this building.

4.  It is hard to justify the one-page page length rule
of thumb
for resumes for all kinds of positions and applicants.
Each resume, however, does need to be targeted for each
situation using keywords.  It is an advertizing document for
you with a readable form and both computer and person
designed content.  It needs to be brief, concise and specific
with no errors.

5.  MBTI assessments were brought up several times as
helpful for preparation for your job search, for informal
meal interviews
and for audience analysis for presentations.

comments (0)
08/15/15
Trends in Technical Careers. Wireless, Mobile economy; Pressing Needs-Ammonia; Patent system debates
Filed under: Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:28 am

We do not see it but we expect remote control and
digital data access connected through wireless devices.
This provides challenges, opportunities and a need for
perceptive awareness for each of us.

One of the journals that I receive is Interface which
contains startling in-depth technical reading for a
general technical audience.  Several top-tier articles
on energy conversion and electrochemical production
of essential feedstocks.  There are several catching
articles worth perusing, from which I highlight one
on ammonia.  It is far more than just headlining
meso-facts.

A continuing debate among scientists and engineers,
innovators and inventors is the role of patents in
progress.  While not part of most graduate and post-
graduate training and more importantly reading, a
deeper awareness of the patent realm is highlighted.

HETNETS, 5G CONNECTIVITY IN YOUR FUTURE
SOURCE:  Fortune Ad Section August, 2015, p-51-3
PCIA informed us of amazing transformations happening
in our lives as we carry and use portable remote control
and communications devices with us.  A ten-fold increase
in global “traffic” is expected in four years.and we will
all be affected.  So it is “join us or get out of the way.”
Software is replacing custom hardware in creating
HETNETS heterogeneous networks and robust remote
applications, like surgery, is being conceived.
View PCIA webpage for more.

OPEN ACCESS PUBLICATION:  AMMONIA
ELECTROCHEMICAL PROCESSES
SOURCE:  Interface Summer 2015, 53ff
J. Renner, L. Greenlee, A. Herring K. Ayers,
“Electrochemical Synthesis of Ammonia:  A Low
Temperature Approach”
Among the many things we see emerging are open
access publications of high technical merit
like
the ECS journal, Interface.  One stalwart article
in this quarter’s issue is on the “mastery of nitrogen”.
The article brings together President Millard Fillmore
state of the union address, BASF’s Bosch Haber
process and selective catalysts to point out where
chemistry can make a difference in reducing where 1%
of all energy is used and 3% of all greenhouse gases
are produced.
See, for up coming article sourced above.

PATENTS
SOURCE: The Economist 8-8-15, p. 11
Time to fix patents
After defining what patents are and are not, hearing
many sides of the controversial issues of patent
protection and legal rights might be a good place
for people not versed in this important technical
topic to read and study.
The Economist offered a slanted journalist article
to shine light on an everlasting topic.  The comments
to the article reveal a much more complicated, many
sided landscape, even including some interesting
innovations in the European patent system.
Worth reading.

comments (0)
07/23/15
Tools to Gain more Security in our Career Paths
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 2:44 pm

Nearly 80% of the members of our graduate course in
Professional Development rank security or certainty as
a leading desire.  Thus, a high percentage sense a higher
level of un-certainty.

I led a seminar recently on ‘Dealing with Uncertainty’ where
the attendees were asked what were they uncertain about.
Was it how to make good decisions, or
What should be their next career step, or
Should they stop with a MS, or
How to do a good job search, or
How long should they expect to stay at a job, when should
they move, how do you look for a position while working,
or
What do you do if your boss disagrees with you or
does not like you, or…
You might get the point.  Then, I asked them to share
their uncertainty with others before asking them to
discuss what feelings do the uncertainty evoke?

Did they feel confused, or anxious, or frustrated, or
stuck (and not able to change or move), or making false
starts
?  The top three feelings they expressed were:
anxious, confused and frustrated.

We talked that many of their situations were created by
the circumstances that they were in influenced by outside
forces.  They have relatively little control over these. 
What they each have control over is how they individually
respond to the feelings that the circumstances evoke.

Those who felt confused might lack VISION.  What are
their career objectives?
Have they done a S-W-O-T, strengths-weaknesses,
opportunities and threats analysis?
Do they participate in setting goals, performing a “gap
analysis
” and design a personal development plan?
Do they have a Z Plan, a personal desired outcome
when everything comes out “jelly-side up”?

