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

November 2006
« Oct   Dec »
“Culture Shock” in a new position
Filed under: First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 10:54 am
Today’s Wall Street Journal (Career Journal, p. B6) had a
timely article on “Culture Shock:  Learning Customs of a
New Office.”  Very pertinent to our First Year on the Job
segment on this topic, with lots of good examples of why
you need to learn the culture of a company to be successful.


This article, by Erin White

is so good it deserves some attention.
To succeed in most institutions, we often point to the wisdom
of understanding certain critical habits, developing and improving
communications, making performance reviews work for you,
becoming an effective continuous learner and fitting in to the
organization’s customs and culture. 

The author states, “Learning a workplace’s customs can be a major
challenge.  Regardless of prior work experience, people often
struggle to discern protocols, etiquette and culture when they change
employers…  They … will not be described in the job description…”

“There can be lasting consequences to breaking unwriten rules…”
Several listed in the article represent the tip of the iceberg. 
  “Tolerance for questioning the boss.”
  “how much to lean on administrative suport.”
  “Asking for help…”
  “send instant messages to colleagues before calling them, to see
if the person could chat just then…”
  “weekend email checking”
Erin White states to “take advantage of their ‘grace period’ to
ask lots of questions in their first months on the job.”  “Closely
observe others and follow their lead.”  Ask others for feedback,
“if they unknowingly violated an unwritten rule.”  Get help in
learning and knowing…”that’s how it’s done” items that are large
(involve many people or higher ups) and small (not urgent, not
important, and involve few people).  
Please send in any other cultural sensitivities that you have observed
or heard about.
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PR Documents: Submission Rules of thumb
Filed under: Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 11:36 am

No one asks the question, but everyone who is looking at the job market,
faces the dilemma of “appropriately” submitting their resume/cover letter
or, for mid-career individuals, PR documents.  So what are some “do’s,” 
and suggestions that one can consider?

We know that there is a trend toward being more informal, but applying
for jobs is an exception.  Courteous, professional, business-like and
formality, showing organization and purpose, are the keys for winning
submissions.  There are challenges to this for mid-career people who
need to also present evidence of projects worked on, industry expertise
or technical or management savvy.  For too many attachments to an
electronic submission means that most will not be read.  

This item suggests several ideas to consider for your particular case.  
There is no “one-approach-fits-all-cases,” as far as I know.

1.  Use proper English, full sentences, business-letter form (both yours
and recipient’s formal addresses, date, title and name of recipient)
on the cover letter.

2.  The cover letter and documents can be submitted in hard copy,
or as is much more common, via email.  If is it in hard copy consider
sending it so that it is not folded and delivered the next day, if it is

3.  If the submission is via email consider including the cover letter
as page 1 in an attached “resume file,” with formal name of the file
indicating it is your resume file, resumejoandoe.doc, in a Microsoft
Word or equivalent format.  Mid-career individuals might consider
several items in this file–  List of enclosures, resume, List of
References, List of Pertinent Publications, Presentations and Patents. 
Consider listing these as separate pages in the file.

If this is a submission to a pharmaceutical or biotech firm, they like
to see a nice one-page research summary.  It could be included in
this file.

Midcareer:  If this email is being directed to a decision-maker,
one can consider including in the attached document Industry
Perspectives, Projects List, Management Philosophy,
or Patent summary. 

Use standard black fonts (arial, times-roman, courier) on plain,
white background from your personal email account that is
professionally titled.  In other words, it is viewed unappropriate to
send from your employer’s email address, if switching positions.

4.  The customized cover letter (discussed in previous blogs) is
not repeated in the body of the email, in general.  The email should
courteously state your interest in a position and briefly your
summary qualifications, ‘experienced chromatographer with 8 years
experience with HP workstations in an ISO 9000 lab managed

5.  It would help the recipient of the email if it were titled,  
‘Candidate for position:  POS3732′ with enough detail.  If you
are responding to an ad, sending an email to a general addressess
will be a passive way of showing your interest.  You and more
than a handful of people are likely to respond.  You could further
your interests by contacting someone you know in the company,
or use your network to identify an employee to whom you can
send your resume, or indicate a specific personal contact (meet
at a regional meeting, meet at a conference, call to arrange an
informal conversation) to follow up on your submission.

Please let me kow if you have other suggestions that can be
helpful for submissions.



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Career Resource: Networking
Filed under: Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 12:28 pm

An asset to professionals in nearly every context of their career is
networking.  There seems to be no end to the variety of good ideas
that have been written on the subject.  People keep on creating new
ideas and innovating how and where they can be applied.

Networking can be considered like a carved gem.  It has a number
of facets or faces on which it can be viewed.  This post offers three
articles that represent facets of the concept of networking.

