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

June 2011
« May   Jul »
Electronic Tools for Job Search. Lead, follow, or get out of the way
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:37 pm

Here is a “mini-, online- workshop” on Electronic
tools for your job search.  Of course, you can go
to a far off place, pay admission, hotel, travel and
related expenses to attend a workshop.  But, eh,
for electronic tools, should this be the way…right?…

Let’s give it a whirl.  And, oh, by the way, if any others
out there have good ideas to share, please send them…

Couldn’t help but notice some MEGA USEFUL guidelines:

Create Electronic versions of your resume [or CV]  1   2 
              Remember to test the file out

Post Public relations documents “in-the cloud”
              List of Papers, Presentations, Patents
              List of Projects (if appropriate)
              Patent or Technology summary (if appropriate)
              Research summary
              Management philosophy (if appropriate)
Look at General listings of web-sites (for Texas, make specific
   for regions you are interested.  This site points to
   many.)                                                    4
   Stanford                                                 7
Use (search this blog for specific entries)
   more extensively

Networking                                               6 

1 comment
Academic Employment Trends and Insights
Filed under: Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:30 am

Two recent notes are shared here.
The first is a summary in June 13 C&EN
by Mary K. Carroll  1  2   that reflects
on the situation at two-year
community colleges which have the
highest student enrollment.

The second is by way of Al Sklover
and provides 10 top trends in academic
hiring and employment.

comments (0)
Are LinkedIn Profiles added to or replacing Resumes
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:08 am

The more I correspond and speak with mid-career
people and recent grads, the more I find that a
large segment are finding “LinkedIn profiles” are
providing more opportunities for landing
interviews than their resume.  [Consider listing
yours in your Resume heading.]

  - much easier to access 24/7,
  - keyword rich screening,
  - can be linked to resources, like web-page,
publication files, presentations in the cloud
  - can reveal much more in a short time, than
a traditional resume.

What enables the LinkedIn profile?
[See Tom Merlino article and profile, for example.]
  - You can create your own community on LinkedIn
geared to your own field, sub-field and community.
  - Have links to your lists of projects (in the cloud),
patents, presentations and publications that show
your expertise and accomplishments.  [True, you
should not reveal proprietary information.  That
is the value of a project list with keywords.]
  - Keep in mind “searchable” and “advanced
search capabilities.”
  - Have your profile reveal your interests and needs,
not just that you are there…
  - L-I may be serviceable for entrepreneurs, small
company employees and departments in large
organizations where communication is not far

What else is possible?
Terrific insight into who one might network with
is provided by M. Tullier.   Her STARS acronym:
Strategists- coaching & feedback for goals
Targets- prospects for employers, customers,
Allies- technical experts you can consult
Role models- mentors
Supporters- keep you focused on your goals

For those just starting out, A. Brandt’s file seems
to be a creditable resource.

The summary in these profiles should be
designed for easier reading stating clearly your
goals.  This might seem a bit different from your
resume which reveals skills and your match to an

Your current position trumpets that you enjoy what
you are doing in a real organization, whether it be
as a individual contributor or part of a team.

Just as we are finding wireless communications
tools an extension of ourselves, your LinkedIn
profile is an extension of our resume.  So,
still continue to maintain your “master resume.”
Still develop targeted resumes for applying for
specific positions.  Regularly, update all these
files.  Some people suggest every 2-3 months.

Attending ACS Career Fair. Denver, CO
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 11:21 am

The Denver National Meeting is about 2 months away.

Are you less than 2 years away from looking for a
position?  Whether you seek a post-doc, working in
a small or large company, working in government, or
perhaps considering academic positions?  this is a great
opportunity for you.
What about considering entering a career away from
the laboratory bench
– law, production facility or factory,
government technical liaison, technical writing,
regulatory affairs, information science and many others.
You can meet people who are involved in these fields

If you are planning to attend, now is the time to line up
your Internet Presence, your public relations documents,
your meeting plans [what you plan to do], your personal
arrangements and even your clothing.

