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

October 2011
« Sep   Nov »
Chemistry. Becoming a “networked science” to solve problems and innovate
Filed under: Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:49 am

As readers perceive, peeking into the future and
learning from trends in other fields and applying
them to chemistry and chemists seeking
and managing their career is a
primary interest of this blog.

Michael Nielsen is a quantum physicist who has
explored how networks amplify our knowledge.
He has written about networking tools connecting
the right people at the right time to problems,
“activating what would otherwise be latent

We write about how important networking is
in finding and landing positions and managing
our careers.  Profoundly, Nielsen believes that
networking has the potential to speed up and
chain-reacting the application of useful ideas
to unexpected areas.

We believe this is another form that can be
“eyed” to make breakthroughs much as
prizes.  [as mentioned in Tim Harford’s “Adapt”]

It should be no secret that not all problems
can have open access information or wikis or
‘publicly financed’ experimental data be the
key piece that solves the puzzle.  The
suggestion is that this is another thinking
tool in our tool-kit.  1   2   3   4 
Use networking in outside-of-the-box kinds
of ways, like ‘Levy flights’ in searches….

USAJobs Test
Filed under: Position Searching, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:00 pm

Today’s WSJ editorial page reported
having problems meeting search requests.  So, I
conducted a search myself and turned up “zero”
hits.  The website does not seem to be functioning.

Director John Barry is reported to have added
3 weeks to meet application deadlines.  It would be
better to have a functioning website.

From a reputable source
 - Research Associateship Program

 - Government post doc and research in sciences

1 comment
Interviewing follow-up.
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 9:02 am

Reading B. Safani’s blog entry on interview follow-up
tips and working with several ACS members’ interviews
has gotten me to think about positive follow-up activities.

In a grad student blog document, the value of thank
you notes was reinforced.  In addition, Safani’s blog
adds asking about the interview timeline and staying in
touch with the interviewer and company contacts.

A targeted response to specific interviewers who asked
specific questions, offering them more complete or
revised follow-up with detail showing that the discussion
was recalled and felt important to you.  [Emphasis:
Attention to detail]

More then 70% of what we communicate is through
nonverbals.  So, express confidence and interest in the
position by displaying strong purposeful body language
at the closing of each interview– handshake, collecting
formal addresses for communication, and seeking win-win

Have a CTS or company tracking system where you record
interview information, experiences and observations.  Be
aware of company culture and collect relevant information
on your continuing learning process about the company.
Have this company remain on your “information collection
radar screen.”

1 comment
On-line Portraits. LinkedIn profile presence
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 8:29 am

As soon as I read the article by C. Lu-Lien Tan, I
checked back to my profile to confirm
it was as Nicole Williams recommends.

WSJ 10-20-11, p. D6, “The art of Online Portraiture”

Please consider posting an image of you alone
reflecting the norms of the profession you are in
or aspire to.
Ms. Williams recommends:
 - being caught in the moment
 - presenting good posture, with a smile and open
eyes, indicating confidence and competence.
 - in a wardrobe fitting for the technical field.

LinkedIn offers that a page is 7 times more likely
to be viewed if it contains an image presenting
an authentic view of you.  [C. Lu-Lien Tan article]

Innovation in Chemistry. Oil skimmer quantum jump
Filed under: Position Searching, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:34 am

The proof of the concept that prizes for innovating
in solving key technology problems
works is shown
by Elastec/American Marine winning an X-prize
award for developing a remarkable oil spill technology
to separate and recover crude and refined product
from water borne spills.

An NPR brief reported on it Wed. 10-19 that it
was inspired by the X-Prize Foundation.
Kudos to Wendy Schmidt.  ACS should be sponsoring
innovation like this that
   enhances chemistry as an important science for humans,
   strengthens the public perception of chemistry and
   provides productive job growth.

Elastec was inspired by a gauntlet thrown down by the X Prize
Foundation, which organizes privately funded competitions to spur
technological advancement. It’s known for awarding a $10 million prize
in 2004 to build a privately funded spacecraft.

comments (0)
Giving Presentations. Confidence and Nervousness
Filed under: Interviewing, Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 9:48 am

This week’s seminar-workshop topics included confidence
and giving presentations.  We invited several students to
present the beginning of presentations and posters and created
artificial problems.  We then discussed how to work through
the situations, including audience analysis, body language signals
we give and receive, eye contact, audience engagement and
back up plans.

Technical presentations are a key way we demonstrate our
knowledge and skills.  It is hard to recover from a weak or
poor performance.

We showed how knowing what to do when things go wrong or
are unexpected is a confidence builder.  One follow up question
came, though:  How do I remove or relieve my nervousness in
giving presentations?

