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

August 2008
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Interview Question. Salary Expectations?
Filed under: Interviewing, Job Offer (Situations), Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 8:03 pm

There are several ways salary may come up in
an interview or job offer.  It is important to
recognize that homework and legal protection
steps will help job seekers.


evaluating a job offer, review

Four individual situations can form extremes.

If one receives a job offer from the government,
with a previous position, you may be expected
to give a previous W2 as proof of your salary.
Sometimes your pay can be matched if you can
prove you earned more than they were prepared to

If you receive a verbal offer, ask for a written
document.  If the firm prefers not to give you one,
then ask if the offer has been officially approved
and if you could generate a generic offer.  See
legal opinion for proper wording.

If you are offered a position and the official asks
to know how much you expect to make, Megan
recommends that you will consider any
reasonable offer.
Then, assuming you truly want the position, if the
salary and benefits do not meet your minimum
requirements, you can enthusiastically say you
really want the position and with your homework
indicates that one or more ‘offer items’ limit your
accepting the offer for the position.
It may be appropriate at this point to indicate
that you have in hand a competing offer or
are being seriously considered for another
position.  You may not benefit from being specific
about the company or amounts.  Being honest
will hold you in good stead.

In most cases it shows confidence to ask for
time to consider the details of the offer.  In the
face of a retraction, many are hesitant to review
the offer thoroughly and check out business
stability, histories, with people in your network
and salary and benefits comparators.
K McGeever suggests one should express
great interest in the position
and ask for time (be
specific about time
and day of the response) to get back with

an agreement.  Review the details thoroughly.

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Jobs in Industry Workshop. Job Growth Areas
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 9:24 am

We had a terrific session on Careers in Industry
in Philadelphia.  This blog entry responds to a
question a member of the audience asked:
What areas are showing growth in employment?

In 2003 ACS published a summary of employment
fields and whether jobs increased or decreased.
This kind of survey has not been reported in
C&EN since then.  (It might be a question to ask
of the society to obtain this information.)
Modest growth in US jobs were represented
in 2003 in health care, hospitals, government and
testing and research service areas. 

The most recent issue of Job Search Strategies
offers a broad brush discussion hinting at
attractive employment areas.  It includes the
following fields:
 - pharma and biotech (similar to 2003)
 - research and testing services (2003)
 - specialty chemicals
 - toxicology
 - information
 - patent law
 - marketing

My perspective also offers consideration of
trend forecasting.  Two topics that might be
informative for readers are:
 1  What the world will be like in 50 years
 2  Evolution of products and the technology
that goes into them (Shaping things)

1 comment
Careers in Chemistry. Future Trends 10. Cloud Computing
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:47 pm

There is no doubt about it Computers impact
the work, research, manufacturing, technology
transfer, scale-up, development and publishing
whether governmental, academic or university.

One of the significant trends in computing
is “cloud computing” where major applications
are on a virtual cloud in cyberspace, from which
you and I have access and use to solve our
problems or collect and process our data.

John Uebersax
summarized the trends for
cloud computing for statistical data analysis.
It may be argued that his case study could
be broadened to chemistry, research
development and manufacturing.  Paraphrasing
four of his considerations

 - learning curve           negative, people resistant
                                   to learning another tool that
                                   has little proven benefits
 - cost                         negative, sure the expense
                                   may be less initially, but
                                   more time might be needed.
 - confidentiality           negative, cannot risk
                                   permitting competitors
                                   access to confidential data.
 - 100% up time          negative, what can you do
                                   when the rare event of it
                                   being inaccessible happens?

On the other hand, show of hands- how many
people back up their data on your system?
Do you know where your data resides?
Who has had a hard drive failure and lost
their data?

Who needs to communicate data or
experiments or conclusions over the
internet?  It could be pass word shared.

Just like Uebersax, cloud computing is
not suitable for all situations right now,
but it is coming as a cost model in the industry.
So we will be moving into this realm, sooner
or later.

Connectors in your Network
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 5:44 pm

This week’s Philadelphia meeting was a
personal opportunity
for me to act as a
connector (See
Gladwell for more in depth
description) for members who came

A connector is a willing person who
places your needs
above his or her own. 
The connector has a cache with
in her network in which a certain value goes

along with her recommendation.  The
following examples
might be representative.

