From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

August 2006
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Finding Jobs- Specific Industries
Filed under: Position Searching, Recruiters
Posted by: site admin @ 8:24 am

Hi Dan,

Thank you for checking in.

The resume documents coupled with T’s example were very helpful.
I’ve reworked the accomplishment statements to make the impacts more transparent.  I sent out a resume yesterday to a catalyst development company and got positive response, an indication to me that the resume is progressing in the right direction.

With respect to targeting, on the electrochemical front, I have been looking at the abstract books and conference programs of the big fuel cell conferences to get a sense of the issues and some of the major players.  I am also corresponding with a school alum who works in the industry.

Do you have ideas for other research strategies either for the electrochemistry industry or for other types of fuel/emissions catalyst companies?

Thank you once again.



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Rejection - Next Steps
Filed under: Interviewing, Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 9:22 am

This is a situation that happens to nearly everyone at one time in their professional life.  Getting different ideas about how to professionally handle it is important in helping each of us cope and move on.  Here is a good segment on dealing with a rejection after a job interview from WSJ.

Source:  Rejected by Your Dream Employer?  How to follow up to win an offer? 

By Sarah E. Needleman WSJ

Passed over for a job you really want? Hold off throwing in the towel just yet.

“If there’s an organization you really want to work for, don’t let your first rejection be your defining moment,” says Shelia Gray,  “Continue to pursue the organization.”

Here are four tips for staying on recruiters’ radars for new job opportunities.

1. Keep cool following a rejection.

Being turned down for a job can hurt, but avoid expressing anger or resentment toward recruiters, cautions a general manager at Professional Document Solutions Inc. “Some people almost act like you owe them an apology,” she says. “You never want to tell recruiters that they were in the wrong.”

She recalls an email from a candidate accusing her of making a mistake by not hiring her for a sales position. Up until that point, “I was impressed with the gal and thought about calling her back in a few months if a position opened up,” she says. “But her email took away that chance.”

2. Write a thank-you.

Another hiring manager once received a thank-you from a candidate after he’d been denied a director-of-engineering position at a high-tech firm. “He acknowledged that it would’ve been a great company to work for, but that he understood he was not the right person for the particular opportunity,” she recalls. “Most recruiters remember great candidates, and that letter kept him top of mind.” When another engineering position opened up at the company a few months later, he was invited to interview and  was subsequently hired.

A thank-you can help reinforce your strong desire to work for a company.

3. Send friendly reminders.

Keep in touch with recruiters after being passed over for a job, [since in some cases hiring for the]  the position was put on hold. One candidate followed up in an email about a month later. Coincidentally, the company was ready to fill the position around that time, and he was offered the job.

In some cases, following up may require several calls or emails over time. One a month is sufficient.  Consider showing your  determination and confidence.

4. Request feedback.

Following a rejection, ask interviewers for advice on how you could have performed better, suggests the article.  That demonstrates a sincere interest in personal development and career progression.

See the article for specific information that was abstracted for this item.

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Application Form_Salary Questions
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 9:10 am


Application asks for your salary:  Is it better to list a range?

By Perri Capell WSJ

Question: I’m considering applying for a job that requires my salary history and requirements upon application. Do I “give away the store” before getting my foot in the door? And if I do apply, should I be exact, or can I give a range?

P.C.:It’s clear that you don’t intend to blatantly lie about or inflate your earnings. But putting down a salary range is a way to imply that you are paid more than you currently earn.

I presume you want to do this so the new employer might offer you a higher salary than if it saw your actual earnings. But this can be construed as misleading, and you don’t want to start a new job by making that kind of impression.

In fact, you need to land the job before you can begin to discuss pay. This won’t help you. Most large companies hire employees contingent on them passing a successful background screening and reference check. The signed job application you provide — including the pay amount — is a legal document. If the company discovers you’ve supplied spongy numbers, or any other inaccurate information, it may be grounds for your termination. Even if you have started work, you may be asked to pack your things and leave. Not only would that put you back in the job market, but it won’t look good on your resume.

