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

November 2010
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“Disappearing Jobs in High Paying Careers” Article
Filed under: Networking, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 4:45 pm

Scanning various employment trend articles I wish to
point out a piece by Louise Tutelian on “Disappearing
Jobs in High Paying Careers.”

The article points out:  “nearly half of all chemists are
employed in manufacturing firms…” and “they are
continuing to outsource their R&D and testing to
small specialized firms…”
“…BLS projects only a 2 per cent rise in the total
number of chemists employed by 2018.”

Though the data in table form is true, one might be
a little suspicious of headline type warnings.  My reasoning

1. growth, in truth, is expected to be slower in “traditional
chemical areas,” ie., 2%– list in the BLS publication:
plastics, polymers and synthetic materials.  But, material
science and biotechnology will grow and remain strong
employment areas.  This difference lacks an
understanding that
plastics and polymers are material science and
biotechnology is synthetic materials.
[Is the author aware of the terms and meanings? I

2. using “one year factoids,” like the loss of 42,000
jobs in 2008-9, might be ‘real data’ reported by C&EN.
Combined with the job market being truly tight can
lead to short term thinking.  The reality is that chemistry
formal education can be applied in other fields.
Employment in Chemistry is competitive with stresses
coming from outsourcing, global market realities (inflation,
recessions, mergers and acquisitions) and raw material
and hazardous waste regulations.  We have learned not
to be complacent but to adjust and innovate.  Careers
with shorter stints in various sized firms and different
fields are seen now as both an advantage and a norm.

3. There are sub-fields of chemistry that are critically
needed to support a growing population–
food, energy, chemical transformation and remediation
management, biotech/pharma, and the associated fields.
The article paragraph seems to reveal a short term
observation and misses the broader multi-dimensional
trajectories of other related fields and needs.

It is no surprise to chemists to expect the employment
situation to reward
-  networking,
-  keeping up with trends in companies and industries,
-  keep learning new techniques and
-  remain abreast of the latest technical and business

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Searching for Companies. Using Social media
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:53 am

The topic of using social media in a job search
is common with several firm offering to provide
advice and services for you.  This is in addition
to the social web sites Facebook, LinkedIn,
Twitter, even ACS Network offering to be
“your tool of choice” for finding openings.

It might be worth first pointing out that job
seekers have different purposes at different
phases in their job search of their goal of landing
a job. 

Far be it for me to suggest one “best” source
for all purposes.  It might be wiser to understand
that before pursuing top firms on your list, you
have two parallel activities– (1a) determining your
musts, wants and restrictions and (1b) gathering
information about companies and industries.

Once you get a handle on your personal assessment
and what is available, then for most, there is a need
to narrow down your search to (2) identify where you
might focus your effort.  A divided effort can yield
limited results or take longer.  Being able to focus on
a few target companies or institutions will help you
make progress. 

There are many routes to obtaining information and
among them are the social media tools.  I liked some
of Mark’s comments in Applicant blog comparing
the use of social media on this subject.  Then, once
your targets are identified you are served well by (3) creating
strategies to introduce yourself and your desire to work
at them.  There is no single approach for doing this.
Although social media may help, networking, identifying
current employees who can refer your resume and
interest to hiring authorities and creating an “introduction
opportunity” will be important for job seekers.  No
single route works for all.

Persistence, rather than which is the “right way,” is
often the best advice.

Job postings will show up on many sites.  But, as we know,
most jobs are not formally posted.  They are in the “hidden
job market.”

As we move closer to the interview stage both formal
connections and informal connections can prove helpful
for job seekers. (4) In anticipation of screening interviews,
learning about new products, recent news, and positive
(or negative) outlooks are timely.  Finding consequential
and secondary network connections who can
offer advice or a good word help, too.

I have recommended tools like to (5) inform
“on-site interviewers” about the people with whom they
will interview at companies.

Blogs and other tools can be helpful for (6) learning about
insiders’ views and rumors about company changes
that are not formally public knowledge or are
buried.  (I know this was the case at a company
I previously worked for.)

Beyond this, some blogs can be helpful in (7) learning
appropriate salary ranges and items that can be
sought in negotiations.  These rarely show up in
social media.

We mentioned seven specific areas in a job search.
Popular and common social media seem to provide
value for several of them.  It is helpful then for the
job seeker to have a purpose in mind when using
these social media.  For some purposes, their value
might not be high.

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Searching for Companies. LinkedIn tips
Filed under: Position Searching
Posted by: site admin @ 9:41 am

While we can all move our mouse over to the
“yellow column” of this page and seek out listings
of “Chemistry jobs,” we understand not everything
is listed here.  The “hidden job” market is usually
not there.

The Chemistry job area can be excellent for
gathering search terms and key skills to include
on resumes.