A professionally dressed Asian lady SS
asked for a mock
interview.  We had the
chance to get to know each other
defined what outcomes we sought in our
interview session.  We covered all the
ground we set
out and then talked about
some deeper goals she had.

SS really wished to find a position (not
going into the
details of field) that would
allow her to return to her
homeland and
be closer to her family.

Being very sympathetic to her wish but
not tuned
to ways that could help her, I
suggested that she
make contact through
the career consultant program
with Dr.
Mukund Chorghade who is a highly esteemed,

multicultural leader, program organizer and
who might be willing to chat with
her to help her
pursue her goals. 
Conversations later in the week
with both
SS and Dr. Chorghade confirmed that

contact and conversation. was most fruitful.


VC visited the appointment desk at the end
of Tuesday and indicated that he was not
interested in resume, CV or mock interview.
He did, however, want to have the chance
to speak with someone to explore how he
might set up a sabbatical in the US taking
leave from his Italian university.

My suggestion was that he make contact with
Dr. Louis Kirschenbaum, an eloquent, “Colin
Powell-like” (always tells the truth) professor
of chemistry at URI.  Here is the communication
Dr. Kirshenbaum shared with me:

VC wrote:

Hello Prof. Kirschenbaum.
I am writing upon advice
from Dan
Eustace to figure out if we might be
able to meet for a short chat over
ways and procedures and
opportunities to spend one or more
years in a
research university .

I am an associate professor in Polymer
Chemistry in
Italy, with a tenure to be
granted in about 2 and a half years (this
probably not allow me to take any
sabbatical until then).

If you are
available, I will be in Phila
until saturday and of course at the
(not available on thursday
morning  -  I have a talk at a PMSE session)

Thanks for your attention


“Dear V

I am sorry to miss you, but I have
already returned to Rhode

Arranging a sabbatical leave is mostly
a matter of finding
potential collaborators

and contacting them directly (perhaps,
even this week
while you are at the

meeting).  Most of us are thrilled to
have a visitor of
your stature, but, of

course, funding is always a consideration. 

You will need
to be clear about whether

you will keep all or part of your salary
and whether
you have your own

research fund that can be used. You
should investigate
possible fellowships

or binational grants.  If  you find a
collaborator soon,
you might want to

investigate the NATO program,
which allows for reciprocal
(short) visits

for both partners. [I had a NATO grant
with Edoardo Mentasti of
Torino a

number of years ago. ] This is not
enough for sabbatical support, but

be very productive and an excellent
way to prepare or a full year’s stay.

Another funding possibility would be
for you to fill in as a sabbatical

replacement for an American professor.
Certainly, a lead time of 2-3 years

should provide you with ample
opportunity to find a suitable placement.

am just trying to catch up so this is

just a note to help you get started, but
wanted to reply while you are still

at the meeting. Please feel free to
me again……Louie Kirschenbaum

These connections emerge over and over
as leading ways to help make progress and
grow careers.  This item is #46 in a list of
networking habits.

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Nontraditional Careers. Patents and Intellectual Property
Filed under: Position Searching, Mentoring, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 10:56 pm

The Wednesday afternoon Patents and Intellectual
Property workshop in Philadelphia proved to be most

In addition to covering all of the planned material
related to defining the nature of patent protection,
we discussed

  - the different roles of patent agents and patent

  - websites that are good sources for patents

Separate small group discussions evolved about
the role of patent agents and patent attorney
preparation, personal statement and passing
of the bar.  Special thanks go to Dr. George
Fairchild and Dr. Amy Hayden who
beneficially added to this terrific workshop.

We learned that both patent agents and patent
attorneys both
 - assess material and patent literature
 - write and file patents with the office
 - prosecute patents

Attorneys are also involved in
 - litigation
 - infringement
 - law suits

Web-sites for patents included (is this legal
language? )
 - free patents online
 - Patent file conversion
 - US patents
 - european patents

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Thank you letters. Following a Screening Interview
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 8:38 pm

Gee whiz!  I honestly thought I had written
something about thank you notes.  During the
Philadelphia ACS meeting, GS sent me the
following note:

Dear Dan,
“It was great to see you again at ACS, I do
have another “career question” for you.  After
interviews, are email thank you’s now as
acceptable as written thank you’s?  I tried
to find the answer on the blog, but couldn’t….