Those who felt anxious might lack the NECESSARY
SKILLS.  Have they performed a personal self assessment?
Do they know soft and wise skills that they are expected
to display and will provide advantages?  Do they know
how to manage and build personal self esteem?
Ref. Brian Tracy

Those who felt frustrated might not have developed and
used available RESOURCES.  Have they mentors that
seem committed to them?  Are they aware of legal
counsel of Al Sklover for employment issues?  Are
they aware of the WRAP method (Widen options,
Reality check solutions, Attain distance/perspective
and Prepare to be wrong)

Working through these brought some clarity to dealing
with each person’s sense of uncertainty.

Thanks to Hari Narayanan for bringing the uncertainty
matrix to my attention.

comments (0)
06/05/15
Watch-Outs. 82. Business strategies, Legal covenants, where mfg jobs are, Overtime pay
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Technicians, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 8:04 am

What do you know about the documents you sign
when you are employed by an organization?  Al
Sklover provides deep insight into what they protect,
require and imply in one “watch out” link.

When studying organizations to determine pros and
cons for their mission and strategy we are faced with
some unfamiliar terms.  The Economist reviews some
current popular styles that can provide help in your
job search,

WSJ projected where manufacturing jobs of the future
will be.  It provides “down to earth” reading that society
publications might not be as forthcoming with.

RESTRICTIVE COVENANT DOCUMENTS
SOURCE:  A. Sklover, “Non-Solicitation agreements
from A to Z
” April 2015
An authoritative  description of restrictive covenants is
agreements to limit your future work-related effort, Al Sklover
offers.  They include:  non-competes, non-solicitation and
nondisclosure.  The site renders thoughts and opinions about
what wording to look for and seek an understanding of, if you
are faced with such agreements.  Clear language and integrity
stand out in the “working wisdom blog.”

BUSINESS STRATEGY DEFINITIONS
SOURCE:  The Economist, Schumpeter, “A palette of plans
5-30-15. p. 66
Business life cycles, mergers and acquisitions, patent litigation
and joint ventures, product recalls and new updates dominate
the marketplace.  When you evaluate firms to consider working
at, it might be helpful to have a clue on the business strategy
since working there is truly investing your time and very likely
your resources.  Schumpeter summarizes a Boston Consulting
Group book on business strategies.  It describes:
niche-dominating, adaptive-evolving (4E model), blue ocean
(whole new market), broad-partnering, and being-nimble-
striving for-efficiency strategies.

FORECAST:  FUTURE MANUFACTURING JOBS
SOURCE, WSJ, 6-3-15, p. R6,”Where the manufacturing jobs
of the future will be

This article is a litmus test for job forecasting of technical
professionals.  Realize that things will change, like the fracking
revolution for jobs in the oil patch and flexible innovation
when oil prices suddenly declined in the last year.
The article does not relate directly to PhDs and post-docs,
but it does indicate the health of certain industries and
the top locations  of chemical plants and plant systems
operators.

BONUS Sklover Working Wisdom:  Topic OVERTIME PAY

comments (0)
04/25/15
Transformative Planning. Looking for Disruptions Impacting your Industry, Business and Career Paths
Filed under: Position Searching, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 9:33 am

A provocative concept introduced by Daniel Burrus
is transformative [rather than incremental] planning .

This concept results from a realization that there
are “wider” and broader forces influencing changes
beyond linearization of recent events.  Burrus calls
our attention to industries and organizations who remained
in their ’silos’ of view and perished or were left behind
due to total changes in context and culture.  (think:
iphones, ipads, and remote storage in place of cameras
and photos)

He teaches us anticipatory planning for what does not
even exist now.  He advocates a broader network of
information gathering and screening to be prepared
to explore in our information interviews and networking
interviews to be part of the future trend rather than trying
to catch up.  [ See blog.]

This motivates why this blog lists topics as Trends in
Technical Careers
, Watch-Outs, International Job
Applications, career paths you might not first consider,
and Interesting Links.

An example of a company seeking to adapt and adjust
is Bayer

A recent ad in Atlantic elaborates on AOT Analytics
of Things which is being incorporated into our daily
lives via predictive maintenance for safety, health
and efficiency and up-to-the-second awareness.


comments (0)
03/28/15
Career Path Considerations.
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:52 am

The situation facing many soon-to-be science and engineering
graduates, doctorates and post-doctorates can seem daunting.
What job directions or career path should I consider and figure
out how to choose?

At a recent post-doc seminar with three dozen attendees one
half chose, at first, academic and industrial career paths.  Many
of those had little clue about what they would value doing.

