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

July 2010
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Conversations at meetings
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Recruiters, Leadership, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 9:29 am

In a conversation, a member asked–
“when I attend a meeting, I want to be
sociable and engage in conversation.  I
just don’t know what to say.  Can you offer
some help?”

There are four tactics to consider:  People’s
names, introductions, small talk and
elevator speeches.  Remember with all
of them we communicate a lot with our
body language.

- remembering names
hone the skill of remembering people and their
names.    [View the link.]

 - introductions:  consider–
“Hi My name is Theodore Roosevelt.  But
you can call me “TR.”  No one ever recalls
Theodore as it is not very common these
days.  This morning when I was coming in
my car battery died on me.  I had to call
around to let my colleagues know and see
if other arrangements could be made.  I
was flying from Hartford, as I am finishing
up my graduate degree at UCONN in
materials science with Professor Zhao.
As you can see AAA saved the day and
I made the flight.”  A little story with key
items makes a big difference.  Make it
easy on your audience to remember you…

 - small talk  2   3   4   5 
Each day assemble three topics you can speak
to nearly anyone extemporaneously.

 - “elevator speeches“  7 
Observe marketing experts and adapt to
yourself.  Consider
bringing a sample of
something that helps you tell a story about
creativity or problem solving.

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Filed under: Interviewing, First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 8:30 am

Interviewers for industrial positions commonly use
behavioral based questions to explore what a
candidate might do in a future situation, based on
her (or his) previous behaviors in the past.

These type interview questions have been
commented on in several blog posts  1  2  3 

There seem to be interesting cultural and
linguistic origins to our behaviors.  One of
the things to recognize is that behaviors accepted
in one culture are not well received in others.
We kid each other when academics and
entrepreneurs mix together how “laid back”
one group is and how “assertive” and action-
oriented another group is.

One can adapt and transition our behaviors
but it must be done thoughtfully and with

Experts in linguistics debate
fine details
of universal grammar, but Lisa Boroditsky
authored an interesting piece describing how
cultures portrayed by their languages
affect specific behaviors.  “Patterns in
language offer a window on a culture’s
dispositions and priorities.”  In this
language seems to encode different
cultures views of the world.

So, since we realize words represent
less than half of the content in communication
and ‘body language’ provides much more,
we each present a different cultural body
language as well.

Yesterday, I interviewed an individual
who displayed two behaviors that struck
me instantaneously.  Avoiding eye contact
and over-affirmation  (yes, smiling, nodding,
‘that is right’ in rapid-fire, mid-sentence

We worked on both throughout our conversation.

Based on his culture there is deep deference
offered to someone he respects and believes
knows more.  This leads to the behavior of
not being able to maintain eye contact and
to nod and say “yes” and not question items.

In our culture, it is nearly required that we
maintain good eye contact as it displays
trust, integrity and truthfulness (at the same time
respect is not lessened).  Over affirmation tends
to come across not in the intended fashion of
respect, but more as “not well understanding
the topic” of discussion and “wanting to get it
over with.”  

So, Lost in Translation can be done in body
language as well.

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Elevator speeches.
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Recruiters, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 9:55 am

The Business Journal is a nice source for tips
in delivering “elevator speeches” that are used
not only by entrepreneurs but also by people
at various stages in your career.

Here is link to BJ secrets.

“This American Life” podcast has an nice segment
on thought provoking entrpreneurial examples.
that are fun listening to  2   

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Job searching. Levy flights in tight markets
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 4:39 am

It is quite amazing and it never occurred to me that
some of the things I have tried in research and
searching and had profound success has been
studied by mathematicians.

Early reports by Viswanathan, et. al. on
albatrosses (ok, this does sound unrelated to job
searching, but stay with me!)  revealed a
food search pattern that randomly interspersed
long flights with normal short flights in a
power law distribution of flight times.
(Nature (1996)) 

Ocean predators in complex food webs have
been reported to use a similar mix of long
trajectories in different areas with short, random
movements (sharks, tuna, marlin, swordfish). 2 
This method of search referred to as “Levy
flights” can be helpful in job searching in complex
environments, as well.

The suggestion is that professionals in the job
market might occasionally seek opportunities in
a completely different “search neighborhood”
than peers and focused effort searching has been
applied, if progress has not been forthcoming.

In my career, this approach has been applied,
for example, to discover and patent new
molecules for complexing bromine in
polybromide complexes (circulating
electrolyte batteries) with Reilley Chemical,
developing new process analyses in film
manufacturing (chemical fluids and product analyses)
with CPAC at the University of Washington and
looking at widely different journals to develop
my doctoral thesis project from Poland and
fields quite remote from my area of study.

J P Bouchard hints at this in a Science article
to find a career in a different area.

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Careers in Chemistry. Future trends. Applied Energy Systems research
Filed under: Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:24 am

Do you want to see what fields a leading
chemical company is moving?  Consider
viewing Dow’s CTO recent presentations
  2  (ECS meeting Vancouver)

William Banholtzer outlines the importance
of collaborations, working with renewable
raw materials and producing biodegradable
products that serve customers.