There are several links that address the advantages,
the content and the timing of thank you letters.
CareerSolvers does the best job in my mind
encouraging people to write thank you notes.
So well done that my comment is just go there!
ScienceJobs adds some particulars that should
be considered for each situation.

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Jobs in Academia Workshop. Academic Post-docs
Filed under: Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 2:35 pm

One of the members who attended the Jobs in
Academe workshop at the Philadelphia ACS national
meeting this week asked the question:

“What institutions offer academic post-docs?”

This post offers the response.

Our information indicates
Trinity University
Boston University
University of Georgia
University of New Hampshire
Tufts University

ScienceCareers had an article on this subject

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Career Consulting Case: Too Early for Mock Interview
Filed under: Interviewing, Public Relations docs, Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 11:21 pm

This is the second day of the Philadelphia
meetings.  A member was
scheduled for a mock
interview but when
we began our conversation, it
was clear
she had not formed a clear idea what kind

of position she seeks and should
interview for.

As a result, we decided to view her resume
to capture
an idea where we should focus
our practical interviewing
skill interrogation. 
That document was in too early a

We decided to do career coaching.  The
discussion provided her with
tools she can use for
developing a position
goal, a working resume, and
a back-up
plan.  Those tools were information
social networking (,
online tools,
and some understanding of
what questions were behind
the questions.

It is a point to make that career
consultants have a choice
to working with
members to put a “dummy” position
the topic around which to perform a
mock interview or
to conduct a career
discussion to help narrow things down.

Too often I have heard consultants come
out and talk among
themselves about a
case where a person was ill-prepared
a mock interview.  This situation is not
what I would
prefer, thus our discussion
today left the member pleased about
she could do, rather than disappointed
about a
mock interview experience.

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Preparing for a Career Fair. Philadelphia
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 6:17 pm

Many members who are attending the
Philadelphia career fair next week
received an email last week concerning
participation in the Career Fair.  The
email pointed out that resumes should
be submitted online, will be screened
by attending companies (it did not
mention that resumes will be screenable
after the meeting online, as well.), and
one might enhance their chances for
interviews by contacting a career consultant
in advance of the meeting  (via the
Career Consultants Program)

“Dear Dan,
I was wondering if my resume should
indicated that my PhD is expected in
2008 since I don’t have it yet.”

“I am attaching (NOT ATTACHED HERE)
a corrected version of the cover letter for
R.  I am not entirely happy with it, but I
definitely see why it is better than the
version I sent to you.  (It stands out more
and is much better written.)”

“You mentioned business cards in one of
your e-mails.  Would they be good to
bring to the career services mixer at the
conference as opposed to handing people

Do you think I should submit the new
versions of my resume and cover letter to
replace the old ones that I submitted
when I requested an interview with R.
(before I requested a career consultant)?
Or is it too late at this point?

To make sure that I am understanding you
correctly, I should use the career fair as a
networking and learning opportunity and
not request other interviews, right?
Thanks, LK

You are getting the “hang of it”…

On your resume, consider saying:
2008(fall), if you have planned your
  defense in September already,
2008(expected), if you have not made
thesis defense plans

RE:  Career Fair mixer
Business cards are much better than
resume.  It is informal and you
expect to exchange cards.  Companies
may ask you to drop off or send a
copy after meeting you.

RE:  ACS Resume Submission
Please consider replacing the items you
have previously entered with the new onces.
Expect that you will likely replace it again.
Get the hang of continuous improvement
as you learn more.

RE:  ACS Career Fair
I just got a note that companies
will arrange interviews.  So, you
may request but it is best to send
specific people your resume and
cover letter, as we have spoken.

When we are at the meeting, I will
recommend you speak to one of the
mock interview reviewers… As it
turns out, these informal connections
of people to other people create
opportunities for you.