The other half did not have a firm idea and did not know where
to begin.  As Al Sklover points out:  “good counsel requires
personal knowledge”– strengths, hard and soft skills, what
motivates you, your values and ‘likes and dislikes.’   So, a
personal self assessment might start your screening process.

Then, a couple of useful processes before interviewing in your
checklist might be information interviewing positions and
organizations, networking interviews (using your elevator
pitch to market your interests and skills) and mock interviews.
This will fill your checklist with several actions and tools.

A helpful figure is presented in Vision 2025 (Marinda Wu)
offering where our technical skills can be applied.  With
slight variations this view can be applied across the board to
STEM fields– For chemical enterprises (substitute bio,
physics, geology, computer, biomed, etc.):
1)Chem focused jobs, 2)Chem-based services and regulatory,
3)Science & Engineering management, legal and policy,
4)Science & Engineering inspired government & business.

Consider using other resources in your search as you gather
relevant information and trends in a “Levy flight search
which recognizes the importance of the “long tail“.
Besides the CHEMISTRY JOBS section of the Yellow Bar
Consider:
Beansprock
ELN SLAS
Venture Philanthropy  2    3 

Consider not too tightly restricting your search in the
early phases.
 

4 comments
09/12/13
Screening Interview. Questions to chew on for Intel
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Post-docs, Technicians, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 10:45 am

What can mentors do for you?  They can offer insights
and perspective
that are not readily available in one
easy-to-reach location.

They can give you specific information that reveals to
a company interviewing you that you have done your homework
and are “on the ball.”

They can give you typical interview questions that you can
think about and prepare responses to.

EXAMPLE
FL recently was invited to interview Intel and I could
have shared information Dwight Hunter presented two
months ago that it is a leading designer and manufacturer
of computer, networking and communication products
with locations in over 60 countries, employing >100k
employees, 80k of which are in technical roles.  It is a
highly recognized brand (top 10) listed as one of the
top 50 best to work for (Fortune), and is aggressively
pursuing growth segments in data center and personal
computing businesses, while extending into newer market
segments.

Other relevant items about Intel are part of the package.

What questions would a screening interview ask:

Fundamentals of physics and mechanics of the fields they
have high interest in:

  How does NMR work?  IR?  Fermi resonance?
  What is the Si band gap? 
  What type, size of beam and energy lasers have you used?
  What is the half height of the UV-Vis dimethylgermylene spectrum?
  What is the differences betweem Si and Ge reactive intermediates?
  What is quantum tunneling?

New science
  what did I do with carbon nanotubes?
  how did I synthesize the composite materials?  How did I determine
the size?

Technology
  Any suggestions about how Intel can satisfy Moore’s law in the future?

Think seriously of investing time to have and develop mentors.
They can make all the difference preparing for an interview.

comments (0)
09/10/13
Virtual Career Fair. Indianapolis Experiences
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, First Year on Job, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 5:04 pm

For those looking for positions, seeking help with their
documents, and getting practice interviews, the virtual
career fair ended today was a membership granted opportunity
you should not have passed up.

I know I met with ten members who told me their expectations
were exceeded and they learned and practiced and received
advice on critical issues.

Learned
   public relations documents needed for industry and
what to include in them– keywords
   importance of the “resume red zone” the middle
third of page 1
   items to include in the heading and name on each
page with page number
    form and content of resumes
    importance of the interviewing continuum
    knowing about the zeroth level of the interviewing
continuum

Practiced
    how to conduct an informational interview
    how to conduct a telephone screening interview
    how to conduct a virtual video interview
    Wise skills — being allies for each other, committed
networking
   
Advice received
    Recent PhD who delivered their baby girl now wishes to
return to the work force, how should she respond to time
gap
     Recent graduate who wants to find a job in the Chicago
area, who do I network with
     What are the hot areas to look for positions– employers,
specific industries
     What companies in Canada are hiring
     Strategies for dual career families

comments (0)
08/11/13
Nonverbal communications. Cultural and Perceptural Differences
Filed under: Interviewing, Networking, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Technicians, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 9:25 am

Through more than a half dozen years, nonverbal communications
has been a topic several times in different situations.–
   Elevator speeches
   Networking
   Interviews
   Confidence posing (Amy Cuddy)
   Presentations

The latest update in Wikipedia offers an in depth discussion of
nonverbal communication.  A shorter, more readable version 
lists how nonverbal reveals
   reinforcing messages
   revealing a person’s emotional state and response
   displaying the connection or relationship between people
   supplying feedback from one or a group to another
   signalling communication interaction

At three recent seminars, I noticed several intentional signals
that underscored the connection between people..

