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

July 2007
« Jun   Aug »
Things to look for and do: Retention
Filed under: Position Searching, Mentoring, First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 9:23 am

Paul Glen offered cogent insight
that people at all levels and positions
can benefit from.  He suggested that
since we are entering a phase where
employee retention is a focus of
employers and a factor for job
seekers, there are two factors–
  policies, generated by HR and
enforced fairly and with integrity
by managers, and
  engagement enhancement, 
performed at the employee level by
their supervisors and managers. 

His blog and Improv offer some
extensions at .

comments (0)
Personal Self-Assessment: Callings
Filed under: Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 8:25 am

Read the well written book by Gregg
, “Callings: Finding and Following
an authentic life,”  for several objectives.

My reading extracted eight “ahas”
that you may be interested in, if you, like
me, are processing your self-definition
and direction.  Here is a brief snippet
about them (number gives page reference):

-Passion:  “There are hundreds of ways to
kiss the ground,”  mystic poet, Rumi.

-Calls are essentially questions.  Not
necessarily questions with answers, here
and now, but looking for responses, to
expose yourself to and kneel before.

-Self awareness requires that we have
a curiosity about ourselves.  What are your
tendencies? what do you desire? will your
tendencies get you there?  If not, what
should you change? (22)

-Start small.  Observe first, don’t analyze. 
Use curiosity first, not interrogation. (23)

-Consult your death—good story.  (30) 
Impermanence is one of those things we
share with those we love.  I
t concentrates
your mind tremendously. 

-True callings are very rarely easy to

fully recognize.  More often, we can only

make sense of signs by drawing lines

between them, connecting the dots so
that they form a pattern or develop a
roadmap to follow. (36)

Quakers have a tradition called
‘clearness committees,’ where a person
can test his calling, enlist support, and gain
alternatives.  Once the committee meets
and the matter is defined, the group
encounters a period of silence.  This is
like a period of listening to each others’
souls enter into disclosure and discovery. 
Then, they only ask questions in a spirit
of caring, rather than even curiosity;
evocation rather than impositions. 
The goal is more to apprehend than to
comprehend.  (41)

Passion and maturity.  A calling
has to be matched by fortitude (standing
for your integrity, your commitment, shared
purpose), overcoming difficulties, drive and
compassion, if it fails. (74)

For those on a similar quest, “Callings”
could be good reading.

comments (0)
Deciding whether to Relocate: Other Factors
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 9:46 pm

Have been thinking about this topic for
a long time.  It stands out as being
important and not given a unified view.

The picture about relocation with a
company varies depending upon
circumstances.  They involve:
-   within a company or new company
-   with a family or without a family
-   with a working spouse (+/- family) 
     or without a working spouse
                     (+/- family)
-   moving a long distance or short
-   temporary or permanent move

That seems like a lot of factors.  It 
creates a lot of complexity.  It also 
means that most generalized articles
or discussions will not speak to your
specific situation.

This is simplified, as well, since it
does not speak to your personal
preferences and where you are in
your career.  Your personal
preferences need to be there as well.

My experiences have occurred in
two different situations but I
continuously evaluated moves over
the last 35 years.  So, in a sense,
it is like networking, you should be
assessing your situation regularly
to have a snapshot of where you
stand. before a relocation decision
Learn from other people’s

My friend John Borchardt has written
about relocation and pointed out for
a scientist population family
considerations, including working
spouse trumps most things.  But he
asks should they, considering how
more rapidly things change now?
Broaden your job search, he urges,
decide later.

Robt. Half Associates cite survey
results giving in decreasing order

 - quality of life in a new city would
influence their decision to relocate,
 - salary would be a major consideration.
 - cost of living in a new city,
new position and
 - distance of move.
They point out it is important to factor in what you want most.

Dilip Saraf did an excellent job of opening
up a “big book” on the hidden factors that
are not apparent on the surface, then plan
and evaluate.  He talks eloquently about
defining different people’s priorities.

David Bomzer examined the problem from
a different perspective than factor analysis. 
He went into the policies of the companies
and defined the practical things one can do 
to negotiate a position (with relocation) with
knowledge of the company’s policies.  Then,
again this should not limit what you may ask for. 

Erin Hovenoc pointed out that in certain
circumstances it is an advantage to indicate
in a cover letter that relocation IS NOT
REQUIRED FOR YOU.  My suggestion might
be to point that out in the interview and focus
on how you can make a difference for the
company in the cover letter.  Relocation
should not be a topic until a job offer is
extended.  You can indicate your preferences
but it is appropriate to suggest flexibility to
benefit the company at this point. 
Nonetheless, the comment that hits the 
nail on the head is to “read all the fine
print and get things in writing.”