One way to explore the hidden job market is to
explore companies on tools like “”
A colleague, D. Lipp, shared some insight on
a valued approach.  In a search for a small sized
firm within a defined geographic area, one might

1. open your page and examine
your ‘command line’ [2nd line, partially shaded]

2. to look for companies, if it does not readily appear,
click on ‘More’ and it will along with other cool
features [answers, for example.  See comment.]

3. Companies search ‘home’ and ‘following’ will appear.
In search home, click on ‘location’ as ‘located in or
near’ and search companies [rather than browse

4. Fill in company size and location, field and location
if needed,

5. The screen will be populated with a string of
company names, headquarters and number of
employees which you can scan your mouse over
and browse pertinent information.

I am currently looking a developing business
plans for a software concern and explored
competitors in our local area. 

This nicely opened up significant access
to firms that could be targeted to explore
business opportunities that are relatively
fresh.  Remember how fast-changing business
is today and how dated traditional library
sources can be.

Pretty nifty!  Thanks, Dana…

1 comment
Undergraduate Career Program. Resumes
Filed under: Interviewing, Public Relations docs, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 9:28 am

In our mock interview session, the first mock
interview offered a junior undergraduate who
was beginning her search for a summer internship.
We began her phone interview both on cell phones.

She apologized for not being ready at the moment.
After verbally fretting a bit, we stopped the interview
and noted that it is appropriate to suggest a
until she was ready with all her
(and free from interruptions and noise).

Some screening interviews on the phone are set up
by an email to confirm time and number.  But not
always.  Also, things can change.  Reschedule, so
that you can be ready.

Then, we began our interview.  After a little small
talk we began the technical part by scanning the
resume and asking questions about the first element
under the experience section.  It ends up, she was
just beginning the synthetic work and really not
accomplished her objective.  While revealing some
embarrassment this was a “teaching moment” in
two ways.
Remember, in phone interviews, answers should be
shorter and consist of back and forth conversation
of about 20 to 40 seconds.
Second, don’t list items on your resume until you
have actually experienced or done things, even if
you intend to do them.  Every thing on your resume
is fair game for interview questions and in a
screening interview, we will seek to confirm
information listed in your resume.

Other tips for resumes, covered in the resume talk,
in related sections on interviewing and in the
resume review discussions were:
1.  No personal pronouns, unnecessary words (a, the,
that, or fluff), or personal attributes (personal status,
age, SSN, except in European resumes).
2.  Target the resume with a focused objective,
prioritized list of highlights, keywords used in the
job description, and prepared stories using CARI
concept for each bulleted item
3.  Bring extra copies of your well written resume
(some interviewers may not have a copy, and
infrequently, people will want to see you speak
without back up material)
4.  Use your resume as a reminder device about
key accomplishments and skills you have, after
you leave the interview
5.  Take note of the items the interviewers asked
questions about
6.  Avoid the common tendency to provide too
much information TMI, months with years, all
the years you attended schools (just provide
graduation year)
7.  Be consistent in you punctuation and avoid
using too many acronyms
8.  Be conscious of the “resume red zone” - the
center section of the first page for key information
matching what skills are sought.

Recently, I have heard that links provided in
resumes as attachments may be treated as spam
by spam filters.  Deactivate the links (highlight
the link, right mouse click, and “remove the link.”).

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Undergraduate Career Program. Underscores
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 8:36 am

What is an underscore or what does it



  1. An underline; a line drawn or printed beneath text; the character _


to underscore

  1. To underline; to mark a line beneath text.
  2. To emphasize or draw attention to.

Job Searching
My colleague N. Meanwell drew the audience’s
attention to a number of things including:
-  focus your attention on networking to explore
openings, especially various Internet tools, but
don’t miss in-person opportunities (don’t limit
to one; find out what others are using)
employee referrals seems to be growing in
relation to who gets interviews.

Cover letters
-  keep them brief, clear and mistake-free
-  effectively place ‘tweeter’ habits in mind when
constructing cover letters

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References. Things your references need to be prepared for
Filed under: Interviewing, Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:44 pm

It it an interesting world we live in.  There are
consequential strangers, unanticipated consequences,
and surprises when something comes to mind
from nowhere.

When we are job seeking it seems like none
of these come.  In fact, we should seek and
desire these.

That said, by an unanticipated path I have been
asked to be a reference for an individual.  Now
being a reference I need to be able to respond
intelligently to questions like:

1. Given a skeleton job description, do I think
the candidate can perform well?
 - give rationale why

2. What do I feel are important strengths and
areas for improvement?  Having said that what
unique behaviors does (s)he have that the interview
might not have revealed?

3. How does the person work under pressure?
Give me an example to reveal the person’s behavior.

4. Has the person behaved ethically and respectfully
in all situations?
If not, what coaching would be a benefit. 
More often, a reference will mention no shortcomings.
Nonetheless, this is an opportunity for the reference
to mention areas where coaching can be fruitful in
a win-win way.  international business, business
plan writing, true managing and leading.

