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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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10/30/09
Post doctoral positions. Industry
Filed under: Position Searching, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 6:58 pm

Post-doctoral positions are exciting
positions
that in many cases provide
professional
competences, unique
skills and perspectives
and necessary
networking contacts and tactics.


Many topics have been covered in
previous posts, targeting

  government post-docs 1 
  foreign student seeking US positions  2 
  international post-docs  3 
  non-profit post-docs  4 
  PfLAGS insights   5 
  Academic post-docs  6 
  Post-doc planning  7   8 

K. Kaplan points out more industrial
post-docs are targets for scientific
doctorates.
  The article lists the
company web-sites are the
place
where these positions are listed when

they list them.

 

comments (0)
10/29/09
Visa dilemmas. Demand for skilled workers
Filed under: Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 8:28 am

America is viewed as a “land of opportunity”
from its earliest days.  Pressures from costs,
bureaucracy, inspection crack-downs,
supply-demand cycles, unemployment
statistics and other influences change the
landscape of the Visa topic. 1  2  3 

The “technology sector” has big interest in
using H-1B visas.  When the economy is
slack, most companies hire fewer technically
talented people and seek fewer visas to work
full time in the US.  That is what the WSJ
reports
.

This situation provides an opportunity
for people who wish to work in the US,
yet have the citizenship hurdle.  There are
more than ten thousand visa openings for
this Immigration and Naturalization year
cycle.  Where in previous years it took
a few days to exceed to quota, this year
many slots remain even after months.

This is an opportunity that should not be
wasted.  All the pressures that bear on the
program could change things next year.

1 comment
10/27/09
Watch-outs 14. Stalled in your profession, Biofuels and MIDs
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 9:24 am

Using the ‘long-tail concept of blogs’,
we touch
on four items.  Action items
for “stalled” job
searches, considerations
when one is less
satisfied in a current
position, business
perspective of
biofuels future industry, and
gadgets
that may be part of our future.


STALLED JOB SEARCHES
Source:  S. Needleman, Giving a stalled
job search a jump-start
, 10-20-09
To keep resume numbers manageable
and
meet lowered budgets, companies
are
advertising less.  This urges
applicants to
explore more networking,
more informal
meetings at exhibitions
and fairs, and considerations
of looking
at temporary positions.  An overlooked

idea is that if your resume or other
documents don’t
make the cut– then, spell
check, use correct terms [for
the company/
industry] and include necessary and

compelling documents in your package. 
Fill a
skills gap is another contribution
of note in the time of unemployment.


CONTINUED ENTHUSIASM IN CURRENT
POSITION
Source:  MIT Sloan Review, 10-26-09
Sometimes looking at what the best
practices
of leaders to keep talent can
be inverted to
provide what the best
talent should be seeking.

Seek responsibilities that solve an
important
problem, communicate to upper
management
what you like or wish to
explore, and
increase your understanding
of sustaining the business
and your
career into the future.


FUTURE BIOFUELS INDUSTRY
Source:  Economist, 10-26-09, p. 72
The positions we seek should be ones that
survive for the foreseeable future.  There
are
so many ventures in science and
technology
that begin with much hype,
achieve technical
feasibility, but end up
“duds”.  This can
short-circuit our efforts
and our futures.  The
business side of
Ethanol from biofuels was
covered in
this article.


Two points:  (1) if you desire to work in
this
alternate energy field, it is essential
that you
keep up with the international
business debate
; (2) with few
exceptions, it is
incumbent on chemists
to have greater awareness
of
multi-disciplinary aspects and implications
of
our work.

MOBILE HANDSETS IN OUR FUTURE
Source:  WSJ 10-12-09, p. R2, “The latest
buzz on… by Michael Morgan
For the instant contact, 24-7 crowd, more
compact, increased functionality devices
MIDs, mobile information devices
are being used by people for business,
professional, recreational and navigation.
Funny thing is you will be “branded” by
what you use.  Also, adapt or move on.

comments (0)
10/25/09
Self Assessment Importance. Bill Carroll perspective
Filed under: Position Searching, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 8:03 am

Thanks to J. Petoff and twitter, let me
share
a link to Bill Carroll’s comments
on considerations
for the chemistry
fields you might make for your
career.

