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

February 2009
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Video Interviewing. 2. Practicing under pressure
Filed under: Interviewing, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 8:34 pm

Earlier posts 1  2   mentioned virtual video
interviewing as being available to ACS members.

First use is with PCs in Salt Lake City.
The first trial use with a member
Equipment:  Mac
Apparel:     Dark, solid top
Comment:   no jewelry, professional

Is it hard for you to look at your own self on a
video and be objective?  It is for me.
It is good practice however to work with a
consultant on video interviews for an objective
critique that recognizes the limitations of the process.

A few suggestions
Webcam and eyes. 
    Position webcam at or above eye level
    When responding look at the cam lens
rather than at other places

     Be aware of glare from glasses
     Use a full lit foreground, background and
diffused lighting on yourself
      It is possible to over-expose.

Background and isolation
      Have a simple solid color background
      Study the background to include only
things you wish present, make symmetrical
       Have no activity going on behind you.
       Do a sound check to ensure fidelity

What to wear
       Treat it like you will be seen by your
       Wear solid color shirt/blouse, comfortable
yet professional
       Busy patterns or striped don’t do well

       Smile and look at the camera
       Pause 2-3 seconds, begin speaking a little
louder at the beginning and with good
       Have an idea of what you want to say
before you begin
       Verbal hang-ups like yes, um, like, etc.
are very obvious and need to be managed.

1 comment
Careers in Chemistry. Future Trends. 15. LEDs and Nanolighting
Filed under: Mentoring, Leadership, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:04 am

S. Krieger pointed out how LEDs are replacing
both compact fluorescent and incandescent
lighting components in a growing number of

LEDs have energy efficiency, long-life (lower
labor costs of replacement) and stronger
directional lighting advantages that are finding
increasing uses as street lamps, parking
garages, and many commercial uses, as the
article notes.

However, the technology S-shaped curve
could be supplanted by a surprising result
Michael Bowers discovered with quantum
dots working in his Vanderbilt University
chemistry lab.  He stirred his nano-devices
into polyurethane and produced white light
emitting surfaces, like light bulbs.  As another
cites it might be a matter of time and

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Resume Transitions 2. Short term positions
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Technicians, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 5:39 pm

With the current economy, we see
-more job losses
-jobs will possibly have more unpredictable
lengths and

-more positions are closing up at larger,
traditional firms. 

All these point to small and medium
sized companies
as an increasingly
fertile area for chemists to pursue

their careers.  In these companies,
shorter term employment
will often result.

Job hopping results from several reasons. 
They include:

-  industry expectations of movement to
gain experience

-  macro-economic issues influencing
mergers, bankruptcy
and down-sizing
-  current issues in industries (over-capacity,
lack of innovation)

-  local job market (large metropolitan vs.
small town areas)

-  beginning one’s career
-  career growth, seeking opportunities
at another firm

What job seekers need to keep
in mind
is that
recruiters are more likely looking
for a reason to rule
them out
rather than
to rule them in as a candidate. So E.

Zimmerman’s article suggests they to be

sure not to
give recruiters any help.
-candidates make their situation worse by
their frequent job changes.
-in fact resumes should not include all
especially non-
relevant positions

Recruiters and resume reviewers will look for:
-perception of lack of dependability
-perception of volatility and lack of dedication
-perception of not understanding the hidden
   costs of
bringing new people in and training them
-perception of not being able to do the job
-perception of impropriety
-perception of lack of stability and structure
    in their life

-perception of fear of commitment.

comments (0)
Careers in Chemistry. Future trends. 14. Open science on the web
Filed under: Position Searching, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 10:51 am

We met at a conference last summer
in Philadelphia and I was struck about
the innovative, “stepping out of the box”
ideas, Jean-Claude Bradley spoke

While it is in its developing stages,
Jean-Claude has produced some
interesting results of how to use the
web to teach and compete in academic
chemical sciences.  See his interview
and google him for long-tail aspects….

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Watch-outs 6. Bill creep, withdrawl strategy
Filed under: Networking, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 10:41 am

There are some trends we all are surprised
by.  Do we have to just “grin and bear it?”

Constant increase in service costs
“Bill Creep” and  unemployed/retirees dealing
with the market down-turn on our portfolios
have been cited recently.

The WSJ Family Money column noted how many
modern conveniences’ costs have appreciated
as highly marketed features are added.
From conveniences (cellphone, cable,
blackberries, netflix) to space to store
all the items you no longer use, being
replaced by the conveniences.  K.
recommends (1) developing
a household must list and (2) contacting
vendors and their competitors to
negotiate competitive costs.