Several questions that references should be prepared
to respond to.  It is the job applicant’s responsibility to
help the reference have specific background.  Randy
Hanson has suggested an appropriate list.

Hanson also lists some reference watch-outs.
I feel differently about providing the list with
the resume.  Although I agree references are not
part of a resume, (1) there is value in supplying the
list of references for technical hiring.  It provides
helpful information if the hiring manager knows
a reference.

There is a “cost” to pay if you list current managers
 or co-workers.

I also suggest that we need to (2)  list the relationship
of the reference to you for each reference on the

1 comment
Interviewing Follow-up. Your Responsibility
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching
Posted by: site admin @ 1:58 pm

It may not happen frequently.  It is both
the hiring authority and job seeker’s
responsibility to communicate effectively.
If one side does not communicate, it is
in the job seeker’s best interests to
make the hiring authority
aware of continued
interest and
enthusiasm in the open position.

A request came from a person

“Dear Prof,
I have a quick question for you and your
is very important. 
I got a follow up email from an employer
my availability for a second
interview and I did
email him immediately. 
However, he never
responded afterward. 
Nearly three weeks have passed.
  What do
you advise?  Shall I drop him a reminder email?

Or, do you you think it will be considered as

“Hi D,
Excellent question and appropriate to ask.
Do not ever hesitate from calling on the phone
to ask
Emails easily get lost and could easily be sent
to the
wrong address by accident.

Call to confirm second interview is best.

Give you an example.  Today, I called ALA to
hotel and plane reservations for a future
meeting.  I
sent them an email in early September
and have not heard
back.  I have come to learn
that the
initial contact is out on family leave.  A
second contact is inundated with much work
and does not even remember what she did.

She thought she had responded to me, but she
had not.

D, it is your personal responsibility.  It goes back
to our
class– first assignment…ask, ask, ask…”

D did make the call.  The company is very
in speaking further about the open
positions.  The
key people have very busy travel
schedules and
have been away.  They plan to
schedule an interview
in Atlanta in the next
few weeks.

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Presentations. Flow structures for business
Filed under: Interviewing, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:53 pm

Can’t say enough good things about an ebook
that I am currently reading.  Jerry Weissman’s book
‘Presenting to Win’ about presentations in business
contains case studies  1  and four organizing principles
about planning and delivering.

1  Four critical questions
     what is your point b  (what are you driving at?)
2  What is the audience WIIIFY
3  How are you organizing  the presentation
4  What is your Flow Structure

To give you all substance to chew on, let me share
the essences of his 16 flow structures for winning
- Modular- sequence were order is interchangeable,
             like ‘plug and play”
- Chronological -  clusters ideas along a timeline
- Physical - location, ‘let me walk you through the
             brochure, pamphlet, what-ever….’
- Spatial - physical metaphor for actual
- Problem/solution - answers ‘What is in it for you’
- Issues/actions - turn around planning
- Opportunity/leverage - good for IPO
- Form/function - core concept applied to new
- Features/benefits - product launches
- Case histories
- Argument/fallacy - audience of experts or
- Compare/contrast - illustrate differences
- Matrix - simplify complex ideas into categories
            to bring out comparison
- Parallel tracks - disease; cause, actions
- Numerical - there are x reasons why

Excellent inspiration for story telling pulling
ideas together for business type setting.
Consider this essential for entrepreneurial
and business focused interviews.

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Turnover in Positions. Harsh reality and something we all face
Filed under: Networking, Mentoring, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:59 pm

A while back, my group had about half dozen
excellent members in a new equipment and
product development project.  One day a key
member came to me and said he was leaving for
another company.

We transferred his knowledge and backfilled
quickly.  The experience of elective turnover
has stuck with me.

We all need to realize with the evolution of the
economy and business, turnover is likely to
increase since business “feels” less secure.
As more employees “head to the exits” it has
a triple wammy effect– remaining employees
need to divide and pick up roles,  goal deadlines
might have to be re-evaluated creating frustration
and dissatisfaction and the promise of the
business and the business model may be put
into question.  It may drive remaining employees
to thinking about leaving themselves.

While we read and hear about people being the
most important asset at a firm, turnover is a fact.
How people are treated at every phase of the
employment and business cycle reveals much.
People are more than “human capital”.  Capital
traditionally decreases in value with time, while
people who are well managed and cared for
increase in value in many ways.

Good companies will recognize some will
unfortunately not keep up with skills and develop.
Good companies will also communicate, reward,
connect and effectively manage good employees
and attract those who are dissatisfied  with their

These transitional employees need to look closely
with current employees to see if they feel as a
replaceable asset or as a human who is employed
productively and has his wants, needs and
concerns met.


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