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

July 2009
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Career Fair Preparation 2. Washington
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 8:23 am

So, you have prepared and gotten approval to
attend the ACS national meeting.  That means
you have had your resume reviewed, you have
submitted the latest version to the ACS Careers
web-link, you have registered and made
arrangements for the meeting including things
listed in 1  .

You have narrowed down the fields in which
you wish to work (Personal self assessment)
and now it is a good idea to learn what
companies will be represented there.

1.  Go to Find a Job tab on the Job seekers’
2.  Based on your previous interrogation of the
page, go to ‘view’, ’saved’ or ‘advanced’
and search out positions available/firms with
the orange “C”, as they will be interviewing at
the Career Fair.
3.  Explore in detail the job description and
requirements.  Specifically line up each of the
items with your desires, experiences,
and accomplishments.
4.  Create a “focused list” of jobs/companies
to consider interviewing for under SAVE JOB.
5.  Now is when your hard work begins. 
Use your network, LinkedIn and literature
research on the technical and business aspects.
to determine a priority order of places to

5.a. Look at the ACS Salary comparator for
an idea of the range of salary.  Remember
this is
“dated” and it may be wise to consult
a couple of
other databases listed on the left
of this page.

6.  The earlier you do this the better
if they have not contacted you
requesting an interview.  Have times
and days planned
so that you can accomplish
all you set out to
do at the meeting.
7.  Don’t limit yourself to the Career Fair
Attend talks by leading people from companies
and visit the exhibition area.  Plot out a
of visiting firms by the consulting 
list and if they are presenting on
any topics at the

8.  Don’t leave out speaking with recruiters
who will be
at the meeting.

comments (0)
Interviewing. Importance of meal interviews
Filed under: Interviewing
Posted by: site admin @ 5:47 am

Besides strong comments on what it
takes to be a leader and
a good manager,
the NYTimes interview of
Carol Smith
says a lot about meal interviews.  Let
me quote her..

“…you meet someone three times,
one of them better be
over a meal.

You learn so much in a meal.  It is like
a little microcosm
of life.  How they order,
what they order.  How are
they going to
give instructions to a waiter?  Are they

sending back the meal eight times? 
Can they keep a
conversation going,
especially if you’re hiring someone

in sales [or marketing]?  Are they
asking smart questions?

Throughout the meal,the personality
comes out, I think.
  Are you going to
connect with us?  Are you going to be

part of the team?  Are you going to be
one of these
independent players who
wants to take all the credit?

Are you good with assistants? 
These are the things that
you can find
out in some subtle ways when you eat

with someone.

Other tips..
Don’t hire someone you don’t like.

1 comment
Academic Position. Application “No Man’s Land”
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 6:06 am

Maybe some have faced a similar situation.  An ad
appeared in C&EN for a lecturer position for whch
I seem suited (within reason:  using my experience
and previous teaching and training experience).

After a conversation with the chairman telling me
that there were two openings for analytical and
inorganic, I decided to apply.  My CV was sent
in.  In my cover letter, I discussed how my experience
has influenced my teaching philosophy.

Separately, I asked 4 references to write letters.

A week later an email came to my second email
address, not the one listed on my CV or cover letter,
indicating that my application was incomplete,
not containing teaching philosophy and letters of

While one reference sent in her letter, three
had not and I contacted each.  One was going on
vacation, one was pressed for time and the third
had a wrong contact information.

This week a letter came to my second email account
indicating I was not on the “short-list” of candidates.

(1) Please be aware of the short amount of time
for application submission now. 
(2) Be prepared to send in all your documents
and keep
track of references’ addresses. 
(3) Be in direct contact with references, knowing
letters were sent. 
(4) Have back-up references in case your
primary people will be out of town or unavailable.

I cannot fault the university for their process.

comments (0)
Career Fair Preparation. Washington
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 1:22 pm

How can you benefit from attending the
ACS meeting and Career Fair?

This post suggests some things to do in
advance of the
meeting.  Several previous
posts can be also be consulted

-  Sign up for the career fair (even if you
are not
looking for a job right now)  It gives
you the chance
to have conversations with
top employers.