Falling Portfolio Values
T. Rowe Price (p. 16) suggested a
viable strategy in withdrawing assets for
dealing with the
market downturn. 
In the TRPrice Report winter
2009 issue,
security can be gained back by
holding “nest egg” withdrawls constant
for five years.

1 comment
Job Search Strategies. Planning
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 10:19 am

Planning 1
A 2008 survey* of job searchers about the worst
aspect of the challenge reveals

45% Not receiving a response
35% Excessive time from submission to offer

Thinking about this encourages professionals to
develop a strategy for pursing your careers.
Learn from those who have been involved in
fields you are interested in.  Learn from those
who have left and who are just beginning.

This also points out that your job search needs
to begin earlier.  If you are in school, 18 months
before needed is not too early to begin exploring.

If you are in a position, don’t wait until you
are ushered out the door to network,
draft your resume and expose your skills
and talents to wider audiences by giving
papers and getting involved.  Have this on
your “action item list” for this week.

*Source:  Hyrian Corp. 2Q.2008

Planning 2.
Read a striking interview of Dick Gaither 1 
a rather colorful fellow written about in
on whether one should negotiate
benefits and perks. 

He points out that most employers want to
motivate a new employee to join the
team to satisfy customers and produce
profits.  They want to keep them once
on board.

Salary and benefits are worth asking about.
Sometimes the first offer is final.  Then,
he suggests to develop job related tools
that you would spend money on and
other items that would make you more
valuable (education).

Negotiation requires
- knowing the salary and benefits of
competitive positions with your skills
and experience in your location
- perceptive understanding of the
problems you can solve and benefits
you bring to the company
- practiced, commercial-like stories
of your accomplishments that
demonstrate your marketable skills
- references willing to endorse and
comment on your immediate value.

1 comment
Cover Letter. Again.
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Technicians, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 11:29 am

In the last couple of months, a half dozen people
have sent example or draft cover letters to me to

Rather than displaying one or two, let me just get
to the plain facts:
Most serious issues:
1.  starting off with “I”;  then continuing to use
first person singular sentences throughout.  The
worst offender had 21 “I’s” in the one page letter.
2.  Not sending it to a specific person.  It is a
significant point that you show you have done
your homework to send your resume and address
the cover letter to a decision-maker, or a person
who will bring the resume to the decision-maker.
3.  Not indicating the position you seek on top.  Also
include date and address on top in a business
4.  Not indicating that you will follow up in a specified
time and end with– cordially or sincerely.

Phyllis Korki points out in a NYTimes Career
Couch piece on cover letters other valuable
tips for electronic submission, for example,

include cover letter as 1st page in resume
attachment, send hard copy separately
an attached note, second submission,

1 comment
Watch-outs 5. Malware alert, Tools, and tax-time
Filed under: Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 9:58 am

This entry gives three suggestions.
1.  Beware of malware that can be
triggered in networking sites.

2.  Do you benefit from the
wonderful tools that innovators
devise to assist us do and track
things?  Please note sometimes
those tools are discontinued or

3.  If you are out of a job or
retired and have 1099 income, don’t
forget the ability to move money
into traditional or SEP IRAs for 2008
tax benefits.  “What if” calculations in
software can estimate benefits.

1.  Malware “traps” in LinkedIn
Source:  WSJ Corrections and
Amplifications 2-5-09 and blog

Malware programs were triggered when
unsuspecting users clicked on faked
profiles.  Details online in blog item.

2.  Online tools emerging:  risks and

Source:  WSJ 2-5-09   J E. Vascellaro
Novel business and health tools are
emerging.  Some will be longlasting
and helpful.  If the tools are helpful
but do not take off in use, they are
sometimes dropped. 
Be conscious of the amount of effort
(wasted effort, ie Google Notebook
or Quicken 2005) and how much
is revealed in the information (loss
of privacy).

In another take for Internet savvy
professionals, J. Angevin pointed out
strategies to improve your personal
“Internet identity”
Once on the internet, things are hard to
remove, she offers some positive insights.
WSJ:  2-5-09,  Julia Angevin.

