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

January 2012
« Dec   Feb »
Federal government. Internship programs for undergrads, grads and post-docs
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 8:07 am

As mentioned previously, B. Bohnet of
provided valuable career information at a recent
ACS consultants’ meeting.  This post highlights
internship programs in government.

Please refer back to a previous post for key
suggestions on resume writing for government

   STEP [student temporary employment program]
     -shorter term [e.g., 3 months] in specific agencies
     -look in specific agencies of government [e.g., FDA,
NIH, FBI, Commerce, Agriculture, etc.]
      -position does not need to be in your major
      -position is not necessarily in system,
nor does the application process go through

    SCEP [student career experience program]
       -special agreement with each university to announce
       -where you are hired into agency to obtain experience
in a particular field

         -must be a US citizen
         -fellows are offered management positions and
need to demonstrate management skills, abilities and

          -successful applicants need to be within two
years of completing their degree [background]
           -don’t know if federal agencies will be best
contact for this or it will be outsourced to contract
agency like TMP.  Consider contacting B. Bohnet

A relevant power point on how to apply for federal
government positions
reinforces tips and fills
information gaps.  It is a must read if you wish
to pursue government temporary or permanent

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On-line reputation. More than just Page-Rank
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 12:44 pm

The proliferation and confounding of
Facebooks, twitter, professional society social
media,, emails with photoIDs and
other sites with search engine optimization,
pay-by-the-click marketing, Phishers and
scammers makes our online reputation
management an item of more than just awareness. 

Reputation, as Holly Finn has written, was “once
a qualitative measure of our behavior.”  We
need to be active in controlling and monitoring
our PR, market kred (you are the brand ‘you, inc.’)
and online presence. 

As we know Google and other companies apply
analytical elements and algorithms to capture either
intentional actions or total actions and deliver
your behavior, such as it is, to a pagerank score. 
More serious involvement like displayed every week
in the TV series “Person of Interest” suggests
our tracks can be merged both for good and

Even little things can yield negative impressions
to “screeners.”  I received an email on gmail
recently where a person’s image (chosen by the
person) was displayed.  The pose was while
dancing and the smiling person displayed a hand
gesture that could be interpreted in the wrong way. 

1 comment
References for mid-career professionals
Filed under: Interviewing, Networking, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:09 pm

Please let me bring to your attention a nice article by
Alison Green.

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Federal government. Tips on finding positions and drafting resumes
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Technicians, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 10:37 am

One of the outstanding things about the ACS Career
consultants program is the wisdom of training
programs that keep us informed and updated on
trends.  This happened last weekend in Ft. Worth.

The first nuggets of golden information was on
Federal government employment.  B. Bohnet of told about the “government
tsunami” that is about the strike as mission critical
occupation holders leave federal employment
leaving openings.

There is an art to searching for positions in government
service.  L. Roberson (NASA) reinforced the notion
to (1) initiate your search with broad terms, like physical
scientist or biological scientist, and narrow terms down.

(2) Develop a strategy, learn from others’ approaches and
(3) save your search terms for re-use.

(4) Plan to search weekly.  Announcements come out weekly
submission windows close on Fridays.
(5) Continuously learn in this process.  There are noteworthy
webinars and presentations in specific cities and websites.

(1) Applications are rated on a point system.  Top point
getters get the interviews for positions.
(2) Note several classes of people receive special points–
disabled, vets, peace corp,

(3) Input offered was to use the keywords given in the
job description.  The exact keywords.
(4) Organize your resumes so that you have a master resume
and targeted resumes for different positions and save them.
Check back regularly.

Future posts will provide more information about this
outstanding program.

1 comment
Watch-outs. 33. Online reputation, Inheritable IRAs, and Green energy technology assessments
Filed under: Position Searching, Mentoring, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 3:33 pm

On-line reputation, Heiring and inheriting
IRAs and thumbnail sketches of non-
petroleum energy production technologies
are things pointed out in this entry.

SOURCE:  H. Finn, WSJ  1-14-12, “How
Google & Co. will rule your rep
“  Holly
points out that reputation is a qualitative
measure of our behavior.  Google and other
firms are going steps further by quantifying
reputation scores.  This trend is permeating
people, places and industries.
This article is an alert to be watchful about
maintaining your online persona.

