This post addresses keywords in resumes.
As we have mentioned when reviewers read resumes there
are three distinct “passes”. The first is the quick assessment
seeking measures specifically matching needs of the organization.
Usually, it is performed in about 5-30 seconds and focuses
on the “resume red zone”, or the middle third of page 1 of the
resume. Keywords matching what is in the job description from
the hiring organization suggests a strong, viable candidate.
The second and third passes also look for keywords in
statements or content that supports the “red zone” [in the
EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE and SKILLS (MS) sections
and provide insight into something special about the candidate
[in the CERTIFICATION and AFFILIATIONS sections].
Keywords included in the EXPERIENCE, EDUCATION
CERTIFICATION and AFFILIATION sections support the
red zone assertions by stating clearly the accomplishments.
Both the action verbs as well as the methods and quantified
outcomes need to be keywords.
An EXPERIENCE section accomplishment statement might be:
- synthesized and purified cis- and trans- isomers of
3,4-didehydrolretinol for analytical standards in melanophore
characterization. [keywords underlined]
EDUCATION keywords include specific degree, field, thesis adviser
and thesis topic or title.
AFFILIATION keywords point to examples of leadership, continuous
learning, military or project dynamics exposure, for example.
A representative example of a technical resume is 1 .
It is quite common these days that resumes and online profiles
are also computer scanned looking for keywords. Here is
also where one needs to be aware of the terms in each field and
their appropriate acronyms. There can be an overuse that needs
to be managed.
Special cases where computational tools are key features
one should find a way to state the software and how the software
was used and implications of the study. These are keyword
Experienced, mid-career professionals need to balance their
use of tools with what the current technical terms are in the
field. Using an out-of-date keyword can be a significant
disadvantage in a resume or cover letter.
There are so many excellent comments to make about an
unbelievable telephone conversation I was a part of the
PR called and asked if I had time to talk. Things were well
with her new position that she recently accepted.
She was calling on behalf of a friend who was with her.
Her friend then picked up the conversation where he was
recently downsized by BIG FIRM B with excellent performance
and great relationships. He had previously worked for
BIG FIRM A, a competitor, and while seeking a position
with A when he moved was not able to transfer, thus taking
a comparable position with B.
BIG FIRM A, however, invited him in for an interview. During
the interview, they indicated that they were quite impressed
and asked if he was currently available to start. He replied that
he was, but wanted to follow though on previous commitments
to interview with BIG FIRM C Company A, pointedly,
asked him not to interview with C and suggested they wanted
to proceed in the hiring process.
He still wants to interview with Company C, to establish a
his value in the market place and learn about C. How can
he do this? he asked.
RESPONSE: This is a challenging situation that one mis-step
or mis-statement might lose a strong employment opportunity.
First, we established what salary and benefits were acceptable.
One benefit that is desired is to immediately “bridge” his
previous service from his previous employment. Pay, benefits
and business tools were expected to be comparable to what
he had when previously employed at A.
Second, plan to interview with company C. Contact them and
confirm all details.
Third, Contact Company A and express strong interest in working
for A. Ask them if they offer a position to have all details in
writing including his desire to have service bridged. Indicate
that with the offer in hand then you could discuss this with
your significant other. It is less than a firm contract without
the offer paper. [Inquire if there was anyone else party to the
If a request comes to not interview with Company C, indicate that
you will consider their request but have them realize that it
might be considered bad business practice to land an interview,
then cancel it to take a position with Company A, if they are
a potential customer.
He was pleased with the input.
A valuable article appears in a recent issue of the Economist
on the Future of Jobs.
It presents an observation (McKinsey Global Institute) that
there are three types of work and that chemical, biological
and engineering disciplines and research are “interactional” .
They rely on knowledge and expertise and collaboration
with others. This type will not go away, be automated or
be offshored, in the future.
The other two types are already and will continue to be in
decline in the US– “transformational” and “transactional“.