1 comment
10/24/09
Small talk at a conference
Filed under: Interviewing, Networking, Mentoring, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 7:59 am

There are some meetings you attend where
most everyone
needs little introduction to
everyone and the people have
a history of
working together.  That is, unless you are
new
to the group.

That situation happened to me yesterday. 
It was fun
to apply some of L. Lowndes ideas. 
This was my first
time attending this meeting,
so I made it a point to
be introduced to the
organizer
and try to offer help.

First thing we did was set up our presentation. 
Well,
the hotel, we learned, charges $150 for
use of their
screen and extension cord.  It is
another $450 for use
of their projector. 
OMG!  We brought a projector so
we could
substitute ours and went out to the local

hardware store for a $10 extension .  As
anyone
knows these add-on fees are
outrageous.  In our
smaller room setting,
we could project on a white
board and
ask attendees to gather closer to see.


Some body language signals I observed
and used included

- first impression posture, smile and
greeting

- “glued eyes” with people, to show
interest in what they
were speaking about
- treat people as old friends, that you
like already

- invite people to your table to eat
with you, politely
giving up your seat
so that others can sit and move on

[they will often want you back because
of the gesture]


Some small talk art that worked
- while one can stay with a conversation
partner,
recognize it is more polite to
meet, introduce and
circulate.  Then, if
the situation arises where you can

continue the conversation with ease,
learn about what
brings the person to
the meeting and travel

- ‘tell me more about…’ [conversation
detective
work]
     the overnight train ride from
Boston to Philadelphia

     the hobbies you like[ expressed as:
how do you relax] and do occasionally   
     the plays you like to attend
     what it was like in Turkey and
northern Africa

- then share your adventures and recent
experiences


Workshop tidbits:
While the mock interview is highly
appreciated,

- credibility signals of posture, using the
whole
room as the stage, reducing the
nervous energy
and inviting late comers
to join the group and offer
input.
- ask for help, but pick up on limitations
and
improvise.
- set the agenda in the meeting room
and post
it so that late comers can see
what is being done

- engage everyone in the group in
one way or
another (groups less than
10, involve all)

- observe and take advantage of
every teaching
moment, from
‘meta-language’, to crossed

arms, to appropriate distance
- build confidence in each person by
finding
several positive elements on
which to comment.

comments (0)
10/20/09
Careers in Government. Mid-career link
Filed under: Position Searching, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 11:53 am

Many thanks to Barbara Safani for
pointing out
resources for government
positions.  One that was
new and
caught my eye was
Senior Executive
Service

1 comment
More on Civility. Small talk is big.
Filed under: Interviewing, Networking, First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 11:41 am

Those that are good at it just seem
to have a
little magic about their
style.  Small talk needs
to be
understood for it to be effective for you.


1.  We live in a fast-paced, multiple-
input world
  which we cannot easily
escape.  Those that have
studied
multi-tasking indicate that it is not
always
the best tactic.  It is still done.

We take short glimpses and make fast
impressions
as Gladwell in Blink writes.

Lowndes talks about fine-tuning our gestures
to be effective in business.

2.  Small talk is less about the words
and ideas
and more about interactive
empathy, effective
listening (to detect
mood and energy), and
enthusiastic
delivery.
  Lowndes gives nice tips about
introductions–

naked city‘ - give where you are from
with a
little known fact about it,
bait the hook‘ about what you do, giving
a
significant factoid about the company,
products
or work situation,
benefit statement’ accentuating the
positive,

com-you-nicate‘ when you want a favor,
“I wonder can YOU help me with…”,
using
“YOU” statements. 

3.  Understand the conversation
progression:

cliches-facts- personal statements -
we
statements.

.4.  Talking with “big shots”- speak about
a
recent accomplishment.

5.  Thank you’s- don’t let the phrase
stand
alone.  Say why and offer an impact.

comments (0)
10/15/09
Interview Protocol. Travelling to ‘on-sites’
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching
Posted by: site admin @ 7:00 pm

We have not heard of problems of
people advancing to onsite interviews. 
We can think of several problems that
have happened to us and suggest what
you might do, if it happens to you.

A.  The interested company usually
makes
all the reservations, after
conferring with
you.  If you have to
make the reservations,
get their
written approval first.