CULTURAL IMPLICATION
- after providing a solution to a job seeker’s dilemma of working
for companies that failed, he “fist-bumped” me.  It was both
inter-generational and at an unexpected event.  But I “got it.”
-  at a student event where each person introduced themselves and
offered “factoids” about themselves and where they are from, one
“veiled” lady taught her classmates how she greets new people.
Introducing oneself at meetings, women are expected to offer
their hand for a handshake.  In some cultures, women do not touch
another man and should show arms cross, hands open bow
to signal
that this is their cultural tradition.

SPEAKING AS AN AUDIENCE MEMBER
-  soft-spoken members need to tailor their expression to the
situation.  They should start their comments louder at first,
gaining attention and favorable intention as an audience member,
enunciate consonants clearly and settling to their normal
volume so that people can hear. 
-  additionally, face as much of the audience as is practical
and while addressing one person create eye contact with others
in the audience.  Involving them.

BALANCING THE NEED TO TAKE NOTES AND LISTEN
WHILE PROVIDING NONVERBAL FEEDBACK
-  in many meetings, there are presenters, listeners and one
or two notetakers.  In one meeting, our conversation was
warm and genuine and we reached areas of substance where
I noted that she frequently reverted to the notetaker role.
Do you do this often at meetings, I asked?  Yes, in fact, she
is often asked to send out her notes for the meeting.  At
certain points in careers we need to realize the secretarial
role is presumed to be lacking leadership skills
, whether
true or not.
-  occasional notes seem fine.  “thought-hooks”  It is more
mature if one seeks leadership responsibility to understand
that nonverbal signals send underlying and nonstated
messages.  True, they should be “tested” and verified.  Too often,
the notetaker while getting all the words, misses out on the
significant opportunities
.

GIVING A PRESENTATION
-  in a seminar a presenter had to manage the A/V, maintain the
attention, and engage an unknown audience.  She smoothly
navigated a path to manage the program by walking the stage
smiling and asking feedback and input from different
areas of the room.

It is not enough that you know the material.  You have to be
an actress as well and have a “stage presence.”

1 comment
07/03/13
Recommended Reading on Behaviors and Career Management Issues
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:46 am

At the end of the Professional Development class an
interested person asked for some additional relevant
reading references.  This is the second listing of outstanding
books that I recommend:  (First)

Tara Bennett-Goleman, Mindwhsipering:  A new map
to freedom from self-defeating emotional habits
 
Harper Collins, NY 2013

Kelly McGonigal, The Willpower Instinct: How self-control
works, why it matters and what you can do to get more of it
 
Avery Penguin NY, 2012

Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, The New Digital Age: 
Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business
,
Alfred A Knopf NY 2013

Douglas Rushkoff, Present Shock When everything happens
now
,
Current Penguin Group NY, 2013

Douglas Hofstadter and Emmanuel Sander,
Surfaces and Essences:  Analogy as the fuel and fire of
thinking, 
Basic Books, Perseus Group, NY, 2013

Guy Kawasaki, Reality Check: The irreverent guide to
outsmarting, outmanaging and out-marketing your
competition
, Portfolio Penguin Group 2008

 Samuel Arbesman, The Half Life of Facts: Why
everything we know has an expiration date

Current of the Penguin Group, 2012

Liz Wiseman Multipliers:  How the best leaders
make everyone smarter, 
Harper Business, NY 2010

Charles Wheelan, Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread
from the Data,
WW Norton & Co, NY 2013

Daniel Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth about What
Motivates Us

Riverhead Books, Penguin NY 2009

 Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Switch:  How to change things
when change is hard
, Cengage Learning, Detroit

Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma,
Harper Business 1997, 2000

Sarah Horowitz, Freelandcers Bible, 2012

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Fooled by Randomness:  the Hidden
role of chance in life and in the markets
, Second Ed.,
RandomHouse, 2004
                                      , Anti-Fragile

Ray Kurzweil, How to Create a mind:  A secret of Human
thought revealed
, Viking, 2012

Frank Partnoy, Wait:  The art and science of delay,
Perseus Book Public Affairs, NY 2012

Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone:  And other Secrets to
Success, One relationship at a Time,
Currency Doubleday, NY, 2005

Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit:  Why we do
what we do in life and business
,
Random House, NY 2012

Martin Lindstrom, Brandwashed:  Tricks companies
use to manipulate our minds and persuade us to buy

Crown Business NY, 2011

Dan Ariely, The Honest Truth about Dishonesty:  How
we lie to everyone—especially ourselves
HarperCollinsNY 2012