We talked about totally removing nervousness as not really
ever happening even for the most experienced presenters.  In
fact it is a good thing.  There is level of pressure inducing anxiety
that can set in going from nervousness with higher pressure to
perform. We see it in excellent athletes in competition.

We need to recognize it and understand that there are things
we can do to manage the tension

Interestingly, I spoke with S. Geddes-Beeching about this
and she provide a terrific reference [listed in comments section]
that led to a helpful link to the work of Hamilton Gregory,
Public speaking for college and career.

Public speaking phobias are among our highest rated fears
and he recommends that they can be managed.  To do so, get
help.  If the reading and exercises he recommends are not
enough seek out others with whom you can work.

1.  identify and confront your worst case scenarios
2.  develop your action plans, props and create a nervousness
3.  practice your tactic confidently, paying attention to the
audience getting your ideas not focusing on the phobias,
as they will hardly notice.

1 comment
Watch-outs 30. Internet presence in job search, Dealing with being hacked, and ionic polymers
Filed under: Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 5:07 pm

Information reinforcing contributions in
this blog like the importance of your internet
presence in job searches.  Dealing with
identity theft as individuals is something we
should know something about and a
popularized piece about ionic polymers
are shared in this post.

SOURCE:  WSJ 9-26-11 P. B9
J. Bennett, “Experts offer tips on how to land a
job in a more demanding market.”
Recruiters and companies use social media
to screen candidates;  Linkedin, by 95%….
In your profile include keywords, links to show
you are a subject area expert, like blogs,
publications, memberships and leadership.

Research companies:  understand the job
description, indicate your flexibility, and
reveal some of your personal interests and

SOURCE:  B. Worthen, WSJ, 9-26-11, p. R3.
What to do if you’ve been hacked
Terrific tips are offered in a strong piece about
situations we do not wish on anyone– being
Information lists suggestions for plans, training
for employees and dealing with customers.
Info like:  if you suspect you have been hacked–
don’t unplug.  Call in experts.  Keep a record and
a chain of custody.   Find out what was taken and
get advice on legal issues in dealing with all

SOURCE:  The Economist, 9-3-11, p. 23.
Muscling in on motors
Citing Australian and American innovators,
this article highlights application of polymer
chemistry combined in a number of different
ways in space and robots.

comments (0)
Interviewing preparation.
Filed under: Interviewing
Posted by: site admin @ 5:08 pm

We met by chance at a Hartford workshop a couple
of years ago. EO contacted me recently about preparing
for an upcoming interview this week.  We talked about
a number of things.  Highlights from five are provided.

1.  What is the job description?  What is EO applying for
so that she can show how (s)he meets and exceeds
the qualification musts and wants?  EO did not know.
Until just last night, (s)he discovered a recent job listing on
the company website that closely matches the skills and
most experiences this recent Ph.D has achieved.
EO can plan to devise her responses to questions with a
keen eye on this published inorganic chemistry position.

If the job description does not come up in the discussion,
then a copy of the document can be made and used to
provide a response to one of several kinds of questions, like:
   - what is your ideal position you seek now?
   - What kind of a position do you see yourself fitting? 
   - Why should we want to hire you? 
EO can use the document as a case for which (s)he fits.
Very nice research that also reveals curiosity and problem
solving skills.

2.  What is the interview day going to be like?  What should (s)he
be prepared for? 
They asked EO to come the night before and be picked up at
a hotel nearby at 8am.  The interview will include an hour
technical presentation, lunch and a dinner meeting.
Who will attend the technical presentation?
Who will (s)he interview with[Are they in
Do people in your network know them?]
These are fair questions to ask the host this afternoon, showing
a strong desire to interview well.  In addition, avoid  going over
the alotted time in the technical presentation. A good technical
presentation can alot about 2 minutes to each content rich slide
(but not too overloaded– see blog entries on presentations!) 
Have a hard copy of slides with you so that you can refer to
them and use them in case of emergency.

Expect this to be a long day.  Don’t expect a break between
interviews and dinner. 

3.  Find good opportunities to visit the rest room to be comfortable
and make sure the person in the mirror looks like you want.
If you need a nutrition bar, have it in your purse.

Consider including safety shoes and safety glasses in your
carry along (or purse) for they may provide a tour.  It is
common on many technical interviews.

4.  Bring with you.  Have a couple of hundred dollars, extra
copies of your resume, list of references, list of publications,
cell phone, thumb drive with your talk files and pertinent
telephone numbers
in case of unexpected events. 
Save all receipts as they will be needed for reimbursement.

5.  As for the types of questions you might expect consider
looking at behavioral based ones, given in this site’s

This is an exciting experience.