A. Lincoln:  Character is like a tree and
reputation like a shadow.  The shadow is what
we think of, the tree is the real thing..

SOURCE:  K. Greene,WSJ  IRA heirs do’s and dont’s;
K. Greene WSJ  Pitfalls of inherited IRAS
The first offers a plan for giving also do’s and don’ts
and is helpful.  IRS has convoluted rules that the
second article points out.
Both articles provide tips of IRA investing.

SOURCE:  Wired, Feb. 2012, p 108-9
Power struggles
Very insightful panel covering two pages
offering the promise, reality and outlook of
8 technologies.  Very insightful statements for 2012.

1 comment
Organizational Culture. What is it and how important is it for employees?
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Leadership
Posted by: site admin @ 5:13 pm

One of the things that excellent workshops bring up
and pay attention to for job seekers is the company

How do things get done around here? 
What is considered important? 
Should I be at every meeting or some specific meetings?
How do things get communicated?  Can there be
What does the CEO pay attention to first– stockholders,
customers, investors, competition, employees, retirees,
even himself?

Many things spill down intentionally, unintentionally and
inadvertently (through inaction), from the wishes, actions
and words of the leadership group.

Reading L. Roney’s article on company culture, I
thought back to many people who I have worked with
and can only recall a handful who examined this factor
carefully.  Two people I know quite well are in positions
after careful consideration and are enjoying their careers,
to the point of calling me to tell what they are doing.
They like their careers so much.  In both cases, this is not their
first position.  They had to do personal soul searching
to figure out what their passions were and gain confidence
to deal with whatever comes their way.  Much is unpredictable.

I believe the Meridian Group offers some insight into
a number of features of corporate culture.  Even there,
I missed a couple in my reading of their site and 
resources.  For example, the customer or customer
interactions, government interactions and regulation and
the competition are not levels of culture in their paradigm.

So if you are interested in the culture of an institution,
consider attending a First year on the job seminar or
Preparation for Life After Graduate School workshop.
It will be illuminating.  [Toronto had one recently.]

1 comment
Recruiters. Should you pay a fee?
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 11:44 am

A colleague and trusted consulting friend, Lisa, asked me
about a ‘recruiter’ arrangement that she was not familiar.


She asked:  “Do you have any experience with [recruiting firm
name withheld]?  I have not.  Apparently, they charge you to see
their listings, but then they ‘guarantee’ to find you a job?
It sounds a bit shady to me…”

Every once in a while a question about working with
recruiters comes up.  See  1  for a specific situation
where a member was invited for a second interview with
a firm, where the first one was facilitated by a recruiter.

My response to Lisa expressed no experience with
the specific firm, however I did have several thoughts
and experiences with paid recruiter services that were
of value to members.

A paid recruiting service might not be my first choice
for a recent graduate without much work history. Although
some firms have downsized their staffing and HR departments
and may use a recruiting company to screen and service
this critical role.  It is not standard practice to charge job
seekers, at this point.

There are circumstances, I shared with Lisa, where paid
recruiting service by a job seeker may be a viable route.
  -  experienced professional out of work for a while
  -  experienced professional trying to locate a position
in a different country or continent
  -  experienced professional who needed to find a position
quickly due to family circumstances
  -  professional with a troubled work history (fired for cause)
or personal life (felony violation)

The job seeker should seriously consider using a formal
contract with deliverables and time lines that is reviewed by
legal counsel.

A client, who was dissatisfied in his current position asked if
he should work with a paid recruiter who would provide job
leads and make introductions for him.  He sought out the recruiters
help, paid the fees, and in short order received more than what he
expected.  Not only did he make contacts, interview and receive
interesting job offers, he was approached by his current employer
to entertain improving his assignment. 

He negotiated for being able to have a more interesting position
with the same company and be able to consult with several of the
companies he made contact with.

He took a prudent risk that worked for him, at least for the short

1 comment
Innovation in Chemistry. Open Innovation Pavillion
Filed under: Position Searching, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 1:18 pm

We mentioned crowd sourcing via contests and prizes
 earlier as a means of encouraging innovation.  The
X-Prize foundation awarded a large grant for oil
skimming technology to Elastec.

If this is something you are interested in participating
in Nature Chemistry lists an Open Innovation
offering many competitions.  This might
be just what it takes for mature scientists and
engineers to apply their ideas and experiences for
the greater good.