Stating a range probably wouldn’t have raised too many eyebrows a decade ago. But hiring squeaky-clean employees is more important than ever, thanks to corporate scandals and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which tightened corporate-governance rules. These have made employers sensitive to any appearance of impropriety. You don’t want even a hint of dishonesty to tarnish your chances of making an impeccable impression.

“Be as specific as possible” on the application, says Jason Morris, co-chair of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners, a Durham, N.C.-based trade group. “You never want to give someone the thought that you would be misleading them.”

Even so, many candidates still try to get away with falsehoods on applications, says Mr. Morris, president of Background Information Services Inc. in Cleveland. Of job applicants it has screened during the past seven years, 56% have misstated their salaries by $1,000 or more, were a month or more inaccurate about their employment dates, or listed positions different than the ones they actually held, he says.

Besides using screening firms to check on candidates’ backgrounds, some companies ask for final pay stubs or W-2 tax forms to verify salary, adds Jim Pappas, manager of corporate staffing for the Barnes Group Inc., an international diversified manufacturing-and-distribution company based in Bristol, Conn.

“If you put down a number that isn’t correct, it could get you in a lot of trouble,” says Mr. Pappas. “I’ve been with companies where a person lied about their salary, and they were subsequently terminated for falsifying their application.”

Bonus or commission pay is hard to determine, especially if you leave a company at mid-year. If you are eligible for a bonus or commission, it’s OK to state your salary and then say you also have a, say, 20% bonus potential, he says. It’s also acceptable to say, “I earn $60,000 now but hope to make $70,000 in my next job based on my performance,” Mr. Pappas adds.

Leaving the space blank probably won’t work, because large employers may not interview you until they know what you make now. “I always call and ask candidates what they are earning before they come in,” says Mr. Pappas. “I say that I need to give the hiring manager the complete information and, without it, I won’t forward their information. They can either give it to me and interview or not provide it and stay home.”

As for “giving away the store,” that’s not likely either. Most companies have established ranges of pay for each job and try to pay candidates a “market” salary, or what surveys indicate is the “going” rate for people with the same amount of experience at similar companies in their industries, says Mr. Pappas. If you have more experience, you might receive pay at the top of the range and if you have less experience, you might receive a salary at the lower end of the scale.

So you really aren’t giving away anything when you put your recent earnings amount on an application, because employers know what they’re willing to pay. If you earn significantly more than the market rate, you need to explain what makes you worth more. And if a company tries to pay below market, it will have difficulty keeping employees.

Myself, I would struggle with the “guilt” factor. If I fudged my salary amount a teeny-tiny bit on an application, perhaps by inadvertently including a one-time spot bonus award, I would worry about the number not matching what a background check would uncover. Feeling nervous would be a terrible way to start a job and a relationship with a new employer. By being accurate, you never have to worry about exaggerations coming back to haunt you.


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Job Offer: Vacation Negotiation
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations)
Posted by: site admin @ 10:49 am

Hi Dan

Thank you very much for the e-mail and your helpful suggestions.  

Actually I was just about to write you an e-mail with some questions.

Also about the D offer: They have made a very standard offer and I am pretty satisfied with it (base salary in lower 80k, 0-12% bonus based on
performance, 401k and pension, health and dental insurance, relocation expensed including lodging and food expenses for 1 month plus a lumpsum amount and some other things.) Only thing that is not clear is the vacation and I will inquire about it. I talked to my friends and they said that even though it is a standard package, many a times corporations leave a little room for negotiations. If this is true, does it make any sense to open up such a discussion and how shall I do it.


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Job Offer: Salary Negotiation
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations)
Posted by: site admin @ 10:19 am

Hi Dan,  

Thank you very much for sending me the information on the career workshops.
 I will certainly talk to the people in the department and by next week I will let
you know what they say.

And yes indeed you answered my questions about the vacation.

Also, can you tell me if it is possible to negotiate the base salary with the organization?


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Cover Letter: Ad Response
Filed under: Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 10:57 am

Dear Dan,

I wish to apply for a position for which I have a job description.
Below is the job description from the company.

Could you please critique my cover letter?



