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

February 2008
« Jan   Mar »
Networking. It really works
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 8:54 pm

Two real life stories about working with people
to further their goals via networks are worth

SITUATION 1:  Graduate student, SL, near finished,
                        wishes to return to her homeland,
                        Argentina, to work for a company
                        (1)with whom should she post doc
                        (2)with whom can she network with
                        now for that position in the future

NETWORK   Through other activities my network
                       includes several esteemed members
                       of the Argentine Chemical Society.
                       I sent a three-person email to
                       Prof. L. Galavgosky and SL to
                       introduce her.  I indicated that we
                       met at a resume review session
                       in Pittsburgh.

In addition to this follow-up activity, SL and I chatted
about the importance of considering a post-doc
to make strong connections in the US, while at the
same time learning both from Argentina and from
the US what companies would make her happy
to work at.  [Specifics left out.]

                      Within a week, SL had critically
                      reviewed two Spanish manuscripts
                      and made a very positive impression
                      on a strong contact at the University
                      of Buenos Aires.  It wasn’t bad for
                      me either!

SITUATION 2 Through a contact at NIH, I
                       learned of a biologist who sought
                       an industrial position in the Boston
                       area.  Fine graduate work and
                       publications in molecular

Although not directly related to the field,
networking help MC land an interview Friday.
Here is a glimpse of email exchanges…

*   Hi MC, [from company contact]

“Actually, the job listing is under
Immunology, since
our neurodegeneration program focuses on
autoimmune diseases.

I’m happy to talk on the phone, in fact I have time
this afternoon if
that’s convenient. …   I’d not
take the job descriptions too seriously though,
are often describing the ideal candidate
who doesn’t really exist….But I highly
encourage you to find your network and use it

extensively.  Its really the only way.  For
example, the job I have now was
never listed,
and didn’t exist until my CV ended up on the
Director of Biology’s


[Note this clarified the situation for MC. 
This is the kind of role he seeks.]

*response* Hello
BE,  [from MC]

I know it
has been a few weeks, but I just
wanted to let you know that I will be visiting

[left out] on Friday for a round of interviews
for the Research Scientist II
position you
submitted on my behalf.  I really appreciate
your help even if it
was just a matter of a
web submission of my resume.

And, who knows, if things go well for
me, it might give you a little financial
boost, too!

 …Again, thanks for your advice and help. 

Wish me

- MC  

“Guess networking does work!  You can use this
as an example …

Note about SITUATION 2:
Network:  NIH contact–> Dan–> Co. contact BE
             resume submitted 2 ways <–  MC
    BE, directly to hiring supervisor, and via internet

Little does MC know, BE brought the resume to
the hiring supervisor.  Might have made all the

Knowing BE, she did not do it for the financial boost.
She did it because it is the professional thing to do,
for the company’s success!

comments (0)
Position Searching while employed
Filed under: Position Searching, Mature professionals, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 12:51 pm

A rule of thumb for job hunters is that chances
of locating “hidden positions” is better  when a
person is employed.  There are several professional
ways of handling this risk-ladened activity that
many need to take.

Erin Burt talks about items related to

- sharing your personal goals with current boss
- consider NOT job seeking from your office,
giving your office number (give your personal
cell number) or work email for contact.
- beware of where you post your resume and
the references you provide.

These and other things beg the question of how
one networks and how one interacts with their
boss.  It points out the personal commitment one
needs to consider to
- serving your customers (the very broad reach of
communication in the digital age),
- network (consider social networking, volunteering
in professional society activities, professional
partnerships and mentoring) and
- boss (having her goals as aspects of
your goals)

comments (0)
Salary discussion pointers
Filed under: Interviewing, Job Offer (Situations)
Posted by: site admin @ 8:00 am

Our hat is off to Penelope Trunk for several
notable comments on responding to the salary
question– never give a number.

Another component of a person’s response
in addition to this is that salary is only one
component of a compensation package.

Several recent posts in Barbara Safani’s
blog mention how hiring bonuses, having
taxes paid on bonuses and options are part
of the mix.

comments (0)
Mid-career Interview preparation
Filed under: Interviewing, Job Offer (Situations), Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 7:28 pm


Can I pick your
brain?  What are
some pro’s and con’s of hiring a manager
into a newly created
position in an
established unit?


Dear KS,

While not knowing the specifics of your
topic, let me offer some rules of thumb.
What are the goals and motivations of
the people in the established unit?

I.  Is it

    - job security, or
    - job satisfaction working with people
you like;  organization you respect, or
    - challenge and learn new things, or
    - meets the bills and better than I
could do in other places.

It would seem that this group would
want things to remain the same, with
little change in their daily activities.

II.  If on the other hand there are
people looking for higher
responsibility this could seem like a
problem.  You would seen as getting
the position they covet.

However, you can make it a real
.  You
can train the new
manager with existing team
members and promote the person
looking for more

The replacement is in place and able
to handle things.

  - there is too much work and
not enough people; 
would ease
the workload with new blood

   - this allows new programs to
come in easier, as they
are not tied
to the existing ones this allows
new directions in existing

   - this allows some headache work
to be
removed from
the existing team

to allow them to do what they like
and what they are good
at the new
person “runs interference” with the
ups” while other things can
get done with less interference

   - the new person is an
experienced manager
who can

motivate and teach the existing team

   - this could allow succession
to happen with
           train new manager and move on.
   - new person will know little about the 
formal goals,
structure and how things
get done; 
      will need time to come up to

   - what are the motivations of the new 
person; aligned
with the existing team

      will take time to find out
   - will likely have more loyalty to
higher ups than to
the group

   - was there a “gap analysis” to determine
what skiils
and abilities
would best suit
the newer organization and what it will
be tasked
to do?