Nonetheless, new strategies need to be developed and
new tactics enacted. This is what I observed with PR’s
There is a stronger need for each of us to continually
adapt and upgrade our skills and strengthen our abilities
and knowledge. Lynda Gratton has identified a “serial
mastery” process which the ACS has made serious strides
in meeting for members with it professional development
and technical education program. (see the Economist and
book by Gratton)
In addition, significant social capital and committed networking
will become key in our future. Elements of these are:
1. an expertise “posse” to deal with problems, situation and
2. mechanisms for continual refreshing of new ideas and
technologies [stay up to date]
3. close caring community [emotional stability]
Clearly, PR reflected this by being able to call to intervene on
behalf of her friend with his job search problem.
Every once in a while we receive mailed information
about ACS insurance as members. It allows us
to get more printed material. However, for many,
it is not timed to when we need the information or
the detail for comparisons.
Today there was a webinar that talked about
evaluating your insurance needs and sharing tips
and insights about employer and member programs.
While the rebroadcast will be a useful introduction
Joan van Gelderan recommended calling the Pearl
Insurance carrier 800-752-0179.
Why is this important?
some employers do not provide coverage for the
coverage as a consultant and independent worker
identify gaps in your coverage (life insurance, disability,
medical and prescription drug, credit card balance)
Upgrade or maintaining your benefits when you face
When the podcast becomes available, it will be added
as a comment.
Scientists and engineers might focus on attending only
technical sessions at conferences. I know that was the
approach for my first decade. However, there is a
lot of important work that gets done at conference
exhibitions. Not the least is networking for job
openings and applications
Scenario: Invited to visit a governance, risk and
compliance exhibition in Boston this week to meet
up with my brother. Every one knows exhibitions
are great places to meet up with people while work
is going on or at a conference since there will be free
time, interesting things to learn and people in
Bling (=free hand-outs and gifts) is also available,
as a fun sidelight.
Perspective: While I am not at all involved with
this ‘formal’ field, there are “hooks” from my interests
and background that can be used to get into conversations
with people in the exhibition area.
- Bring your business cards.
- Have plenty of time to wander around and chat.
- Have something to write ideas down on and bring a
carrying case or valese (true, many exhibitions hand them
out; however, some don’t.)
Go in with the idea that you belong and want to meet people
and learn things about their products, businesses, and roles
in the company.
Have a short story about yourself ready to tell.
Just ordered some software from an electronics vendor that
I needed. There was a discount available and free shipping.
Net cost: $0. [Ad cost $60.]
Learned to use youtube much more to solve problems.
Spoke with very knowledgeable technical sales people and
learned a lot about things that I can use.
-how several large firms are using Sharepoint with some
front end software as ELNs [electronic lab notebooks]
-how a lot of firms have developed product and service
niches that create significant business process improvement.
-ideas on my passions, hobbies and problems through
There is a pecking order of people at each booth and
table. Be highly respectful.
If it is near the end of the quarter, some key people will
not be at the meeting. Quarterly business activities
It is always pleasant to get involved in mixers and
cocktail hours. People tend to loosen up and mingle,
if their business needs are met. If someone is alone
at their booth, offer to get something for them.
Oh, yes, got a couple of bling items– flashlight-screw
driver combo, Starbucks free coffee card….
All three of this entry’s topics are remarkable,
but all may not be topical for everyone. One
short blurb though is a millisecond that you
may be able to share with people you know
who would be interested.
Two business articles that impact the technical
arena identify Novartis’s business strategy for
next decade and an intriguing “green card”
John Maxwell’s book about connecting with people
is recommended to be on your reading list. He
introduces it with a “youtube”, really cool.
PATENT TRAP PLANNING FOR a
BIG PHARMA COMPANY
SOURCE: Eva von Shaper, Bloomberg
Businessweek, August 8, 2011, p. 21
A telling business plan portrayal of one
company’s strategy integrating acquired
businesses, patented prescription and
over-the-counter products to offer its employees
and investors confidence for their future.