Finally, Penelope Trunk has weighed in on
this topic.  Among her five points two make
my ‘good idea’ list.  They are :
  -  recognize that you will be changing jobs
many times; this is not your last move and
in two career families compromise and
understandiing each position change will
possibly not have a move on every change.
   -  live where the people you love will be.

So, this entry brings in 6 views on different
elements.  It is wise to track your situation
on a regular basis and establish what makes
sense about relocation with all of your

Is there something that has been overlooked?

comments (0)
Functional Resumes
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 6:53 am

Working on an assignment gave me a
chance to develope insights and
perceptions about functional resumes.

In addition to considering one for myself
the assignment provided a “when one
might value using it and what to include”

First let’s frame what the functional resume
will likely include in most cases:
  Heading (all the same details as in a
traditional resume)
  Objective (possible, but not always)
  Summary of Qualifications (Skills summary)
  Experience (use of skills with accomplishments)
  Work History
  Other Sections (with specific names– not “Other”)

  Separate pages for list of references and
publications and patents

Depending on experience level the Education
and Experience sections change– recent grads
post Education first, experenced seekers use
Expereince first.

Major accomplishments can be inserted after
skills for experienced workers.

There are several variations that can be
helpful, as one can see.  These are only a couple.

Once we agree on the sections to propose,
let’s just propose scenarios where the
functional (non-chronological) can be

1.  You want to market skills and experience
gained through coursework, experience or
volunteer experience, but do not have
formal certification or degrees.  Or, say
you are seeking a co-op or you are
taking a leave from classes.

2.  You want to focus on skills and
accomplishments rather than a lengthy
employment history.  It may have been
time in the military, serving our country.

3.  You want to emphasize skills not used
in your most recent position.  Perhaps
you are changing careers, or re-entering
the job market.  Perhaps, you have had
a variety of unrelated job experiences.
Or your career growth has not been

4.  You work as a free-lance, part-time
or temporary nature.

These all seem to be situations that
functional resumes might be a good way
of descibing your technical strengths to
potential employers.

Do you have others that people should
know about?  Let us know.


comments (0)
Interview Response: SARI for Behavioral Qeustions
Filed under: Interviewing, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 6:20 am

Behavioral questions like, ‘Tell me
about a time when ….’  or
‘What is your experience doing …’
are common in interviews.

We coach people to consider creating
memorable stories using the acronym
CauseActionResult [or SituationTask

Penelope Trunk Brazen Career recently
interviewed Jason Warner of Google
who opined, “…
less than 3% of all
candidates frame up their answers…
 the ones who do really stand out.  

Not every question will be best suited
to this approach, but it works well on
[m]any …remember …an acronym
called SARI, for Situation, Action,
Result, and Interesting Features. 
(You can remember
it by considering if you don’t learn this
interview technique you may be SARI.)

“…structure your [response] like this:

Situation: give the interviewer context. 
                Less detail is better, 
                give enough detail to paint the picture. 

Action:      explain what you did.  
                 using the intangible “we” is
one of the most common interview mistakes
                 describe specific behaviors
that you actually did. 

Result:      share the net result to the business.  
                 quantify this with numbers or other
business metrics

Interesting Features: 
tell something special and/or  
memorable about the story, 
                  tie it back to competencies
to strengthen your answer.”


comments (0)
Resume Input
Filed under: Position Searching
Posted by: site admin @ 5:58 am

As a friend and colleague put it, she asked
how does it feel to be on the other side of
the desk?  It is all about attitude.  If you take
input as fresh perspective using all the focus
you can on learning, it is exhilating.

Yesterday, I visited the Career Center and
conducted an introductory interview to list
where I was in my job search, what my
goals were, and what I could benefit from.

I brought my resume, CV (for academic
roles), job search plan, and some ideas
I had.  We talked about several things
and planned that I would return in the
afternoon to talk about taking Spanish
and relevant computer software training
in Vista and the other latest programs.

Upon my return, that option was not
available.  However, an experienced
resume reviewer offered to review my
resume.  Would I be interested in going
over my resume?

There is always something to gain by having
someone reflect on your public relations
document.  So, I said yes.

He had interesting perspectives that I
am proud to share.

Contact information:  He liked my listing
my web-site that revealed personal,
professional, and avocational interests.
It got him to want to learn about several
items– what is six sigma black belt, how
is my goal related to my background?

Bolding items and underlining items:  It
is like “newspapers on the newspaper
rack” analogy, he said.  If you were in a
“strange city and wanted to get the news
from a paper which one would you
choose?”  That one that is attractive,
the one that has the easiest to find
story of interest right up front, and the one
that is not cluttered with ‘too much

Objective:  Please tell them what the
resume author can do for the prospective
company.  Don’t spend the space telling
what you have done in a historical fashion.