   - did the existing group have a say in
the ultimate
Whatever, look on it very positively. 
Help make a
difference.  Show that you
are a dependable contributor that makes
a difference
every day.  Actions speak
louder than words.
Hope this helps.
comments (0)
Recruiters. 2 What to ask and expect
Filed under: Position Searching, Recruiters, Mature professionals, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 10:25 pm

Being frank and honest, recruiters want to work
with “placeable” candidates when they work for
their clients.   That is right, you, the candidates,
are not their clients.  This came out in discussions
last weekends ACS Careers’ Conference.

Depending on a number of factors a fraction of
a recruiters’ clients are retained and the remainder
are contingent.

Recruiters then will be paid for delivering needed
skilled people a fraction of the annual salary.  They
reach out and find qualified candidates and focus
on persistently bringing the employer and the
candidate together.  They aim to get qualified
candidates in front of hiring managers and follow up.

What should you ask recruiters who contact you
and who you may contact?  

  What are their geographic focus, company focus,
industry/field focus?

   What companies are they retained by?

    Do they work with hiring managers or HR

    Can you receive the job description?

After developing good working relationships
with recruiters, candidates need to understand:

-  what medium and timing to communicate
information, questions and answers with their

-   what key skill factors the interviewer seeks
resulting from the recruiter exploring with the
client company?

-  how to handle ‘being second’ in the selection

These among other things are contained in the
in the Jobcircle article, linked above.


comments (0)
Interviewing Preparation I did not think of
Filed under: Interviewing, Mentoring, Recruiters, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 7:39 pm

At an ACS Careers weekend I joined Lisa
:(”resume transitions post for some
of her observations”) and several
dozen other consultants where we noted a
nice observation by a well-known BioPharm
recruiter, Megan Driscoll. Megan pointed out
that three things that stand out at
an on-site interview are problem solving,
enthusiasm and leadership.

No surprise to these being on the list. 
Problem solving is often revealed in the
interview’s technical presentation that most
companies weigh heavily in the hiring
What was surprising and useful was
pointing out the causes of some red flags
in a person’s technical presentation.  They are

    - presentation has not enough information  
    - outdated skills or methods
    - the topic is wrong for the audience and position

She declared this topic is so critical that the
interviewee might agree in advance on the
topic title and confirm that this is what
the audience is looking for.

For enthusiasm, whether or not an interviewee
accepts a position, one should find ways to
display that the person thoughtfully exudes
passion for the opportunity.

For leadership, the various team structured
results that allow people to observe, develop
and practice functional and leadership skills


comments (0)
Innovation Unleashed
Filed under: First Year on Job, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 10:25 am

While this may seem off-target for a topic
in this blog, I just could not resist bringing
your attention to a most dynamic blog by
Kate (from a fellow college alum Brazen

I especially liked the mind expanding thoughts
on innovation and pointers on creativity.
Hope it gives you a boost like it gave me.

comments (0)
Interviewing. Helpful Insight 2.
Filed under: Interviewing, Recruiters, Mature professionals, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 8:57 am

Could not help but bring your attention to
an article by Anne Fisher on how to get
hired by the best companies.  The interesting
thing is that Ms. Fisher’s nice tips seem
more about practice and the preparation
for interviews, not reading how to move
Mt. Fuji!

Highlighted points are:

-  strength of employee referrals (indicate this in
your cover letter, send resume to person, let
her(im) know of interest and interview)

-  relate your responses in well thought stories.
It is helpful to frame them in CAR or SARI
outlines that have been mentioned before.

-  go beyond a simple search for background
research.  Think about financial pages,
customers, retirees, and professionals who
have a broad reach.
    think about more than reputation when
asked the question, ‘why do you want to
work here?’

-  after you say “I” am pleased to be here,
revert to “we” accomplished….., “we”….

-  stay persistent with your interest in working
in a firm.  “Silver medalists” are tracked for
subsequent positions.

Adding two simple items,
+  if you do not fully understand what is
asked, request clarification.

+  be at your ‘likeable’ best, so that your
true self is revealed

comments (0)
Chemical Technicians 4.
Filed under: Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 10:23 am

At a well planned session at the Bidwell Training
in Pittsburgh (Feb. 1, 2008), we explored
several areas of employment awareness and job
searching for chemical technicians.

It was most revealing.

Particularly striking was learning that most do not
have an exposure that gives people whether recent
graduate or mid-career to all the potential roles
and duties available to chemical technicians.

A second revealing experience for them was
looking at another person’s resume that needed
improvements and seeing for themselves what
it is like for resume reviewers to decide if the
resume deserves further attention.  It was revealing
to the audience to learn the three levels of review–

- 7 second screen,
- in-depth skills review and
- is there anything else noteworthy,

and how specific things they do in their resumes
allow them to address the position sought. 
The focus should be on accomplishments,
not responsibilities.

Finally what stood out was how rapidly they picked
up “professional behaviors” in expressing their
ideas and artfully offering criticisms of people
involved in mock interviews. 

Folded into the technicians’ session was a special
presentation on locating jobs in the Pittsburgh
metropolitan area.

comments (0)