He highlights peroxide chemistry and carbon
sequestration.  Note also fine work in a
similar vein by T. Collins CMU to treat
halo-carbon chemicals.  3 

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Boston Meeting Preparation: Resumes and CVs
Filed under: Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 7:38 am

The Boston national meeting is about 5 weeks away.
If you are interested in using this meeting to explore
your career, resulting from nearing graduation,
exploring post-docs, a recent lay-off, a less than
satisfying current position or just to see what is out
there, consider requesting a career consultant for:

industrial-  resume and cover letter help 
government-  resume and cover letter help (also
filling out government application forms well) and
academic-  cv and cover letter help

This blog entry can be of help for some
specific sections and discussion points

Submission rules of thumb  2 

Resume vs. CV  European CV

Masters degree resumes  5 

Resume reviews:  some classic errors

Resume formatting suggestions

Resume contents:  mid-career

Headings  10  11 

Objectives  15 




Academic applications considerations  23 

Chemical Careers AFTB  Sales  Legal 

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Patents in Chemistry. Reform topics
Filed under: Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 11:49 am

Several pieces of current items relating to patents
have a bearing from both academic and industrial

Interestingly, Andy Gilicinski authored an article
on patent reform that selectively touches on
issues.  It is pertinent that we get broader
exposure to the innovation encouragement and
proprietary know how protection system that
has developers of new ideas, developers of
practically useful devices and patent trollers for
litigation purposes as users.

Because it is complicated with house and senate
versions and also has a significant international
factor, he had to simplify bullets in the article.
Will it be done all at once or incrementally over

As in the financial reform legislation it will not be
perfect for all parties, here is some quick items
perhaps not mentioned by Andy:

speed of patent process (facilitated by higher
    fees)  1 
obvious inventions are not patentable  2 
patents should have practical outcomes and
    benefits  3 
copyrights   4 
winners and losers remorse in legislation  5 

There is much more to this topic.

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Watch-outs 21. Facets of security
Filed under: Networking, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 6:54 pm

Security in a time of uncertainty is this entry’s
theme.  Security topics include new sources
of estate planning and elder care (banks),
managing long term goals via user friendly
software (, managing one’s
investment factoring in your position, and
computer security.

Source:  K. Greene, Beyond Estate Planning
WSJ 6-26.27-2010, p. B8.  Banks and trust
companies offer personalized care (for a fee)
for senior clients.  Case stories point out
bringing unique skills and expertise to a
sensitive area of elder care.

Source:  K. Boehret, WSJ 6-30-2010
Goalkeeping in Finances.
User friendly organizes, poses
questions and Checklists, and updates
with user data to aid setting and reaching
multiple goals.  Forms budgets for those
who seek the discipline.

Sources:  S Anand, WSJ July 6, 2010
Think Job, Then Stocks
“You have more control over what you do
[at] work.    It is going to be the
combination of saving and earning and
wise investing…”  Based on career
choices, fluctuations and longevity, one
should temper your investment
tactics and philosophy.  With more
uncertainty now, investments might be
more conservative.

Sources:  CDW advertisement 6-24-2010
The Economist, June 12, 2010, p. 10
Loose clicks sink ships
WSJ 2-18-2010  p. A3
Hackers mount new strike
WSJ 4-2-2010, p. A15
Prepare for Cyberwar

-  estimates are 1200 laptops are lost
at LAX every day!
-  encrypt everything
-  sounds of individual keystrokes
can be distinguished to eavesdrop
(turn up the radio!)
- incredible global invasion of personal
data by Chinese hackers (care in
clicking on unknown sites)
-  consider cyber security adviser,
security r&d in Rockefeller-
Snowe bill

Networking. Communicating in “bursts”
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 5:28 am

A habit that we all do and endorse is networking.
Increased use of the Internet seems to enhance
networking that can lead to learning about openings
and  help us in our jobs and our job searches.

In the past we have mentioned the importance
of consequential strangers in networking.  These
are the people who we do not know well but
can provide significant information, introductions
or insights in our job search.

If we understand the structure of the Internet,
how it is comprised and how its components
interact, that is, we could better network with and
on the Internet to achieve goals.    2 
Albert-Lazslo Barabasi’s book, “Linked,” offers
many useful insights, sort of the engineering
diagram, to help understand and use the
Internet.  3  4  [There is also a field of marketing
based on geodemographics that takes this
networking to another level.]

Why is the Internet patterned like an
exponential distribution with a few web-sites
growing faster and much larger than many
smaller sites?  Barabasi in a second book
Bursts explains that limited time resource
and attention spans creates spans of activity
and inactivity that lead to a personal ordering
that yields focusing on fewer, richer sites. The
author extrapolates much further that these
bursts, or bursting, seems to govern human

Bursting arises from prioritizing and organizing
our tasks and actions.  We don’t randomly do things.
In fact we either have patterns or we set a priority
order that makes all the difference.

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