EVERYONE COMMUNICATES FEW
SOURCE: John C Maxwell, Everyone communicates,
few connect: what the most effective people do
differently, Thomas Nelson, Nashville
Key to networking is connecting with people
to arrive at committed networks. Maxwell writes
about connecting and how to achieve it:
“When I interact with people, whether one on
one as a group,
or with an audience, I know I’ve
connected when I sense:
EXTRA EFFORT -
people go the extra mile
UNSOLICITED APPRECIATION -
they say positive things
UNGUARDED OPENNESS -
they demonstrate trust
INCREASED COMMUNICATION -
they express themselves more readily
ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCES -
they feel good about what they are doing
EMOTIONAL BONDING -
they display a connection on an emotional level
POSITIVE ENERGY -
their emotions are charged by being together
GROWING SYNERGY -
their effectiveness is greater than the sum of
UNCONDITIONAL LOVE -
they are accepting without reservation.”
EB-5 PROGRAM FOR OBTAINING A
SOURCE: Bloomberg BusinessWeek August
8, 2011, p. 49. EB5 Blog
Details about a strategy to obtain a green card
to work in US by funding an American business.
Every once in a while something enters my reading/skimming/
perusing pile that seems like it could be helpful for others.
What can we do in our later years, is a persistent topic
for a growing number of people. We are encouraged to
volunteer, become involved in nonprofits, but try to find
a fully satisfying role that may compensate us can be
E. Olsen wrote a nice piece in NYTimes on routes to
become a teacher in our second or third career.
I especially appreciated the links at the end of the
article describing programs.
We spoke about 21st century skills that are needed
to manage our careers to deal with the 24/7 frenetic
pace and information overload in our first seminar
- workshop discussion. Eight “wise skills” were
offered that each of us needs to develop and
companies look for in successful candidates.
The “wise” skills are differentiated from the “soft” skills
and technical or “hard” skills. Included in the wise
1 recognizing the need to disconnect and recharge
ourselves. We can’t expect to run continuously at
full tilt without burning out at some point. To do this
effectively, we need to develop and coordinate
2 time management routines 2
3 be allies for each other
4 value the importance of face to face communication
5 mentors and sponsors 3
6 reverse mentoring
7 goal setting 4
8 committed networking
Focusing on committed networking, we pointed out
the way “networking” has been trivialized is that it
is information sharing. It seems in the Internet
dominated age as passive with no formal
commitments or common items of work or
collaboration. There seems to be little connection
Networking, to be effective, needs to be more helpful,
more persistent. 5 One needs to be memorable,
provide value and significance. Command
(not demand) attention, but be helpful.
If you know you want to network with someone, you
don’t settle for “no”. This does not signal the end, it
reveals, “not now” or “not in the present form”.
Repackage and try again, not taking the negative
You can peruse a recent article that addresses the interviewing
continuum which indicates the “big picture” and that all phases
of the interview process require rehearsing, planning and
understanding our actions and responses.
In the article it states that many of the interview questions can be
predicted. Please note typical “interview questions” in the
blogroll. The WSJ noted what I observed in mock
interviews this year in Denver, Chamberland, SD, Buffalo,
NY, Anaheim, Pittsburgh, Palm Springs and other places in
a “What not to say in a job interview.“ [Kelly Eggers
Let me build on some of the comments:
Question: Tell me a little about yourself…
Your response is “off the mark” if you tell about your family life
as a youngster, your second grade or high school teacher or
your birth chronology.
Ask for clarification of what the interviewer seeks, then
speak to relevance related to the job and your suitability
for working there.
If you start off wrong, correct your comments quickly.
Question: Why do you wish to leave your current position?
It is easy for new grads or post-docs, but mid-career people need
to reflect on their personal goals, the positive attributes of the
company being interviewed and not offering shallow,
negative comments about your current employer.