-  Attendees’ preparation
           organize your references and
prepare them for follow up 
           do research on companies and
           define and print your BUSINESS
           have your resume reviewed by a
career consultant and submit to
career fair

Study the program documents before you
go.  Plan to organize your days between
specific presentations,
specific companies’
booths in the exhibition hall, specific
(resumes and interviewing) and career


Any way you can plan to participate in
workshops will
greatly enhance your
benefit in workshops.

Have a game plan not to “sit through”
talks that are not
benefiting you and have
alternatives that will benefit you.

There are downtimes at meetings.  Use
these as times to
practice networking
conversations and do information

interviews.  3 

-  Workshops schedule is out.  Look for
times and days
when the attendance is
smaller.  It will be better for you
to get
your questions answered.  Note– look for

workshops that address your specific

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Job Application. In a tight market
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 5:31 am

Do you think you have as much of a chance of
submitting your resume online to a company’s
website with thousands of others doing the
same thing?
Do you think your resume has a chance of filtering
through several layers of filters when going through
a job posting web-site?
P. Korkki talks about these in a NYTimes piece
and that now is the time more than before that one
best uses their network to find a department member
of hiring manager to send the resume directly to.

She advises:  “work hard to find a contact who can be
your advocate…”
  “…ask your friends and relatives…”
  “…Facebook page, post a polite plea there.”
  “…do some research.”
  “…Go on LinkedIn and look for someone who works
in the same department…
            “…Don’t ask new contacts to vouch for you…”
The article points out some respectful limits to
people as well.

Some firms who seek specific people offer current
employees placing their name in a drawing for a Prius
hybrid if they recommend people who eventually get
hired.  So, looking for insider contacts can be good for
all involved.

comments (0)
Mentoring 6. How to help your mentors
Filed under: Networking, Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 7:35 pm

Today, Joel Shulman sent a valuable idea that
needs wider distribution.  He called it “reverse
mentoring” and I hope it gets traction.

Something that mentors could benefit from is
perspective from their mentees.  Mentors can

  -learn what practices they employ in mentoring
work and what are less effective

   -learn new ways to effectively communicate with
different generations

   -benefit from social networking, twittering, and
the latest digital tools.

So, for those who benefit from working with mentors,
you might be able to help them with new insights or
using new tools.

1 comment
Application Process. Letters of Reference
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 8:15 am

While we know and have talked about references and
letters of reference, a recent situation points out some
important things.

A member is applying for a position which calls for
three references.  This particular institution asks for
references as part of the application process
(along with graduate and undergraduate transcripts).

A note nearly a week later asked that the letters be
sent in.  So it is not enough to list people’s names,
but have letters sent in.  This can result in some
difficulties– reference not available, reference changed
email or address, reference too busy.

Four references were listed in the public relations
document.  One reference sent her letter in within a
week.  A second reference request email “bounced
back” no longer at that address.  A third reference
request email reply stated that the letter could not
be written until a month later.  A fourth email
that they might not be able to write one. 
if the applicant would write the letter,
she would
edit and send the letter in.

So, in the application process:
1.  consider having more than the minimum
number of references (five is not too many)

2.  prepare each person on your list with a
detailed letter indicating the position you are
applying for
why you think you can meet and
exceed the
requirements and information like
how long
you know the person, projects you
worked on,
and successful outcomes.

3.  maintain a current listing of emails and
addresses of references.

4.  stay on top of reference letter writing;  ask
references to let you know when they have sent
their letters in (oh, by the way, in your request
include the address to which you wish/need
the letter to!)

5.  develop a back-up plan if references are not
able to provide references in time.

6.  keep the references informed of application

Several comments follow relating
- reciprocal needs of people (especially mid-
career and mature chemists)

- what should be included in a reference letter

- just other things to consider.

Watch-outs 11. Evolving Job Search Strategies
Filed under: Position Searching, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 2:18 pm

Overcoming statistics in your job

Source: Creative job search
Recent articles and Stephen J. Gould’s
book, Full House, point to how much
we “feel” how outcomes result from
unique, special traits of individuals.
These special traits while certainly
present are not the ultimate decider,
randomness and the “funny” laws of
chance are,  As Gould points out,
cultural changes are broader and
can branch out in unexpected ways.

Since the hiring process is cultural,
job seekers can influence the random
chance selection with some knowledge
of what will influence the decisions
to bring a candidate in and through
the interview process select and offer
a position.  The ’source’ web-site and
2 identify what interviewees
do to screw up.