Do you have a career consultant?  Consider working on
your PR documents now before the meeting by working
with a career consultant.  They may also be able to
point out things to do at the meeting that will be of

If you have not developed your Internet Presence, do
so before the meeting.  How is your LinkedIn profile?
Practice small talk and conversations which are at the
heart of networking.  Ask the career consultant to help
you refine your LinkedIn profile.  2 

- ask for references and prepare them,
ask them for their help
- ask the ACS which companies will attend
perform detailed and networking research
- define what you want on your business
cards, print them out
- look at the detailed program coming out
next week, organize your days for specific
activities you most want to attend, people
you most wish to meet, companies you want
to interact with

Career fair sign up

Consider being proactive in attending.  If you
are faced with a tight budget, find people who
are attending and “room with them”.  Ask to
volunteer at the meeting and ask for your
registration to be waived or reduced as a
volunteer.  Recall unemployed members can
attend without cost.

1 comment
Thinking about Thinking. 2. System’s Thinking
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 1:44 pm

The second edition of Peter Senge’s book,
“The Fifth Discipline (The art & practice of the
learning organization), Currency/Doubleday,”
is five years old but it is even more relevant
today.  1 

You won’t find too many scientists picking
this book up or recommending it.  It addresses
deep issues that facts and physical theories cannot
get their arms around.  It emphasizes the need
to invoke “system’s thinking” discipline in
assessing ourselves, determining what we
want to do in our careers, and gaining a notion
of what it is we do that is significant.

I am struck by Senge’s “learning disabilities”
that I notice in myself, in other people’s
comments and discussions with me.  Read on
and see if you find one or more fairly common–

1.  People describe their “daily job” as their
profession, rather than the purpose of their work.
[Most see themselves as a part of a complex
system, over which they have little influence.]

2.  “Thou shalt find someone else to blame
when something goes wrong. [it’s the system.]

3.  People reveal themselves as being proactive,
taking charge of their situations.  [More likely,
they are being reactive to limited events and
range of options provided for them…the system]

4.  People converse and are influenced by events,
that lead to ‘event explanations’.  [This distracts
us from observing the longer term patterns of change
that lie behind the events.  More likely, the changes
to our organizations’, societies and personal survival
are threatened by slower gradual processes that we may
not even notice.]

5.  People point out that powerful learning comes
from direct experience.  [Our ‘Learning horizon’ has
shifted now beyond the space and time of our
individual actions because of complexities.  We do
not experience directly the consequences of many of
our most important decisions.]

These and other candid examples point to most of
us missing a ‘bigger picture’ view of the full system
in which we interact.  With poignant exercises, we
learn that our range of influence extends far beyond
what we simply believe.  Moving from the linear
cause-effect models to systems approaches with
feedback loops, delays, team goal setting and
commitment instills a discipline that can be
of value in our personal careers.  2 

One clear statement by Stenge is that ‘when placed
in similar situations, most people, no matter who
they are, will produce similar results.’  The system
is in control.
When sophisticated models are applied to come
up with probabilistic outcomes, failure results
because of the “dynamic complexity” of real
world systems.  Models assume a “detail
complexity,” a simplified construct.

OPT / CPT. Follow-up from a workshop
Filed under: Position Searching
Posted by: site admin @ 7:54 am

Although more formally part of an international
student’s training program and peripherally related
to careers as temporary positions, a couple of
attendees at a recent workshop asked about OPT
and CPT.

Using the long-tail of the Internet, the following
resources were explored on these training programs
for individuals with ONLY F-1 visas:

   OPT - Optional practical training is a temporary
employment authorization for F-1 visa holders for
temporary employment to gain practical work
experience in their area of study granted by USCIS.
Optional practical training is available after a
student completes their degree.  It is available to
work up to 1 full year, if they did not spend 365
days enrolled in CPT.

   CPT - required practical experience as part of
some defined courses of study.  CPT is mainly used
when students with F-1 visas complete an internship
during the summer.  Students can use up to we
months (365 days) on a CPT, during their academic

Thanks to E. Hogrebe UCONN for authoritative insight.

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Trends in Industries. Patent trolls, Pharma and Chemicals
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 5:18 pm

Sources:  R. Winslow, WSJ 6-6-11, P. 1
Emerging ability of researchers to use
biomarkers to develop and exploit
new therapies for cancer and other diseases.
While it does not offer a ‘cure’,
it offers personalized routes for
treatment.  1 

Source:  S. Weinberg, WSJ 6-1-11
Patent researcher turns tables on litigants
Article One Partners advertises a product,
Litigation Avoidance, that aims to invalidate
poor quality patents that are held by
nonpracticing entities who seek to gain
from legal patent infringement.
Worth being aware of in high tech fields.

