With the economy slowing (am I being charitable?),
it is worth listing positive things to involve yourself
in when in an awkward position of nearing the end
of term of a job or having not settled on your next
job. You’re in-between “secure” employment.
- demonstrate willingness to do the employer’s
bidding and adapt to new demands. It shows
- volunteer for tasks, seek out formal courses
or training in desired job skills. This openness
shows a HUNGER TO LEARN.
- meet with business managers to gain an
understanding of how your work impacts their
business. Be able to COMMUNICATE
WHAT YOU DO THAT IMPACTS
- shorter term contract employment
becomes more common with slower
economies. TAKE TEMP OR TEMP
TO HIRE POSITIONS by making sure
your RESUME ASTUTELY MATCHES
Sometimes when surfing blogs, value
is found in the article, sometimes it is
found in the references and links, but
don’t overlook the comments. A recent
WSJ article on Post-50s (Links to WSJ
no longer work; new web page) job
searching intrigued me (you can guess
why– over 50!
The comments (links to WSJ are not
functioning) were huge! Let me
Therefore, target people who can
Last week engaged me in another terrific PfLAGS
workshop at the University of Maryland. It was
principally conducted by J. Shulman.
If you do not know about this, search for it on
If you know about it and it is available to you,
really consider attending it.
If you know about it and want to have it at your
school or in your region, contact C. Kuniyoshi
at ACS– firstname.lastname@example.org .]
One of the forward looking students responded
to one of my initial questions:
what are you seeking; what do you want to go
Response: “I really want to get into management
because I really get frustrated when my research
doesn’t go well and I am a good ‘people person.’”
That was a type of response that I recall hearing
a few times before.
Peeling the onion back a little, I asked her, Where
did you get the sense that you should go in this
Response: “My boss observed me and noticed
that I lose my motivation when my research work
gets stuck, not producing results. He suggested that
since this happens, I should seek management
My intention will not be to caste aspersions in
Management is a very hard responsibility, just
like research, engineering, development, operations,
sales and maintenance are. It is important to
value all these roles and the people performing
them. What job seekers need to be pursuing
are roles that you can be proud and happy doing
and match your skills, abilities and talents.
Management many times requires advanced
skill sets in
-writing compelling documents,
-listening attentively to what is said
and other messages given often by how things are
said and what is not said.
For each of these, doesn’t it seem not enough to
be a “good people person?”
Going along with the skill sets, management is
performed in different manners depending
upon the focus– that is, goals, methods and
constituencies. For example,
- technology portfolio management which
prioritizes and balances projects and resources
(which includes people, money, time, etc.)
- operations management
- technical project management
- innovation management
- technical alliance management
S. Banjo wrote about how new employees
need to observe, learn, communicate
and perform reality checks in her article,
“Fast track strategies for rising to the top.”
[Google S Banjo and topic to get articles,
links to WSJ do not function.]
The anecdotes mentioned in the article
highlight performing intelligently in getting
tasks done and implemented.
J. S. Lubin wrote about recognizing the
importance of coming up to speed quickly
and working closely with one’s boss while
confidently developing the necessary skills,
abilities and experiences that will be needed.
[Google J. Lubin and topic to get article.]
How does one learn what is needed?
Observation, mentoring, and information
interviewing. All things we have mentioned
Reading B Safani’s blog from last year,
provides an useful idea to pass on:
‘accomplishment hooks‘for our resume
She devises several ways to create
accomplishment hooks that we can
adapt for the chemical field (substitute
whatever your field is– biotech,
biology, management, sales, process
chemistry….). Many of the
specific examples she cites appear for
mid-career people in various roles-
mid-management, technicians, mature
workers, bench and lab scientists….
managers reviewing resumes are
looking for examples where action or
- make or save money,
- accelerate development,
- improve a process,
- identify a root cause of an existing problem,
develop a new product, product extension,
- use an existing product or process
in an innovative way
- use resources well
To Save Money
To Improve a Process
To Reverse an Existing Problem
She points out that a visual tool can
nicely communicate results. Charts
can chronicle success over time, or
across functions or roles.
YEAR PATENT MEMOS PATENT APPL.