Executive Job Boards that match
desires and demands
Source:  WSJ 7-9-09 D2 S. Needleman
Apparent new trend revealed in 4
executive recruiting sites using online
questionnaires to match executives
wishes and desires with their list of
clients attributes and expectations.
Some have been around for 4 years
but little used.  This economy may
be bringing them out.

Custom Tailored outplacement 2009
:  WSJ 7-7-09, P. D1
J. Lubin reviewed a “clubhouse”
outplacement program for executives.
The cost is six figures but includes
psychological assessments, custom
research, field experienced advisers,
introductions and legal advice. 

1 comment
Job Search Strategies. Mature chemists’ advantages
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 10:01 am

D. Mattioli wrote a WSJ piece, “Only the
Employed need apply.”   When the
economy has high
unemployment, it is
a “buyer’s market” for
employers.  This
leads staffers to seek
technically skilled
people who are
currently working in
comparable positions or for
companies.  [See the end of
the Mattioli
article for things one can do

if you are not still working.]

Now, as a mature chemist, who may
have to extend her or his working years
because our 401K has become a 201K,
wouldn’t this be a positive position
to move forward from?  Not quite.  There
is a betraying bias against older workers
despite their experience, despite their
reliability, despite their dedication and

The reality is that the result of hiring or

continuing to employ workers into their
mature years depends in large part on
two things– the strength of the economy
(economic recovery) and a recognition
of circumstances that favor, in fact, prefer
experienced workers.

In the first case, all we can do is hope
and pray.  But for the second, there is
a lot of evaluation, networking and
positive action that can be taken.

We could ask the ACS (members who
are leaders of companies and industrial
affiliates) :  where are the
concentrations of firms that face
shortages of specific skilled people?

Raise the attention of leaders of companies
who made business success possible for
for them in the first place.  Innovation
can be conceptional or experiential (D.
Galeson).  Mature workers excel at
experiential innovation.

Drive home the need to take a closer
look at the enhanced engagement and
lower turn-over more common with mature
workers.  The trend of younger workers
is shorter attention spans and the need
to move on if desires are not met.

An under-recognized place of employment
for mature workers is in government
service.  With age-discrimination rules
in place, and success stories 1  like
the EPA employing Senior Environmental
Employment and retired military being
hired as teachers.

Above all, get a picture of the ultimate
realities 2 and research the companies
that are the “fast adapters.”
Look at mature workers advantages
.ppt on the web SPCC Services.
[”Mature job seeker,
presentations/mature job seeker”]

1 comment
Chemical Technicians. Resume observations
Filed under: Public Relations docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 1:21 pm

Whenever we give a presentation, write a letter
or write a document (report, blog, article, or
whatever), a sensible thing to do is audience
analysis.  If there is anything that I sense
people with
terrific hands-on skills, practical
know-how and
reliable attention to detail fail
to do is address
what the audience seeks.

In the present case, resumes by experienced

Locally, one of the top employers has notified
employees that they are off-shoring some
facilities and also that slow-downs and lay-offs
are likely with the economy.  A senior technician
asked me to review his resume.  Five items
of audience needs jumped out at me:

-  small font size - why?..”to fit everything I did
on two pages”.  Please make it large enough to
see without a magnifying glass. 
Recommend:  Font >=  11.

- TMI (”too much information”)
several entries similar to:  “…PLC and PC based
control systems, electronic, electrical, mechanical,
electro-mechanical systems.  Familiar with solid
state circuitry.  Use test equipment such as
and multi-meters.  Read
schematics and other
technical drawings. Can
work independently or
as a team….” 
–A data dump when either a
phrase like “process control systems” or a
“Fisher pcc” item would be better.
Recommend:  significantly shorten

- bunching phrases in continuous paragraphs,
the above.  It is hard to read  and organize
in a
coherent way.
Recommend:  use bullets and lead with key
action verbs

- using phrases with Words that appear with
random Capitalization.
Recommend:  Over-capitalization feels like
shouting or a word is important. 
Using capitalization everywhere is at least

- not having items of merit in the document-
Recommend:  awards (especially military) and
references with full, up-to-date contact

Resume’s like this are hard to read.  With so many
coming in for each position, we cannot take time
to sort things out.

Earlier entries directed to chemical technicians
offered links that have changed.  So here are
two:  1  2