PhD Position Description – Rheologist

Job Title:

Sr. Research Chemist/Engineer


The D_C Company, Basic Plastics 


Plastics Characterization, Plastics R&D


Freeport, RX




Material Science/Polymer or Chemical Engineering

Job Description Overview


The D_C Company is recruiting for a position in Plastics R&D with the Plastics Characterization Group in Freeport, RX. The selected candidate will serve as technical resource for our Rheology testing capability (Dynamic and Capillary Rheology, Elongational Rheology, Dynamic Mechanical Thermal Analysis). In this challenging role, the incumbent will be responsible for the development of new rheology capability, application of this capability to the development of new products and resolution of manufacturing or customer issues.


1. Serve as technical resource to Freeport rheology capability:

           - provide technical support and training to testing group
           - maintain high-standard service levels for routine testing
           - develop new test methodology/models/understanding to support business needs
           - participate in Dow global rheology network to leverage & optimize rheology capability globally
           - keep up-to-date with advances in the field of rheology
           - play key role in new instrument evaluation and selection

2. Serve on multidisciplinary teams supporting product development and application development programs

a.  provide consulting in solving complex problems (e.g. characterize polymers with new structures, troubleshooting issues at customer)
b.  participation to patent strategy involving non-standard polymer characterization techniques

3. Network internally with other Dow business units and externally with universities and research institutes

a.  proactively participate in Dow internal seminars and document high quality research reports
b.  scientific communications at international conferences and publication of articles in scientific journals



    1. Strong theoretical and experimental background in rheology
      + 3-5 years of industrial or university experience
      + Experience with characterization of PE/PP (other plastics is a plus)
      + Good understanding of polymer processing is a plus
    2. Experience in other polymer characterization techniques
    3. Strong, innovative problem solving skills
    4. Ability to collaborate effectively with others, customer service focus
    5. Excellent written and verbal communication skills

    Motivated candidates with relevant qualifications are invited to send their resume to :


    Dear Dr Per Oxide

    I am a graduate student in chemical engineering/polymer science at the University of M working towards Ph. D. I came to know about a Ph.D position in rheology at D_C through S. Cost of D_C and my advisor Prof H. Summer.

    My current graduate GPA is 3.82 and for the past three and half years I have been practicing rheology. My thesis is related to “self-assembly and shear induced morphologies of asymmetric block copolymers” and I use rheology extensively to study the dynamics of these materials. I am also familiar with other polymer characterization techniques such as DSC, SAXS, WAXD, microscopy etc. I have trained a number of graduate students at UM on how to use rheometers for measurements and how to get most out of experimental data. I am very familiar with a rheological software, IRIS, that is used widely for analysis and prediction of rheological data. I also worked as assistant during Prof Summer’s rheology course at the 2005 Society of Rheology’s meeting in Lubbock, RX. I have widely used oscillatory, steady and transient rheology during my research and I am familiar with non-linear theories which utilize the dynamic data and predict non-linear flows such as uni-axial or bi-axial extension. Also, I have been involved in shear induced polymer crystallization of semi-crystalline polymers.

    Previously, I possess BS and MS in chemical engineering from University of Mumbai.

    I believe that the responsibilities for the this rhelogist position are closely related to what I have been doing during my Ph. D and that I will add value to your team. I look forward to hear more from you about this position. Meanwhile, if you need any additional information, please let me know.


    Thanks and regards

    Dept of Chemical Engineering
    University of M
    A 23 Polymer Sci Building
    120 President’s Dr
    Amherst, M 11111
    Ph: 444-444-4444

Telephone Interview: Difficult Question
Filed under: Interviewing
Posted by: site admin @ 7:52 am


I hope you had a great weekend. I had an one-hour phone interview with Eastman Chemical Company yesterday. I was a little nervous in the first few minutes but I calmed myself down. Overall, I feel everything was going well except for one question.

After I briefly went through my education, I was asked
   why did you want to get a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry after you earned an M.B.A.?
My answer was that I believe that an M.B.A. plus a Ph.D. in Chemistry will prepare me for a career as a “lead-analyst/researcher” in today’s business world.

After hearing my answer, Dr. S (interviewer) switched the conversation to my experience with GC-MS.

Do you think my answer is OK? or there is a better way to reply? I am pretty sure I would encounter same question again.

Thank you!


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