3.  Consider ‘What if’ calculations for IRAs
Source: NYT 2-11-09
You have unemployment income and other
income this year.  Consider doing a factor
analysis for SEP and tradtional IRA
contributions for you and your spouse.
Other tax considerations are listed in the

Networking for underrepresented groups
Filed under: Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 5:42 pm

Been thinking about questions and topics for
in a panel.  When one is in an
underrepresented group
there becomes a
smaller and smaller fraction of
people with
shared interests and concerns the higher one
goes.  It may
be considered the price of
success.  Does it have
to be?

Gail Farnsley authored a piece in Computerworld
2-2-09, p.20 that talks about familiar formal
and one-on-one mentoring, also
informal networks (shmooze and booze, and
other colloquialisms) and affinity groups (non-
hierarchical, consensus decision making interest

What caught my eye were peer networks from
different fields and careers.  They appear more
focused and selective than social networks.

I am interested in success stories of these “more
selective networks.”   

1 comment
Resumes. Importing into site file
Filed under: Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 5:27 pm

A simple answer to common resume importing problem
was offered by Dr. Sabina Robinson in a workshop

Don’t use “bullets” in your resume listings.  They
don’t work in many web-sites.  Use “-” dashes.

A good practice saves files in .txt format,
setting up spacings, and effects manually and
replacing the bullets with dashes.  Submit as
.txt format.

Other interesting tips on formatting are listed in

the blo
g Klariti.

Other “spell-check problems are notorious.
One Blog calls these the “cupertino effect.”

1 comment
Job Search Strategies: Chemical Professionals
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 5:47 am

This weekend (2-7-09) the Pittsburgh
Local Section and four other affiliated
professional societies are hosting an exciting
workshop at Pitt:

Job Search Strategies for Chemical

It will be exciting to be with the enthusiastic
students and staff and a team offering
the workshop.  Since the workshop can’t
cover in a morning all the material that could
be valuable for job seekers additional

material is
provided this blog entry.


Job Search strategies Quintcareers

New tools:  video interviewing, blogging  1  2  3

Interview questions:  1  2 

Cover letter checklist

comments (0)
Interview Question: What is your greatest weakness?
Filed under: Interviewing
Posted by: site admin @ 4:19 pm

An often asked and penetrating question in
many interviews that requires self examination
and assessment in light of the company
culture and role for which one interviews
involves admitting weaknesses Joann Lublin’s
WSJ article nicely reviews how several
interviewers have interpreted different
responses.  She then offers solid suggestions
on what to think about and how to sell
yourself in your response.

Joann indicated that some responses like
being a perfectionist will be used against you.
Another response that might not play well in a
related question of having problems with any
aspects of the job is “No, I can do it all.”
This might portray as the nice article says
not being able to take criticism.

Five points I endorse about a response with
integrity is
exclude using weakness in your statement
2  suggest a weakness that would not inhibit
you doing a good job or performing your
3  indicate your corrective steps
4  point out the benefits of what you obtained
after your personal improvement
5  understand that your body language will
also be gauged in your listening, your
calm while considering your response and
maintaining eye contact and smiling in
telling your response.

1 comment
Thank you letters. Another perspective
Filed under: Public Relations docs, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 9:08 am

The airline “Spirit Magazine” provided an interesting
perspective on notes of appreciation.  Bart Ratliff
author of “Why Appreciation Wins” mentioned four
power tips for this lost art.

-  think size of card that is a little bigger than junk
mail and allows you to hand write a message in
your own hand or resembles your hand from computer
(if using online greeting service).

-  think personal when conveying a personal and
frank appreciation why you feel grateful.

-  think authentic in offering your feelings.  Detail
and wordiness might dilute your message.

-  think how it would make you feel to receive one.
Article quotes Maya Angelou, “People will forget
what you said, people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them

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Video Interviewing Coming of Age in ACS
Filed under: Interviewing
Posted by: site admin @ 6:57 am

Last year video interviewing was a topic covered
in one of this blog’s posts.  Technology has moved
fast and combined with cloud computing to
produce an innovation to help practice
interviewing and perhaps conduct special
situation screening formats.

This weekend at a Career Volunteer Training
we learned about InterviewStream which will
be offered soon for members.  There are so many
features that space does not permit  listing
them all.  It appears that interviews will be
conducted at the Salt Lake City meeting
that will have one of the sets of questions
where an interviewee member may record
his or her interview to a cloud account.  Several
options for review, career consultant review
and sending a link to it to third parties, including
companies are built in.

Look for this on the ACS Careers webpage in
the upcoming days.  As soon as it is generally
available this blog will mention it.  See a
previous blog talking about how to participate
in these job search tools.

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