L., you will love attending the meeting.
Try to plan things to do beforehand.
Place your appointment plans on the
meeting calendar.  Leave some open
slots on Monday, after the Mock Interview
Demonstration, for possible interviews.
This could be a good time to go to
the Exhibition if not taken by interviews.
It is very useful and helpful for all
sorts of things.  If the chance happens
to go to lunch with someone, take
the opportunity.

Honestly, you are doing a fine job.
Be proud of your growth and know
that your enthusiasm and energy is
contagious.  Don’t lose heart at small
set-backs, learn from them.


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Relocation Considerations and Negotiations
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Technicians, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 10:06 am

SITUATION:  You have been offered a
desirable position, providing your family a
positive future and opportunities, personal
challenges, and pursuit of personal goals. 
However, work is just beginning.

After formally accepting the offer on the
phone or in person, then write a formal
acceptance letter.  Many times relocation
will occur.  While not formally part of the
interview process, it does set the tone for
how people will see and note who you are. 

 - bringing your family (or at least your spouse)
to the locale where you will be calling home
 - asking to meet with the relocation  benefits
coordinator for your division or company
 - assessing what is formally covered among:
closing costs, moving expenses, interim
traveling expenses, interim living expenses,
and many other things that come up.
(Consider even asking if any expenses that
are taxable can be offset by “summing up”
payments at tax time.)
 - reaching out to your network to learn
what their relocation experiences have been,
assess what has been covered for others
who have been relocated by the company
 - factoring in the effects of each day’s
commute, the traveling demands of the
position, access to airports and commuter
arrangements, like rapid transit passes,
parking, carpools, speed-pass, and other
conveniences that will help balance
family, work and commuting demands.
 - reaching out to the new employer for
peer transition programs.  Certain situations
will contract with relocation specialist
firms to provide expertise to meet a
new employee’s needs and desires.
 - maintaining your control over stresses
that can affect you by getting enough
sleep, exercise and relaxation
 - developing a strategy of how you
will meet your family’s living quarter
needs, whether renting, owning a
condo or a house, or leasing
(some companies offer interest free
 - comparing and finding out about
children’s schooling and family’s
daycare, church/synogogue and
community involvement
 - remaining open to tips from many
sources to overcome problems that
may not be anticipated
 - rebuilding your essential “safety net”
network (doctors, lawyers, senior living
 - paying attention to relocation taxes

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Searchable website. Jobs
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 11:19 am

Unemployed chemists, chemical engineers and
managers are directed to a handy website by

some state unemployment offices.  When I
searched for chemists jobs recent postings
by strong companies, government institutes and
academic institutions came up.

(searchable from the top line;  do not have to

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Careers in Chemistry. Future Trends. 9. Future of Management
Filed under: Position Searching, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:43 pm

The Future of Management a book by Gary
Hamel and Bill Breen offers a glimpse of
possible scenarios that may provide competitive
advantages in business, in academia, and even
in more regulated situations (institutes, agencies,

Hamel and Breen build a case that the “time is
ripe” for innovations in how people organize,
prioritize, motivate and reward themselves– in
a word management.

A few take-aways for me from their paradigm
highlight:  [an interesting critique blog is linked.]

    Experimentation beats planning.  What will
happen in the future is that it will be surprising.
To be resilient, will depend largely on the extent
to which an organization proactively invests  in
exploring alternatives to the status quo, by
experimenting… with disruptive technologies,
with going to market, attracting new customers,
etc., using lightly scripted trials rather than
reacting to pressing issues.
   All mutations are mistakes; treat mistakes
as learning opportunities and chances to explore
new space and new ground with eyes wide
   Give all new ideas equal chance and equal
consideration no matter where the source.

   The broader the range of possibilities, the
better the chance for longer lasting

  Use the wisdom of the crowds, “crowd-
sourcing”, as markets are more dynamic
than hierarchies.

   Leaders are accountable to the governed.
The more accountability, the more resilient.
   Everyone has the right to disagree.  Encourage
dissent to allow alternatives to be considered.
Having alternatives engenders flexibility.
   Leadership is distributed.  Develop a
style where success depends on less than
perfect decisions and leaders.