B.  EXPENSE REPORT PROTOCOLS
In one long distance flight from coast
to
coast, reimbursement was delayed
more
than a month.  a)What helped
was
promptly sending an expense
report with all, and I mean
all,
receipts taped on sheets of paper

b)
Create a full set of copies of all
paper for your files.

c)I was able to contact a senior
officer of the
company and describe
my problem.  d)With
copies of my
interview itinerary, copy of
my
interview schedule and the receipts,

reimbursement was prompt.

C.  HAND CARRY ESSENTIALS
Another problem can happen if your
bags are mishandled.  Never check
computers,
full text of your
presentation, or clothes
that you
will wear the next day in luggage

that can be misplaced.

D.  BAG PRECAUTIONS
If you have certain items in your
checked bag,
have your name and
cell phone number in
your bag and
outside your bag in a easy
to see
location.  Also, have a unique

colored ribbon or tag on your bag
for easy
spotting.

E.  ALWAYS LOOK GOOD IN
INTERVIEWS
  If you do not have
your needed item in time
for your
interview, purchase an equivalent

replacement.  Save the receipt.  Then,
ask
the company for help (at the end
of the
interview process).  Will they
reimburse or
will they help you in
getting appropriate
reimbursement? 

If you need to leave the airport
without
your bags, (1) seek and
write down the local
baggage office
telephone number and name
of the
supervisor.
(2) Leave information about
your lost bag and number at which you
can
be reached.

See if your credit card company or
homeowner’s insurance will cover loss
of items.  If you purchased the air
travel with
your card it may apply. 
If you purchased
the clothing recently
with your card it may
apply.

Resolving the loss can come down to
not being fully reimbursed by the
airline
for losses.  Consider going to
small claims
court for the difference

comments (0)
More on Civility. NERM and good books
Filed under: Interviewing, Public Relations docs, Networking, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 1:20 pm

Both N. Meanwell and S. Sobolov
had
pertinent comments about
preferred ways of
presenting
yourself at the NERM Career

Workshops in Hartford last week.

In cover letters, Nick spoke about
addressing
the letter to specific people
Even emailed
public relations
documents should contain
cover
letters.


In interviewing and networking
introductions,
Susan could not forget
the
importance of a good, practiced
handshake
.  In fact, she commented
that one decision-maker she
observed
commented that he would not hire
a
person, based solely on the first
impression
and the handshake.

These and other similar helpful hints
were contained in a book recommended
by P. Forni [mentioned in a previous
blog], “
Business Class” by J
Whitmore.  Particular tips on making a
positive first impression, handshaking,
small
talk, phone calls, and dining
etiquette.


Another topical resource is L Lowndes book,
How to talk to anyone which I came away
learning about
  - conversation progression - cliches,
facts, feelings, personal statements, “we
statements”

  - upping my small talk skills
  - giving my body language a positive
groove.

Recall:  Technical tools are helpful, yet
people hire people.

comments (0)
10/12/09
Postdoctoral position considerations
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 9:27 am

Last Thursday and Friday at NERM
graduate
student career discussions
we talked about
the importance of
pursuing postdoc positions
as a
significant and helpful temporary
position
for many career paths.

Colleague, Megan Macnaughtan LSU,
gave a perspective on who should
seek
post-docs;  those whose career
ambitions
are:

- academics R1– in academics or
government
[Also, see below.]
- postponement– mechanism for
getting back
to a scientific career. 
Choose your mentor/PI
based on area
of interest.

- academics PUI– possibly depending
on the
job market.  [See below.]
- industry, for those without green
card– quite
helpful in getting needed
expertise and or green
card. 
- industry, in a tight job market– need
to do
homework.

For those people seeking an academic
career,
there are unique academic
research post-docs at:

- Boston University
- Trinity University (San Antonio)
- Univ. Georgia
- Univ. New Hampshire
- Tufts University.

M. Macnaughtan pointed out where to
look for
advisers, what to find out and
ideas for contacting
people.
Where to look
  literature,
  your adviser and committee,
  ads,
  network within the field
What to find out
  actively seeking a post-doc,
  have funding,
  agreeable and helpful personal style,
  reputation
Contacting ideas:  EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT
ADVERTIZING,
  letter-very strong and considerate letter,
  meet at a conference,
  invite as a speaker and meet at home
university.

comments (0)
10/11/09
Presentations. Impact of certain words.
Filed under: Interviewing, First Year on Job, Leadership, Mature professionals, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 6:11 pm

Last week at NERM (Undergraduate
and
Graduate student) career
workshops S. Sobolov
talked about
the many things speakers need to
be
aware of and practice in giving
technical and
management
presentations.  Her presentation

is one that sets these workshops
from many you
will find on
Chemistry Careers.