Some of My Learnings:
1.  Post your well designed web-page,
if you have one.  [This was the first time
I tried this and got some feedback.  It was
in my heading information.]

2.  Use bolding and alignment to your
advantage and test it out with some fresh
eyes.  [I did not realize that my standard
chronolgical resume had bolded the
companies names and section headings
but unbolded everything else.  I would not
normally bold the company names.  But
there they were!  He, in fact, thought it
would be wise to bold the position titles.
Interesting!  I might try that.]

3.  I had ‘too much information’ that cluttered
up the space.  Reduce the information.
[I listed each major title and the date of each
position.  I listed a position I held 25 years
ago.  He thought I–  
           coulde reduce all the dates down
to just the bare essentials, cutting out
6 date sets.  
did not need to list my position
25 years ago on the resume.  We differed
here.  Exxon is/was a premium
worldwide employer.  Saying you worked
there is a positive.

4.  Based on what I was seeking, should I
consider a functional resume.  [Hmm, I will
have to give that some thought.  What
transferable skills can I portray of a fundamental
biological researcher that I have practiced
over the last 30-plus years?  Let me work
on that.]

My action items:
-  make changes to the current chronological
-  begin creating a functional resume for the
new field I am comtemplating.

comments (0)
Work-Life, Family Life, Professional and Continous Learning Balance
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 4:23 pm

As professionals, we deal with feeling
off-balance when we devote too much
time and attention to one aspect of our
lives or another.  One of the strongest
motivators that many people strive for
in fact is some element of control of
that work-life/family balance.  That
“balance” is not static either.

Our careers commonly absorb at least
70% of our waking time and support
the framework and wherewithall to
participate in the other realms of our
lives (family, friends, professional
career, and avocations).  So, much
attention is focused on ‘work-life issues.’

Several people have studied my
participation in things as being calm,
focused, making strides where my passions
lie, keeping fresh, and expressing things
(even negative things) with positive spin.

This is not accidental.  It is based on defining
life’s activities that yield a “flow”.  David Houle
has his definition of life flows.  Marci Taub
writes about it as “Getting ahead by slowing
down.”  Sandi Epstein describes it has a process
of continuous learning where you work on
yourself to move in positive directions in all
ways.  What I like that she highlights are
   have and share the joy of it all (say ‘thank
you’ and feel and know how to take
   live and revisit your core values
   know your best (creative and productive)
times and (creative and productive) activities
   learn your signs of imbalance, resentment,
fatigue, dissatisfaction, etc.

An appropriate analogy is that individuals feel
comfortable when they are ‘in balance.’  They
can deal with a little “imbalance” or
‘perturbation’, when they know it will be
short duration or they know the corrective
mechanism(s).  What drives individuals
into “tilt” is when the imbalance is beyond
a ”tipping point” or persists for too long.

So, as one assesses a first job, mid-career
shift, mature life realignment or all the
adjustments we all go through as a result
of families, friends and avocations consider
continuously learning yours and your
significant others’ imbalances and tipping

comments (0)
Networking 6. 80-10-10 Rule and Self-promotion
Filed under: Networking, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 7:49 am

Whether a person is in a large or small firm,
an entrpreneur or consultant, it is important
to let others know what you have done and
what you can do.  In a word–  Self-promotion

Consider looking at several articles:  Peter
has written about the 80-10-10 rule , where
one spends 10% of your time letting others
know what you have done and can do.

Marci Alboher has pointed to several books
that talk about bragging and Branding oneself.

What experiences can readers share about this
topic that helps you network and grow? 

comments (0)
Interviewing Question: Where you wish to be in 3-5 years
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching
Posted by: site admin @ 7:09 am

What is it that interviewers seek when they ask
the question, ” Where do you see yourself in
three to five years?”  A variation of this question
might also be, “What do you want to have as your
epitaph on your tombstone?”

In a sense the interview is checking to see if you
plan, prioritize and have goals.  It is also a chance
to see if you have been listening and learning in
the job search/interview process.  It explores a
bit what motivates you to work hard in spite of
problems, challenges and demands.

The response to this type of question could be
different for different people and different positions.

In general, the working world has not changed much–
we work with people to accomplish joint objectives
to achieve business results and satisfaction (by
learning, contributing, being creative, competing,
or satisfying customers).

One may respond in a general way if the position
and subsequent career path is not well revealed
when the question is asked.  One might offer,
‘It is not easy to predict what will happen to the
company (first), this position in the business and
myself (note–last).  I wish to learn the operations
and business well.  I want to work hard to make
positive contributions where ever I am placed
to see the company make higher profits and
succeed.  As opportunities arise, and my skills
match to positions, I hope to grow within the
company to increase my contributions.’ 