2004 7 3
2005 9 2
2006 15 10
or putting specific tools (that are transferable)
to use for company gain:
YEAR SKILLS CERTICIFICATIONS
2004 des. of experiments course completion
2005 process mapping 6 sigma green
2006 Leadership 6 sigma black
Want to point out a valuable site by
B Safani on networking that is worth
several visits. Some resonant concepts
- ask for information, not for a job
- Don’t take up too much of a person’s time
- Ask (open-ended) questions, give a person a chance to
- Ask to expand your network
- Create a vehicle for follow up
- Find ways to reciprocate
- Send a thank you note (email, ok) or letter
(personal letter, better).
Interestingly, just recently I received an invitation
to assist a senior fellow with whom I am
We set up an appointment,
he set a time limit,
he sought information,
we created a vehicle for info exchange (some .ppt files)
he sent a reciprocating note and information,
we exchanged critical information,
his network was expanded.
Situation: Unemployed MS Chemist with
strong hands on skills in analytical and
inorganic areas seeks position in industry
Has been in market for six months with several
recent interviews. Was downsized in a move
to reduce costs and potentially outsource
The following is paraphrased from a telephone
PW: Hi Dan. Got some good news to
share and a bit of a problem to ask for your
Dan: Be glad to help, PW.
PW: The interview with W resulted in an offer
this morning for a second shift position in a
chemical manufacturing operation. It is quite
attractive but ….
Dan: What do you like about it?
PW: It starts Monday (It’s Thursday now.)
and they want me to come in tomorrow. It
has a nice salary and benefits package, but
it is temporary leading to a permanent position.
Dan: Is it the only problem that it is a temp
role, or that it is B shift?
PW: No, it is just that I have not gotten a
formal up or down signal from T that I interviewed
in December. That seemed like a unique
opportunity for me to grow into as well.
What should I do? Should I go in tomorrow?
What should I say to the other company?
Other information in the conversation:
- no formal written offer yet from W
- only oral offer, with solid pay and benefits
- B shift offers better commute and being able
to spend time with young family benefits
- challenge of learning new and useful skills with
- a second firm’s interview went well, yet they
are taking longer to make their decision.
Al Sklover’s newsletter brought up
simple ways of communicating both
naturally and productively with our
bosses. (See Sklover working wisdom
newsletter Jan. 3, 2008.)
The newsletter offers ten phrases
that project a positive attitude and
team posture. Listed below are
situations and some of Sklover’s
A request, followed by:
- “I will take care of that right away.”
- “I understand how urgent (OR
IMPORTANT) this is…”
- “That makes sense, I’ll get it done…”
- “No problem. You got it.”
A new request on top of others, followed
- “When would you like this?”
A problem or situation arises, followed
- “How can I help you?”
- “Is there anything I can do to make things
easier for you?”
Plan to exit with your boss regularly.
However, if you leave earlier or separately:
- “Before I leave, is there anything you need?”
- “When I come in tomorrow is there any
priority items you want me to look into?”
And, of course,
- “I appreciate that…”
- “Is this a good time for sharing an idea
with you on …. [improving, correcting,
streamlining, new ideas, etc.]”
As Sklover notes, these types of phrases
advertise an attitude that impacts how
your requests will be considered and
impacts the decisions made about your
job security, career development and
Whenever preparing for an interview, whether
it is screening or a more serious, in-depth
interview, it is important to prepare for the
question, “Why are you available for this job
at this time?”
It is a questions that is valid for those out of
work, doing part-time or project based
work, and for those currently employed.
One initial impression is to learn if you indeed
are a credible candidate and, if hired by
the new firm, will be willing to both stay
during the transition phase and long enough
to merit being considered a very good hire.
K. Hanson points out that relating the
situation you are in in a story with positive
spin. She does it in the useful context of
the “Seven stories model” written about by
The story should form a framework for response,
since it puts your positions, responsibilities and
accomplishments in the perspective of a
career. It focuses on the positives, passions
and your personality.
Strangely, it can be that looking for a position
while you have a position, would be harder to
describe than looking for a position due to
bankruptcy, downsizing, merger, or other
business decision that is not performance
based. This candidate could do the same thing
when working for us. The candidate may not be
able to use current supervisors or references.
So, being able to present a convincing
story relating the new position and its
opportunities to your career are important.
On the other hand, losing a position due to
a business decision is clear cut. Just honestly
and with positive intonation state it and indicate
you have moved on, wishing the company well.
C Anderson has generated some concept
organized short responses– There is quite
a bit of wisdom structured into these examples.