Stacey Bradford authored “Experts offer their tips for fruitful networking”
providing ten for her readers. Let me underscore four that create
resonance with my experience:

- “elevator speech.” Write a summary of what you want people to
know about you that can be delivered in less than 30 seconds (who
you are, what you do, what you’re looking for.)”  Tailor your message
to the audience and the situation..

-  For the people you know,  “…make sure to ask … for two or three
more referrals. (”Do you know anyone else who might be helpful for
me to meet?” can be an effective question.)

-  “Build relationships. Strangers won’t put their reputations on
the line for you. Build ties with a new contact before asking for help.
Consider dropping a personal note to any new contact you meet
at an industry event. Then follow up, perhaps with a helpful article
or introduction to someone you know.”

-  “Follow through. Nothing can kill a budding relationship faster
than not writing a proper thank-you note. In many cases, you can
e-mail it, but don’t assume the content is any less important than in
snail mail. A three-line message with a smiley face won’t cut it.
Keep the other person abreast of how your meeting went with
someone he or she referred you to.”

Judy Rosemarin wrote an article ‘right up my alley’ for it speaks
like I think.  “Networking strategies for shy professionals,”

“…networking is a lifelong, evolutionary process that you should do
frequently…Whenever you talk with others and seek their opinions
to make an informed decision — even if it’s just to find a good
restaurant, movie or electrician — you’re networking.”

Introverts and extroverts are personal style classes representing
comfort levels
in interacting with people.  It is helpful to understand
yourself, she points out and learn what works for you.  “They’re
generally quieter individuals who prefer to spend as much time as
possible in the company of their own thoughts and ideas, even
when among people,” she says. “They need not be shy and they
care an awful lot about people.”   “This caring attitude gives
introverts an advantage over more chatty networkers, since
they’re usually good listeners who absorb and reflect on what
they hear. This ability to remember what others say and value
is critical to fostering good relationships.”

“Pick something that means a lot to you and approach people
on that basis,” says Dr. Carsman. “You need to have a focus
and genuine reason for speaking to people.”

“…Introverts can enhance their effectiveness by improving how
they come across to others… However, by altering negative
perceptions about yourself, you’ll build greater trust and
rapport with others.

“Begin by learning to maintain good eye contact. Don’t be
afraid of revealing your feelings of sincerity with the other
person’s interests.”  She points out “while you don’t have
to change yourself, you’ll need to learn extroverted skills
and behaviors to become a more effective job hunter.
Like an acquired taste, your appreciation for networking
may grow. And when you start receiving the benefits, your
appetite for it may even increase.

The third facet is described by Sarah Needleman’s article,
“Job Search Secrets for hunting on the web.”

“The first step when conducting an online job hunt is to
specify clearly what you’re looking for on the web.”  Since
there is an overwhelming amount of information available,
using tailoring strategies will reduce the amount of undesired

“When you find a lead you plan to pursue, research it to make
sure it’s valid,” the article states.  Then, “before
to an ad, find out if you know someone who works at the

Professional Social “Networking sites may help simplify the task.”
In those cases, ”you might seek a referral from someone you don’t
know well.”…”Give her a sense of your background,” the article
says. “You want that person to feel comfortable since her reputation
will be on the line.”

“Finally, if you can, apply to a person. Many job postings instruct
applicants to send their resumes to a general email address and
don’t list an individual’s contact information.”

“Developing a personal connection can boost your chances of
getting an interview by allowing you to demonstrate your interest,
he says. Search the company’s Web site to find the contact
information for the head of the department you want to work in.”



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Leading Company Internet web sites
Filed under: Position Searching
Posted by: site admin @ 11:30 am

Hi All,

CareerXRoads is an interesting site.  Although mostly designed to feed
back to the hiring side of Professional Positions, it contains useful tidbits
for people looking for positions, as well. 

The following link:

highlights the top rated web-sites for a series of criteria for finding talent
and finding ways to attract and hire them.  My count is about one-third
(32%) of the companies are in the chemistry or chemical related field. 
If we consider food and paint the count is nearly one-half.

Several are good learning experiences.




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Job Offer considerations: Short Stay in company
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations)
Posted by: site admin @ 4:02 pm

Recently, a request came about ending a career search after obtaining a job
with a notable firm that had a recent downturn in their business prospects. 
The offer was a nice one.  I recommended that the person consider looking
at business articles relating to the industry and the company.  I also asked
if she had other offers and other interviews possible in the the near future.

She indicated that besides the offer, she was waiting to hear from a second
firm in pharma and she received an inquiry about an onsite interview at a
midwestern chemical firm.  (Hopefully, readers will understand that I am
not using names of firms for a reason.)