Avoid pay, location and benefits, unless you are moving from
part-time to full-time or short term to permanent.
In general– clarify, clarify.
We can gain a lot from national meetings– positive
and ‘comparative’ (that is another way of saying negative,
just like the common term “areas for improvement”).
NatureChemistry did offer a free copy that was informative
at least for an article by Keith Watson (Dow
Chemical, free online for the month of September),
entitled “The changing landscape of careers in the
Dr. Watson offered four trends and three tips on how
he would advise people who desire to be in the large
chemical company industry field can thrive.
variation of cost and supply of feedstocks (he lists
predominantly petrochemicals, but I might add
water and rare earth elements), underlining variation
focus on specialty chemicals production (this has
been the case for several decades) however, the chemical
structures (less toxic) and means by which they are made
(green chemistry methods) continually shifts, doesn’t remain
fracturing of centralized R&D into segments closer
to business areas/production facilities (this too has
been the case for a couple of decades)
globalization of facilities closer to where the markets
are (this keeps on changing).
Dr. Watson includes an undertone in his article relating
to shorter product life cycles and the need for faster
development of processes.
With these trends in the larger companies he observes
that developing a range of skills is advantageous and
excellent oral and written communication skills,
knack for business processes and negotiations, and
management of projects (both completing critical
ones and ending unsuccessful ones quickly at low
While one or two of the trends and tips have been
debated, this perspective and his suggestions on
how to demonstrate are worth serious consideration
when applying for large chemical companies, like
Dow, BASF, Bayer, duPont, Monsanto, GE and…
The meeting is over.
- Travel is complete (including a
return to the airport to pick up a billfold that somehow
slipped out of my pocket at the airport. Only business
cards, library cards and rapid rewards cards in it….
USAirlines was impressive in the way they dealt with
this small problem.).
- Expense forms filled out and ready to be submitted
(including a short cover letter).
Now, is the time to consider key folks I met who I
wish to network with.
- Who did I meet?
- Who sent me LinkedIn.com invitations and thank
- Who did I spend time with or have good experiences
Attendance at the meeting was a little different. (1) The
meeting was in Denver, a first. (2) Hurricane Irene hit
travel plans. So there were accommodations that had
to be made. See 1 .
(3) There were virtual events, both at the meeting with
career services (don’t forget to send thank you’s) and
after the meeting (a number of presentations may be made
available– so look in C&EN and the web-site). More on
the future of this trend 2 .
THINGS TO DO
Respond to LinkedIn.com invitations promptly.
If you have not paid much attention to your profile page,
this may be a good time to upgrade it. A number of proteges
I spoke with did not advance their professional image by
their LinkedIn.com profile page, as they were unaware of its
importance as a PR document.
Send cordial ‘thank you’ notes. Surprise someone with
one when they might least expect it…
Remember some promises for sending items to colleagues.
It is worth your while to spend an hour doing this post
meeting networking. It may not pay off right away, but
it will long-term. Professional associations are worthwhile.
Met with over three dozen people in resume
reviews and mock interviews (where I see their
resume) at the Denver meeting.
Members gave me insight into two concepts
that I need to thank them for: style elements
and power words.
One member commented to me that she understood
my comment to her about not using italics (except
where nomenclature indicates) and using bold,
caps and underline on the same word in her
resume. She pointed out she learned that when
one uses more than three elements of style
it makes readers sense that it is too busy, thus
making it hard to read.
(bold, underline, caps, font size, font)
She provided a term for something we have observed.
A second person “got it” when it was pointed out
that his resume’s HIGHLIGHTS section and
EXPERIENCE section should have defined
- expertise in…
- skilled in…
- experienced in…
lead with an action verb that describe accomplishments.
He remarked that these are “power words” that provide
organization. Allison Doyle lists these in a post that
is instructive to view if you are not familiar.