Source:  S. Gold, WSJ 6-1-11, Exxon
fuels a chemicals drive
ExxonMobil reported completing a
large raw petrochemical material project
in Singapore.  It signals the continued
use of new supplies of petrochemicals and
positions for chemical engineers and

1 comment
Thinking about Thinking. 1. Your personal values, corporate values
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 11:21 am

On our return drive to the airport after a
wonderful PfLAGS workshop, Patrick
Gordon brought up the subject of the
importance of thinking deeply about critical

We were talking about things in international
politics as examples where a decision is made
and all sorts of unintended consequences
arise.  Could these have been surfaced before
the decision was made and better goals defined
which would avoid the consequences?

That is one rationale behind a series of blog
entries on ‘thinking about thinking.’
We have touched on this general theme in
this blog when, for example, we wrote about
negotiating competing offers to meet your family’s
needs, having a written offer letter in hand
 and the order of replying to each company.

Let’s consider J. Jackson’s blog as a starting
point [referred to by A. Sklover in BLOGROLL).
She has pointed out that a large number of
people are, at least, unhappy at work and, at
worst, find it necessary to leave their place of
employment because the employment situation
lacks authenticity.   Specifically, the company’s,
or a particular supervisor’s, values do not
match your personal values of what is important
to you.

Less thoughtful people will not have thought
through their values.  They are surprised by
their unauthentic feelings at work.

So, when evaluating companies, they have
not considered the psychology, attitudes,
experiences, beliefs and values of the
organization…  They focus on pay, starting date,
vacations,  and what they would do when first
on the job.  Now I am not advocating
buying an e-book.  I am suggesting
that it is critical to know what is important
to you.  Is it family, life balance, rewards,
challenge, independence, prestige, growth;
there are 15-20 critical qualities…

This will help clarify what you should look
for in potential employers.

The Josephson Center on Business Ethics does
a fine job in clarifying the real truth about
business value statements, their real values and
our personal values.

So, put some serious effort into establishing
what your values are at the beginning of your
job search.  Get better at learning how to explore
the company’s values, through:
– published statements,
– current employee’s statements and beliefs
– company’s behaviors with customers and
– company’s products and product recall

1 comment
Interviewing: How important is humor?
Filed under: Interviewing
Posted by: site admin @ 5:28 pm

At a recent workshop, the question was raised:
How important is humor in an interview?

This question does not have a clear high or low
response.  It should be “appropriate”, however.

For many, humor seems spontaneous and is
“part of a person’s personality.”  Humor feels like
a mental outcome of realizing something that we
did not at first realize or appreciate.  It can be
related to unexpected actions, accidents, or
statements, as we think about TV programs about
funny things.  Humor can be situational, something
is funny at one time and not at another.

Laughing is not required but is often associated with
humor.  I have been asked by people for whom English
or American culture is not native, should I laugh when
a joke is told and I do not “get it?”  David Brooks
recently wrote about this in his book, “The Social
” and he pointed out that laughter comes about
when we establish a social connection.  It is very
rarely in response to a joke.  It’s usually in response
to when we’re doing something in common together.
…So, laughter is a tool we use to bond ourselves

Barbara Haislip interviewed Burt Tepliszky about humor
in business.  Burt said jokes can establish rapport with
customers, release tenstion and increase your “likeability.”
Isn’t that part of an interview?

In business, Haislip indicated that humor can be used well
when the punch line is linked to the benefit of the product
or service being sold.  In an interview, you are the product
you are selling.

In an interview the stress level can be higher than normal.
So, humor can be a communication tool to reduce the
stress and point to common areas of interest.  If the
interviewer offers something humorous, it might also
provide an opening for you to express humor either aimed
at yourself or at a situation.   Use only “clean,” “proven”
jokes or comments.  When in doubt, leave it out.

1 comment
Choice of Graduate School. Concern over same undergraduate and graduate programs
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 3:00 pm

At a recent workshop, a person posed the
following concern:  Does being at the same
university for B. S.
and Ph.D. hurt you?