In addition, I suggested to her that she identify clearly what she most
wanted in a position and determine how well this first firm matched up. 
It was important. 
I further asked her to seriously consider following up the two incomplete
job leads until their conclusion since she might not know how things turn
out if she accepted the first offer and she might have very good
opportunities at the other two places.  In other words, use these other
interview opportunities as stong networking situations where she will have
defined quite nicely other places where her skills might fit.

Related to this is an article Perri Capell wrote about a complication
that can arise where a person is considering moving from a company
after having spent less than one year in a position.

The article raises the points
- don’t make your decision in a vacuum.  Ask other employees if
things turned out better by staying longer at a company.  Ask mentors.
[This person is wisely doing some sanity check with mentors, me in
this case, about certain things.] 
- decision-making process.  Did you not look closely at warning
signs or fail to research the employer carefully before accepting
the position?  [This is my fear for the person I am currently
consulting with.  The company who extended the offer may exert
strong pressure for her to accept the offer quickly, while she may
be able to still agree to the offer and look for future opportunities,
now before the offer is accepted.  It appears to me to be a very
positive situation following a patient process.]
- don’t be anything but honest on future resumes, other public
relations documents and interviews.
Yet phrase it in a positive way.  [This could be hard to do.]

Interviewing with the other companies might also teach her very
valuable things about salary, skills sets that are valued, future
growth opportunites and many other intangible things.

The lesson is create a job search plan and remain disciplined
to following each lead to its conclusion, as much as you can.



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Blog Welcome and Introduction
Filed under: Recent Posts
Posted by: site admin @ 9:05 am

Greetings to all chemically related professionals!

Welcome to the Northeastern Section ACS NESACS blog on careers and career management!

It has been my pleasure to volunteer to the ACS career consultants program over the last several years.? These conversations and emails have provided much valuable information one-on-one.  Much of it could be useful to a wider audience.? that is the motivation for this blog.  

In addition, I seek to benefit and have other members benefit from your questions and collective wisdom on various career and profession topics, including finding positions, interviewing, various public relations documents (resumes, CVs, etc.), negotiating, personal goal-setting, and others that you will define.

We may not find the perfect answers for all your questions and issues.  We will try to offer a range of opinions and suggestions, tapping into various resources.  We are open to your suggestions and seek out your help and suggestions to make this work for many members.

While I am still working, my employer has allowed me to pursue this as part of my professional development.  I will plan to review this blog regularly and submit and respond to queries three to four times a week.  
However, I need your participation and help to make this successful.  I am new at blogging and ask for your patience as we begin this process.  Please send ideas and suggestions to my gmail account:
Thank you.

“Take the attitude of a student.  Never be too big to ask questions.  Never act like you know too much to learn something new.”

-Miz Dot

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Postdocs 2.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, First Year on Job, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 3:50 pm

A recent article was forwarded to me from on careers for post-doctoral scientists
(”Careers for Postdoctoral Scientists:  Beyond the Ivory Tower by Peter Gwynne;

The article points out what one might anticipate as
one moves from an academic position to an industrial
one.  It is not only for post-doctorals but for most
scientists in general.  Let us focus on post-docs.

It is true that people with post doctoral experience
have a “leg up” on those without when applying for
industrial positions in certain fields, like pharmaceuticals
and biotech.  Where the role of a post-doc can vary
from group to group, generally positions are more
research leadership oriented.  This can involve
“supervising” some staff in the universities. 
However, it is a general observation that this is not
like the supervision one needs to do in industry. 
Many post-docs interviewing for industrial roles
wish to be a supervisor or a group head, when,
in fact, they have not had the breadth and depth
of supervision training that is required for industrial
roles.  They have, for the most part, only had
some sense of technical leadership.

More often than not post-docs bring this mindset
into interviews and are surprised to discover their
post-doc role not being considered as managerial

In fact, when a post doc succeeds in being asked
to join a firm, it is quite possible that a supervisor
is assigned to assist in the transition to bring the
post-doc up to a fully contributing staff member. 
It is not becasue of any lack of skills, it is because
of the difference in culture, pace, realities, and 
practices.  The Gwynne article introduces some
of these, using “quote bites” from a group of
pharma/biotech companies.

The article points out two strong suggestions for
post-docs who wish to enter the industrial job market.
(1) strongly consider doing several informational
interviews with people who have done a post-doc,
interviewed and started an industrial position to learn
what it is like and if they like it.  Consider this even
before doing a post-doc!
In other words, do a bit of long term career planning
three to five years out in time.
(2) have a good idea what it is like to work in your
selected companies.  Prepare by, for example, using
your post-doctoral mentor for learning what the
company is like. 
(A general observation is that post-docs don’t
make use of an extremely strong ally, their advisor,
enough when going for positions.)

For those who can take advantage, there is a useful
workshop offered at national ACS meetings that gives
a sense of many important things a recent new hire
should know early in their career.  It is
“First Year on the Job.”


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