In specific technical or project roles that we
might see in the chemically related fields,
one might study and observe different career
paths of people who you meet.  You could
speak about some next career step.

So, one might be able to ask what have
successful people who have held this
position gone on to do?  Then, indicate
the ones that are of interest to you.

Over 20 years ago, in interviews I was
asked (at different times) where (1) I
would like to be and what (2) I would
like on my tombstone.  I responded
fine to the first and not so good to the
second, although it was honest.
   (1) I learned that people who
previously had held the position
went on to form a new research
group expanding his skill set and
develop new methods to understand
what the customer wants.  Two
other position holders had moved into
technical management management
roles with increasing levels of
responsibility.  My response
indicated that I was intrigued
by the
chance like the first person.  I was
invited to take the position.

(2) My response about my tombstone
was that I was ‘a good father.’ 
My response should have been
related in some way to the business.
I was not awarded the position.

My preference is not to answer a
question with a question like where
do you see this position going in the

Please consider not indicating that you
are not interested in the position, or
that the position is a stepping stone and
you will just take up space, collect a check,
complain and leave in two years.

Finally, keep it professional and related
to company related objectives.  For
this is where you want to point out that
yousee yourself succeeding in the company.

1 comment
Career Assessment Tools
Filed under: Public Relations docs, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 2:09 pm

Please consider taking various approaches
to evaluate the kinds of careers, places of
employment and actual activities of the roles
you might perform in a new job.  

Certainly, one can look at written literature
in various media to help you.  Talking to
various people like counselors
and friends, can provide direction and
questions to ask.

Information interviews with people in
roles is possibly more realistic. 

Taking opportunities to intern or take part
time positions
gets more insight since
you can have direct impact of what
people really do.

When one is less certain a current approach
imvolves taking and evaluating various
QuintCareers does a superb job of suggesting
various instruments and offer valuable guidance:

- compare online career assessments

- understand the limitations of free online
assessments. some guidance can result, no 
magic answers

- take several different assessments to 
learn and determine which tests provide
the most reliable results for you.

- trust your intuition. If an assessment
tells you something that doesn’t ring
true, disregard the information

- share the results you’ve obtained
from online assessments with other
assessments a counselor might
Ask the counselor to help you integrate
the results of various assessments.

- use self-discovery activities, such
as examining your strengths and
weaknesses and the activities you
most enjoy and least enjoy.

See also a good discussion by K. Hansen.

comments (0)
Networking 6. New Face
Filed under: Networking, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 6:43 pm

Networking ideas surfaced in Liz
Ryan’s article, ‘Network your way
to a second career

1.  let people know.
2.  update your profile
3.  use a targeted search feature [LinkedIn]
4.  indicate it is a two way street, win-win
5.  seek out targeted groups, societies,
associations, communities in your target field(s)

“The great thing about a second [or third]
career is that when people refer you and
make introductions, they’re not doing so
because of your credibility in your new
profession.  You don’t have any of that. 
What you do have is personal credibility
and a track record of success in other
environments.  You have your integrity 
and your winning personality.  Those
assets, plus the network you bring to
your second career planning and the
network you bring along the way, will
take you far.”


comments (0)
Resume Comments
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 5:57 pm

Don’t miss the latest Career Couch
rticle on resume writing, what resume

submitters should do and what

resume reviewers face. 


‘factoids’ and three suggestions
are highlighted from P. Korkki’s
article, “So easy to apply, so hard
for me to be noticed
,” [Google the
author and ‘career couch’ if link does

not function]

-  Internet ‘black hole’

With the rise of online company job
sites, along with job boards, it is
easier than ever to apply
for a job. It is much harder for a
resume to be noticed.

-  ‘…average Fortune 500 company
receives nearly 2,000 resumes’/day.

-  ‘…job seeker has …five seconds of
the recruiter’s eye to make a case
to be hired.’

And maybe not even that.  Many
companies now use word-scanning

technology to help them winnow
out unqualified candidates.
  If a
resume does not include certain key

words, it lands in the trash.

  Resume must make it through
automated scanner technology.  Resumes
must be “keyword rich”…  Make sure
your resume contains many of the

same nouns and verbs that are

listed in the ad or website.

  Pay attention to how your resume
looks on the screen.  Send it to several

colleagues to see how it reads to them.
Be judicious about bold-face fonts for
emphasis and white space for readability.
Avoid underlining and italics…

-  Switch from an objective to a
summary or qualifications at the

top.  The summary emphasizes

the skills that the applicant offers.

Don’t forget about networking.

Q.  In order to land an interview, is
it ever enough to just send a resume?

A.  Almost never.  “your job is not done
after you click ‘send.’  You must also
find some sort of inside contact.

Good read.

comments (0)