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Values. Secret lives of scientists
Filed under: Position Searching, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 9:07 am

When we meet with job seekers and people interested in
developing their careers, one of the key messages involves
doing a self assessment so you can choose to work on
something you care for, are good at and will be happy doing.

Figure out what is important to you.  Determine your key
values, interests and how you might pursue them in your

That is factually true.  It gets me to thinking how can I make
this more real.  PBS/Nova has done this nicely.
So this blog post is a break from story telling, incidents
and factoids with recommendations.

I viewed a number of totally engrossing short episodes that I
encourage readers to click on in the Secret Life of Scientists
and Engineers

  Eva Vertes - a cancer researcher and a runner, like me

  Michio Kaku - theory of everything physicist and figure
skater (His books are terrific reading.)

  Katherine Hayhoe - a climate scientist and practicing Christian

  Gavin Smith - a climatologist and juggler

  Molly Woodworth - a neuroscientist and cheerleader (I loved
her mathematical MIT cheer!)

  Rich Robinson - a nanoscientist and a portrait photographer

  Erika Ebbel - a biologist and beauty pageant winner

  Laurie Santos - an experimental psychologist and photographer
and many other engineers and scientists.

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Research Proposals for Academic Packages
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 9:36 am

One of the topics only briefly covered in career management
offerings for academic positions is what to include in your
research proposals.  It is part of every academic employment
application package for research-intensive and principally-
undergraduate institutions.  I have even seen it referred to
in community colleges, in relation to technical education
methods and experiments.

Recently I have been working on a proposal that is shaping
up nicely.  The author has identified a high interest area
of cutting edge research for a research intensive institution.
(note:  it will be challenging to conduct cutting edge
research at a PUI.)  She has provided a good background
and short and medium term research plans and a longer
range view where she sees her research moving.

Not all proposals are the same or need to be cut from the
same pattern.  Some additional considerations could be offered
(A colleague and friend, Rich Bretz, shared his insight
which he uses in academic job search workshops.)

  1.  resources needed to begin and conduct the research
[personnel, facilities, institutional support, other support]
  2.  potential funding sources [if you have written drafts,
consider including them.]

  3.  start up equipment and funding [office and laboratory
space, computers, software, equipment, furniture and facilities,
supplies;  range $0 - 1.5M]

  4.  make your proposal case with a sense of urgency,
indicating you are the best qualified to conduct the work
and have working collaborations with leaders

  5.  point out how the research will train both undergraduate
and graduate students as independent and productive
researchers;  how will the group be organized [it does not
self organize]

  6.  demonstrate your originality, differentiate your
approaches from competitors

  7.  identify your first experiments;  what is the ultimate
research group size, agency for first proposal, publication

  8.  share the proposal with your references, seeking their
input and advice

  9.  seek the fit of your research with other members of
the  faculty;  potential collaborations

Linkedin. Continual improvements
Filed under: Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:03 pm

How many times do we say your online presence is
important, yet face to face interactions are how we
interview and, bottom line, earn a position for which
we interview?  Then, I say here are some considerations
for your online presence   .

The reason is simple.  Online is both newer and
in a continuous improvement mode.

People who meet us for the first time, every time
we jointly attend a meeting, or consider us for an
appointment or a position, will seek out our online

It is not the deciding factor, in most cases.  It is
almost one that is our “entrance ticket” for
consideration, or “continuing interest for
‘further consideration.’

So when I come upon a couple of ideas worth
sharing I post them.  While I am not a big fan
of the personal branding initiative of Dan Schwabel
I do note there are very good ideas for scientists
and engineers presenting themselves.  In his 2010
book on ‘Building your future,’ he offers, in addition
to what we have mentioned in previous posts–

   - high quality image on your profile
   - list of your projects or list of your publications
using industry keywords
   - share your expertise, even dating back longer
than five years
   - provide information revealing your passions
and involvement
  showing your uniqueness.

three specific improvements.  Schwabel consistently
points out that we need to develop our networks
before we need them. 
  1.  In our profiles, place industry keywords
strategically throughout. 
  2.  In our headline, consider listing the position
you want rather than the current role.
  3.  Instead of a generic website or blog, list in your
profile the specific blog or the subject matter
content of the blog.  [It is allowed in,
I just did it.]

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