Christopher Hayes, Twilight of the Elites,
Crown Publishers,
NY 2012

David McRaney, You are not so smart: why you can have
too many friends on Facebook, why your money is
mostly fiction and 46 other ways you are deluding yourself,
Gotham books,
Penguin 2011

Gary Marcus, Guitar Zero: The new Musician and the
Science of Learning,
Penguin Press New York ,
2012

 

 


comments (0)
04/10/13
“Virtual” Career Fair. Bringing Job seekers together with career consultants and recruiters
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Recruiters, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 8:59 am

If you were not able to attend the NOLA meeting, and you
seek your next position or you want to be prepared for
whatever may happen next in your career, did you think
to attend the “Virtual Career Fair” over the last two days?

Out of a job, need help
?  VCF is one of the services the
ACS provides— free…In fact one of the people JC I
spoke with yesterday via telecon
[more about this later]
had let her membership lapse.  She informed the ACS of
her situation and requested a waiver-membership extension
so she could attend.

RESULTS:  We video-teleconned, via Skype, for 90 minutes,
where we not only reviewed her current resume and a cover
letter, but also prepared her for a video screening interview. 
  What to wear [she was professionally attired],
  background set-up [we removed glare and unattractive
background items, placed her in the center of the screen, had
her sit back to we simulated being in the same room, and
suggested that she use a microphone for voice clarity. 
   Look into the camera[, as if,  right above my eyes.] 
   Smile. 
   Manage non-verbal behaviors.

Then I suggested JC to contact a recruiter who seemed to be
well suited to her quest who was also attending the VCF,
ZyomicJobs .  Earlier, I had a warm conversation with Alan
Meyer
who has a genuinely unique and helpful approach for
laboratory scientist careers.

There were four kinds of people who I observed in the VCF.
Browsers:  less than 30 minutes to spend, what is it about?
Curious:  Had one or more Specific questions and sought
specific advice.
People who wanted a resume or CV reviewed or a consultants
insights into the job market today and what they might do. 
They were often willing to spend some time to engage a
consultant.  Most did not wish to Skype.
These three groups were not quite ready to do a video-telecon.
The 4th group wanted to full experience of a virtual video-telecon
review and mock interview practice.  They were ready to
Skype and got the most, by far, from the VCF.
 -  Specific questions asked and answered
 -  resume reviewed on the spot [They emailed me their resume,
I worked with them line by line to point out pros and cons and
what reviewers seek.
 -  mock video-telecon interviews on the spot.

Other specific examples included:
Career advice for recent mothers telecon from home taking
care of a newborn.
Where and how to find keywords for a dad waiting for his
teenagers to come home from school for his resume…job
descriptions and information interviews
…considerations about attending a regional ACS meeting
vs. a national meeting.

These kinds of things are much better to handle with a
Skype.

RECOMMENDATIONS:  This VCF approach is incredibly valuable
for members who cannot attend a national meeting.  Preparation
is very important. 

1.  Have your goals established, questions prepared and your
computer readied.
2.  Have back-up plans ready to go.  Cell phone handy to call
in case of computer interruptions.  [In fact most people’s
computer systems could not be integrated with the VCF
system to do a video/audio interaction.  Many reduced themselves
to keyboarding which is a FAIL in my view.]
3.  Dress professionally.

1 comment
01/03/13
More on Business focused Resumes and Interviews. Achiever Pattern
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Technicians, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 1:34 pm

A person never honestly knows what interviewers and
recruiters seek when making their case for a product
manager or project manager position.
Accomplishing difficult goals, managing various aspects
of projects are common for experienced workers.

Read an interesting piece by Lou Adler in which he
indicates his admiration for people who have an “achiever
pattern
” in their recent experience.  There is more to your
preparation
if this is how you wish to market your skills:

 - Specifics
 - Motivation
 - Well thought through examples
 - Understanding of what interviewers will be doing with
     both your spoken (screening and on-site interviews)
     and written (resume, etc.) data:  comparison to other
     candidates
 - “Presence” in professional settings, Internet, and in
      person, showing confidence. adaptability and
      desire to learn

This is from a “recruiter’s perspective,” a perspective not
many technical people consider.  He has presented this in
various forums (contains several resources) and it has a
following.   For those with interest in start-ups, business
development and are open to new challenges in business
Adler can be a solid resource.

BUSINESS POSITIONS, WORKING WITH RECRUITERS,
PREPARATION DETAILS

1 comment