Similarly, one’s cover letter can be guided not having
more than three text style elements and using power
words to express ideas to motivate the reader to want
to view the resume that is attached.
One of the chemical professionals who met with me in Denver
was a student who remembered I mentioned to her to come
and see me at the meeting and we can do some “faceting”
together. What is faceting? It is accompanying a mentor and seeing,
learning and then doing networking. It allows you to see another
dimension of a person that you know in a specific context.
So, a student from a class can join me at a meeting as we
engage in conversations in an exhibition hall.
When DM came, it was a great time for me. I wanted to
attend an awards ceremony in a ‘close-by’ hotel but had been
heavily “booked” with clients all day. It did not look like I
would be able to attend, since I wanted to congratulate several
of the award winners. DM gave me the chance since she
signed up to meet with me. So we walked over to the hotel
and went from floor to floor, and one big meeting space and
lounge to another. As we went, I kept courteously asking for
As we walked (in comfortable shoes, I might add), we had a
continuing casual conversation. Clearly, if there was a barrier
or shyness at the beginning, it was gone by the time we entered
the awards ceremony room. We must have spoken to a dozen
people in the process of getting there.
We stood in the back of the room, having arrived 15 minutes late
and observed several presentations till the conclusion. Then,
there was a professional reception. We both diffused through
the receding audience looking for one person we both wanted
to congratulate. In the process, I had the pleasure of greeting
several awardees. Exactly what I wished.
Neither DM nor I found the person we were looking for. So,
we politely asked an award winner if he was there. In fact,
the professor knew him and was a professional competitor
of his (UCONN vs. UMASS). He was not in attendance.
That is why we missed him. We had a cordial conversation
All was not lost, yet I felt we should facet a little more. We
had explored an event at the national meeting and obtained
a result, but it was not as good as I hoped.
So we returned to the location of our meeting. Right next
store in the meeting space was the exhibition area. We could
do more faceting here as we engaged several exhibitors
learning about their products, meeting them and exchanging
business cards. We enjoyed small snacks that are now
offered during exhibition afternoons.
Clearly, you have to be daring and be willing to go up to
people you do not know and start a conversation.
You should also know that I intentionally facet with
colleagues to improve my networking, meet new people
and learn new skills. I attendied several receptions I would
not normally join– a diversity reception, a grad student and
post-doc reception and the AEI where I must say I enjoyed
seeing people I knew and met a whole new group of people.
In fact, I have received four or five emails from people
I met this way since the meeting.
Want to improve your networking skills? Review this
Caltech handout and ‘facet’ with someone.
Met with a fascinating fellow on Sunday at the
Denver career fair, who asked if we could follow
up the next day with a second meeting. It was
the first time this has happened to me.
“Root”, let us call him, is an engaging fellow who
wished to explore in conversation how one goes
about becoming a leader. It usually happens
by successfully accomplishing assignments on
time and within budgets at ever increasing levels
Unless one joins a new firm or forms one it is
usual one does not begin their first position after
their Ph.D. as a leader.
1. One should also seek out mentors and sponsors.
Where mentors are commonly sought to assist us
in growing in our career; sponsors more often
choose their proteges for future roles.
2. Our conversation moved on to the role scientists
play in venture capital firms. “Root” was
interested in now getting some business
experience. He wanted to gain personal
insight whether he was passionate about the
business side by getting a position that exposes
him while adding value to the employer. “Root”
was intrigued by this and noted that there were
some booths in the Exhibition manned by
VCs that he could explore.
S. Houlton authored an informative piece
on how scientists can enter into venture capital.
She nicely outlines different roles and suggests
- why a chemist is well suited for roles [addressing
the science and exploring questions in due
- behaviors [analytical thinking and mathematical
that are attractive.
A place that google search came up with is a
recruiting firm that seeks out venture capital
talent. Please recall that searches yield most
popular [and enhanced by SEO] not necessarily
the most important or valuable.