   What higher purpose does your
organization serve.
   The organization’s mission matters to obtain
exceptional performance.
   People change for what they care.
   Ask:  What difference do we make in
people’s life.  Amplify human imagination.

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Resume Content
Filed under: Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 5:18 pm

Resumes are the central PR document
job seekers use to attract positive attention

It needs to be a requirement for a blog like this
to bring out valuable items for resume writers,
point out some insights and highlight some
helpful positives

Louise Kursmark has written a lot in this area.
Some of her items fit right into chemical
scientists’ careers, with a little elaboration.
(For example, she wrote about 8 employer
questions to
ask about your resume.)  Here
are seven
questions (quite similar to Louise’s)
to pose and have answered in
your resume
PR documents (that suggests in your resume,
list of publications, list of references, cover
letter, research summary and possibly others);
 This blog
suggests some of these things for
our readership:

#1:  who are you?  Make it easy to pronounce
your name.  If you have a foreign sounding
name, and you have the ability to work for
an extended period in the US, LIST it right
under your name.

You should identify notable pedigree
(Phi Beta Kappa, project with a leading
company while in grad school, post-doc
with a notable professor, and others)
for some positions.  As we know, technical
skills alone won’t get you the job, neither
will pedigree alone.  Other features need to
be demonstrated or expressed.  Some times
who is in your list of references will help.
Other times, a mention of a person’s name
in your network in a paragraph of your cover
letter, if appropriate can help.  However, this
can be overdone.

#2:  what can you do for the company now?
Spell out your key skills that the company needs
(based on reading the job description and
speaking with people in your network) in the
HIGHLIGHTS section, if you use objective-
highlights sections, or in the the QUALIFICATIONS
section, if you replace obj-highlights with
a qualification statement.  Support the skills
in with accomplishment examples in the
EXPERIENCE section.  Demonstrate passion in
your PR documents.

Express your ideas in the terms used in the field.

#3:  what key skills do you have?

Your key skills that match the company needs
should be easy to find early in a resume.  Support
with List of Publications and Presentations.  Use
your affiliations to indicate where you have been
in leadership roles, for example.

#4:  Where have you done your work and for whom?
List your EXPERIENCE chronologically.  Use action verbs
to describe accomplishments
Study, assist, research are verbs that are
not effective in resumes.

#5:  What other relevant experiences do have?
Where have you demonstrated leadership,
high level of proficiency, strong and effective
communication skills?  this can be in the
KEYWORDS sections.

#6:  What kind of person are you?
Errors of almost any kind need to be caught.
Good, functional, easy to read and understand
organization speak about you.
A cover letter that is passionate and thought
fully put together tells of communication strengths.

#7:  Do you have any “red flags? 
blog links of red flags are:  A 
B   C  Also
the following
items Louise lists can be
interpreted as red flags

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Career Consultant Interaction: Positive vibrations
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 4:01 pm

Let me share an interesting and positive initial
conversation with a member seeking feedback
on her resume.

We settled in on Friday noontime to speak
and determined some initial “ground rules”
for our conversation.

She struck me clearly as organized and focused,
for not only did her first communication settle on
the time but it also provided where she had
set her initial sites and in what roles she eyed
herself being able to move into.
Positive notions:
  organized and focused to achieve goals
  willing to listen to input and ideas
In the conversation, we talked about how LK
could improve her chances to make her resume
be recognized.  We spoke in some detail about these
and near term steps for the Philadelphia career fair.

Our agenda of topics outlined at the beginning
of our conversation also included roles analysts
seem to be quite successful in industries, what
her leading stories were, what she wishes to do, and
places where she wishes to locate.

LK offered a helping hand for me as well.  She
indicated she could participate in a mock
interview in one of three workshops at the
Philadelphia ACS meeting.  It will be
a terrific learning experience for her, as well.

[NOTE:  if there are other readers who are
interested in great mock interview experiences
at the Philadelphia meeting, please contact
via the blog gmail address in the about section.]

It was clear that LK sets goals and apportions
her time to achieve them and understands the
need to prioritize tasks to make progress and
be effective.  So many recent reports, stories
and books cite the difficulty and even the inefficiency
of multi-tasking when we are involved in high
priority work.  (Some software tools are cited
in the links.)

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