This question should examine a deeper
exploration into the motivation behind the
decision of the choice of programs.

Several authors in the last few years have
written about understanding the decision
making process.  Jonah Lehrer is one.  If
there is a concern for some employers it
would be about what is the motivation behind
the decision.


For the most part, where you attended
undergraduate school is a side-light to the
skills you acquired, the attitude you displayed
and the problems that you solved in graduate
school.  Two caveats on the positive side are:
if you did senior (or honors) research and were
able to obtain a refereed journal publication
from the work, or
if you had a different major or joint major
at the university than your graduate study,
so that you were exposed to different fields
of study.

“Comfort zone” or Laziness

The issues that would need to be dispelled
during an interview would be that a person
took the “easy way” in choosing the graduate
program.  If they chose a university after
applying for only one, for example.

So, this would be an opportunity to describe
in short story format — S-A-R-I

your decision making.  Give other examples
where you demonstrate that you invite change
and seek new opportunities.

There may be a small set of employers
who believe no matter what a recent graduate
says of this restricted background signals
limited education diversity.

For the most part this will likely quickly
disappear after a couple of years of practical
experience, if the graduate does not post-doc
at the same university.

This is where the light goes into “high-beam
on the path…”

comments (0)
Academic Employment Applications. Research Proposals
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 6:27 am

After a recent workshop a biologist indicated
she was unaware of the need to write detailed
research proposals as part of her application
package for a PUI

The Preparation for life after graduation workshop
briefly covers this in the comparison between
resumes and CVs and in the academic interview
portions.  She sent a question, asking for more details.

She was complimented on following up the
workshop and sincerely asking her question.
It showed she realized the importance of sending
thank you notes and how she could use this
to proactively “grow” her career.

The response was three-fold.  This level of
detail is not usually part of PfLAGS.  Research
proposals are part of ACS workshop programs.
So, she was sent an appropriate power point.

The professional point here is that she should
find professional societies that provide for her
professional needs.  There are many biologists
in the ACS, specifically because of the services
available to members.  Consider joining.

Then, consider attending an ACS conference.
At each national meeting (next one is in Denver)
there is usually a detailed workshop presented
by a proposal reviewer about research proposals.
Now, isn’t that convenient!

Third place, consider speaking with faculty
at her current university and asking if she can
learn about how they deal with the research
proposal process.  Ask to read accepted and
postponed/rejected proposals.  Ask to be part
of proposal writing at an appropriate point in
her graduate studies.  Specifically consider
speaking with recently hired faculty.

On a related topic, at national ACS meetings
attendees can participate and attend poster
sessions the AEI- the academic employment
initiative, where people seeking academic
positions present posters on their work and
meet with a number of faculty members
doing screening interviews for filling faculty

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Questions. Key learning tools
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Leadership, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 7:16 pm

Last week EPSCoR of South Dakota hosted a
workshop.  One of the co-presenters was Lee
Hoffman who holds a post-doctoral position in
the laboratory of Jim Rice at SDSU.

Lee caught my attention in many positive ways
right from the beginning.  A thought you post-docs
(and grad students) out there might learn about
He asked to be part of the workshop program!

When we started the program, he asked to let
him know what we needed and he would be
glad to assist, learn and contribute.  He did
more than that.  He
  - gave a well conceived Experiences as a
Post-doc presentation,
  - was a panelist on an Over-coming Barriers
in your career discussion,
  - interviewed, coached, and solved problems
as they came up, not for credit, not to stand
out, but as a team member serving a larger
and longer lasting good.

Let me tell you a little bit about his panel
discussion.  We all know it is important to
ask questions, good questions, in interviews.
We also know that as interviewees we need
to understand the purpose of questions in
interviews and strategies and tactics in
responding to questions.
Lee talked about how important it is to
learn and reveal an inquisitive mind by
asking good questions.  The audience was
asked– do you have any questions?  A sudden
silence took hold of the room of 6
dozen people.

Then, he told the story of how a former
colleague displayed it all.  At every meeting
they attended, this colleague would always
have that poignant, revealing question of
speaker or panel.  It is important to have
the confidence and savvy to ask that question
that is on your mind.  Don’t hold back!

Fortunately, this discussion happened in
the first half of the first day of a three day
workshop.  It changed the tenor of the rest
of the meeting.

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