One concept she spoke about is the
impact of
certain specific words in
presentations (and also

negotiations and in interviews):

But:  ‘You presented the results
clearly,
but
     The “but” inverts the positive
element of the
first clause.  Use
another word like
   and … , or

   insert a period creating a short
sentence and
offer words of
consideration, need to meet
commitments, or complete projects.

Recently T. Jarvis authored a nice
article about
the impact of specific
words we might use. 
Highlighting
two,


Speaking with boss:
They do not know what they are
doing ….
.’  He offers Robert Reich
and Al Gore as
sources indicating
that it would be better
to have the
speaker accept part of the negative

element.  This way they can be
viewed as
contributing to the
solution(s).

We could do better in doing
[whatever is
the subject] if we ….
[then offer suggestions]

Don’t just come in with a problem
Come
in with solutions or
suggestions of solutions.


Offering your suggestions or
opinions
:  Instead of labeling others’
approaches
negatively, cite the
impact of others’ approaches
.
The Jarvis article used Pres. Obama’s
police action prejudicial statement
’stupid
‘ as inflaming a situation rather
than being
helpful.

1 comment
10/06/09
Mid-Career management requirements
Filed under: Interviewing, Leadership, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 6:20 am

What are some management skills hiring employers
seek in candidates?  The NYTImes “Corner Office
column interviewed a CEO who provided tips on
what one leader looks for in candidates:

 - looks at set-backs or problems as opportunities
 - defines longer term goals for your career
 - seeks and explores different perspectives
about the company business, especially from
within (Ms. Lyne ‘books’ 2 hours a week to
meet with anyone who wants to speak with
her.)
 - acts as an exceptional co-worker
 - knows how to handle challenges, providing
information on your style
 - since humans make mistakes, is able to
describe mistakes (and admit them) and offers
how you handled correcting them
 - what do you look for in a team and how
do you motivate the team members
 - describes situations where you have
worked outside of your department and
division to get things done.

The Susan Lyne interview was thoughtful.

comments (0)
10/03/09
Careers away from the bench AFTB
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 12:18 pm

Think I will adopt this nice phrase and
acromym
“AFTB Careers”– “Away from
the bench”
Careers initiated by Brianna
Blaser.  The term applies
for all degree
level chemists.


Her talk 1 offers a discussion contrasting
bench, plant and AFTB roles.  I also like

the “decision cycle” that she attributes
to Carney and
Wells, as it has more
descriptive  terms for the
decision 
process than a P-D-C-A (Plan-Do-Check
-Act) cycle.  The Carney decision tool
includes:

 Awareness
 Self-assessment
 Exploration  [Info interviews]
 Integration  [Resumes]
 Commitment  [Training, volunteering, etc.]
 Implementation  [Interviewing]
 Re-Evaluation

1 comment
Reference. What you can do when reference refuses.
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 6:05 am

While it may not happen to most or
even come
to mind, situations can
sometimes result in totally
no
response from all company references
for
an individual who has left a position.

A. Skover has described a thoughtful
and “high-road”
method, described next. 
My additional thought is
to seek out
other respected employees, perhaps

at your same level, who can write a
reference.


Sklover’s three step method includes:
1.  write a “150% reasonable, pleasant,
respectful,
concise and clear [request
for letter of reference]

 - send it … using Fedex, or email, or
both.”

 - ask for verification of reply

2.  “if not met within 2 or 3 weeks,
send a second letter,
just as respectful,
reasonable and clear,…, reminding her

of the terrible consequences to you. 
Politely suggest you
[may need to]
bring this up with the Board of Directors…”

 - Fedex, email
 - verification request

3. “if these still don’t work, write a
letter to each of the
Board of Directors,
setting forth what happened,
attaching
both letters, and asking them to intervene.

 - respectful, and deferential
 - consequences to your career, livelihood
and reputation

 - Fedex

comments (0)