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

January 2008
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In between jobs: Recommendations
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 7:56 pm

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

-  meet with business managers to gain an
understanding of how your work impacts their
business.  Be able to COMMUNICATE

shorter term contract employment
becomes more common with slower
economies.  TAKE TEMP OR TEMP
TO HIRE POSITIONS by making sure

1 comment
Mature Workers. Past-50s Job Search
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 9:12 am

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)
searching intrigued me
(you can guess
why– over 50!  ).

The comments (links to WSJ are not
functioning) were huge!  Let me
highlight two:

“Tom Kellum

  • Companies don’t hire; people do…
    Therefore, target people who can
    hire you.

  • Your biggest challenge is how to
    get an interview with someone that
    hire you. If you only concentrate
    on “finding a job”, you might do

    something that cripples your
    chances of getting an interview…

  • The most important thing a hiring
    wants to know is what you
    can DO for her/him.
    Make it easy for them to
    know that….

  • Make your letter an offer to be of

  • … Close by suggesting that if it
    sounds like
    you might be of service,
    here’s the easiest way to get in touch
    with me…

  • The odds of getting an interview
    mass-mailings is extremely low.
    There are plenty of good jobs that
    currently open and available. You
    can make better use of your time

    concentrating on known, currently
    open positions…”

  • And “Janice Morrison
    …The key is to avoid the HR department
    with every fiber of your being.  Most
    people spend
    80% of their time going
    after 20% of the job market
    which is
    advertised.  When going after an
    position the best way to
    approach it is to find out
    who the
    hiring manager is and target that person
    directly…  The key is to think of
    yourself as the
    product and target
    the person in the company
    who can
    not only hire you but who can create

    a position for you and pay you more
      It is also best when over 50
    to market yourself to
    small and
    medium sized companies… A
    company will value your
    experience because you
    can wear
    many hats and offer more value. 

    Another tip is in your cover letter
    to offer that
    you are open to
    consulting opportunities.  If a

    company should have a question
    about ability
    and age that gives
    them a chance to “try you
    before they “buy.”

    comments (0)
    Interview Response: Desire to move into management
    Filed under: Interviewing, Mentoring, First Year on Job, Leadership
    Posted by: site admin @ 12:52 pm

    Last week engaged me in another terrific PfLAGS
    workshop at the University of Maryland.  It was
    principally conducted by J. Shulman. 
    [Grad students: 
    If you do not know about this, search for it on
    ACS web-site. 
    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– .]

    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
    management direction?
    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
    any direction. 

    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

    1 comment
    Resume “Accomplishment hooks”
    Filed under: Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
    Posted by: site admin @ 9:10 am

    Reading B Safani’s blog from last year,
    provides an useful idea to pass on: 
    accomplishment hooksfor our resume
    EXPERIENCE section. 

    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

    For example:

    To Save Money

    To Improve a Process

    To Reverse an Existing Problem

    Visual charts

    She points out that a visual tool can
    nicely communicate results. Charts
    can chronicle success over time, or
    across functions or roles.

    For example,

    demonstrating innovation:
    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
                 Control plans
    2006      Leadership               6 sigma black

    comments (0)
    Networking concepts
    Filed under: Recent Posts, Networking
    Posted by: site admin @ 6:39 am

    Want to point out a valuable site by
    B Safani on networking that is worth
    several visits.  Some resonant concepts
    listed there:

    - 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.

    comments (0)
    Job Offer. Temp job vs. possible permanent job
    Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations)
    Posted by: site admin @ 3:22 pm

    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
    his function.

    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
    advice on.

    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.

    On the job. Ten Memorable Phrases
    Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Mature professionals
    Posted by: site admin @ 11:05 am

    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
    other factors.

    comments (0)
    Interview Question: Why are you looking?
    Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing
    Posted by: site admin @ 3:50 pm

    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
    K Wendleton.

    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.

    1 comment