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 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
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
our neurodegeneration program focuses on
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
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.]
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
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
…Again, thanks for your advice and help.
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!
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
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.
Can I pick your
brain? What are
some pro’s and con’s of hiring a manager
into a newly created
position in an
already established unit?
I. Is it
The replacement is in place and able
to handle things.
- was there a “gap analysis” to determine
and abilities would best suit
the newer organization and what it will
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
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,
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
- how to handle ‘being second’ in the selection
These among other things are contained in the
in the Jobcircle article, linked above.
At an ACS Careers weekend I joined Lisa
Balbes :(”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
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.
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
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
- 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
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.
At a well planned session at the Bidwell Training
Center 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,
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