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

July 2012
« Jun   Aug »
CV Heading. Thoughts, Strategies and Tactics
Filed under: Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 12:49 pm

Do you list your current affiliation in your CV heading?
Do you put all letters in caps and bold your name, with
your highest degree?
Do you use a line or decorative treatment below the
heading, separating it from the body of the document?
Do you say CV or Curriculum Vitae or Vita?

These are curious questions that have been posed
either through members using them in their CV or
asking for correctness.  First is last.  The correct term
is Curriculum Vitae, or the ‘course of one’s life’.  Thus,
we use the genitive of life, vitae.  The term is also in
the singular, for academics, as it would be curricula
in the plural.
However, the recommended practice is not to write
CV at the top of your document.

Each of the other three questions has NO as the
recommended response.

Place your residential street address normally in
your heading.  Your name should be prominent but
not in ALL CAPS in your heading.  It can be a larger font
yet the same font as the rest of the document.  Bold is
fine, yet refrain from underlining.  It is acceptable to
list your highest degree, especially if that is what is
sought in the job description.

Because of the different software programs that
are used, it is recommended to not use a decorative
line below the heading
.  It may not be recognized just
as you intend…

Common practice in the US uses the CV for
academic applications and some government
laboratory applications.  Use the name that you
prefer to go by.  If the name is not common for
Americans consider giving a hint to its pronunciation.

Your phone number should include area code
but avoid parentheses, as we need it when dialing
in many cases. 

Your email address should be listed.  Use one
that you check frequently and is a professional
appearing appellation.

You should list in your heading a webpage or
LinkedIn profile
that you have so that interested
reviewers can obtain more detailed information
about you and obtain correlative information
that they would seek in a search.  You are helping
them go to the exact person.

While I have seen headings being placed on
either side of the top of the page, it seems best
when centered and not part of a “header” for the
document.  Each subsequent page should have your
name either at the top or bottom with page number.

Logo of an affiliation– no.
More than one phone– no.
Photo– no.
“confidential” — no.

comments (0)
07/26/12 Emerging Tool for Scientific Research
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:27 pm

Don’t miss the broadcast –” and the Evolution
of Peer Review” interview of Richard Price. is an emerging tool that will become
significant first in industries that can pay for specific
services.  I bet that if ACS does not move into this area,
it could be overtaken.

Very compelling “open source” direction with an
evolution of crowd and social reviews discussed.
It is trying to find more open ways of moving science
forward using:
  - instant distribution of results and conclusions
  - use of easier-to-share “rich media
  - needs to develop a ‘credit for on line publication;’ right
now there is limited or no incentives for authors.

Richard Rice founded as a platform for
academics around the world to connect and share
research results.
Site has over a million monthly visitors and a thousand
academics enlist daily.

comments (0)
Deferred, Not Rejected
Filed under: Position Searching
Posted by: site admin @ 11:19 am

Can’t tell you how much I appreciated the
Maria Brophy Blog on eliminating “rejection”
from our vocabulary.

Every “no” is temporary.  Better timing will
make it a “yes”.  Tame your mind to look for
significant satisfiers that fulfill your purpose.

1 comment
Make a Difference. Reviews and Screens. Paper world and Digital world
Filed under: Mentoring, First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 10:59 am

Our daughter and I spoke today about
a performance review conversation she
had with her supervisor.  She works an
off-shift in a life-critical role, and was
faced with hearing a performance issue
brought up for the second time within a
short period.

It bothered her.  It usually bothers most people.
What can she do?

We talked through documenting a letter to Files
(her personnel file) stating specifically with dates
and circumstances, (required) meeting
announcement proposed, her immediate actions
(not able to attend, out of town, reschedule
attempt, dates)  follow-up actions and outcomes
(she attended the subsequent meeting).
This was reviewed on two performance review

There could be extenuating circumstances for
having two performance meetings.  But it felt
better to clarify the circumstances.
These are high stress times for all employees.
It is important to note that crucial conversations
like these happen and should be dealt with

Crucial conversations are needed for
  - opposing opinions
  - strong emotions
  - high stakes.
[All three felt touched on in this circumstance.]

They need to be dealt with using dignity, humanity
and generosity revealing honesty and integrity.
This approach can work with the older paper
based system.   What is done with our evolving
on line, highly networked system?  It is a
challenge that we are still developing win-win

In the online, networked world, information is
available 24/7.  So often where we are present
in the online world is also searched and used for
screening, where your profile, the quality of
your contributions and your style and goals
are examined.

Your digital footprint reveals so much more–
your communication, your contribution, your
savvy, your credibility, your accessibility.

  - Tout your benefits and outcomes
  - Give a few highlights, accomplishments and

comments (0)
More on Business focused Resumes
Filed under: Public Relations docs, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 1:40 pm

Recently, two very qualified knowledge workers came
expressing interest in project management and business
development positions for well known firms.  Each supplied
more traditional technical knowledge-worker documents
which may not ‘fit the bill’ for these business management
positions, although their strengths and interests may be
quite useful in these roles.

This entry points out five features that I gleaned by
studying excellent business resumes compiled by a
google search
.  [Specific examples:  Note row 1, col 2
and row 1, col 6]

1.  The second section, the one following the heading, is
often either Summary of Qualifications or Profile, which
is commonly in either bullet-ted or a short paragraph
of keyword-containing phrases (keywords underlined
in the following examples)
  bi-lingual leader who performs well in multinational
  adept at managing all phases of project life cycle from
needs assessment through implementation.
  skilled at using CRM (customer relations management)
and data management tools (statistics and summaries).
  “results-oriented” sales and development
  “ability to leverage skills and capabilities“….  [Multiple
use dimension]

2.  Experience section.  Core competencies for
business management positions includes, but is not
limited to (look for keywords in the job description):
- program and project management (note specific
software is often used and or specified)
- business case development
- strategic planning
- process re-engineering
- performance metrics and definitions
- risk management
- change management
- CRM program management
- negotiation

3.  Interesting structure of the Experience section lists
Title                                         Years (from, to)
Responsibilities:  like co-manage… and support…
Key accomplishments:  like planned, designed, developed
and led…
Again, it is significant to incorporate keywords into this

4.  One intriguing Experience section contained division
of Professional experience between Sales, Customer Service
and Development.  (There could be other elements of

5.  Experience section “action verbs” of accomplishment
include:  implemented, streamlined, constructed a model of…,
generated market initiatives, etc.

An example section also listed Employment history providing

This note supplements the previous note on business focused

1 comment
Power of Habit. Career Discussions with a friend
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 4:47 pm

We have been friends for more than a couple of decades.
It started as employees in different divisions with common
technical interests.  We had problems in manufacturing and
she knew technical methods in electrochemistry that could
shed light on our high value, critical product for film

As time went on we found ways to help each other, occasionally
meet and have regular, keep-each-other-up-to-date conversations.
We were both active in technical societies and helped each
other there as well, leading to several programs on the local

She contacted me recently seeking advice.  In the process
of our conversation, old habits, and other people’s reactions
to them, were revealed.  These ‘old habits’ were nonverbal
actions and unintended behaviors of lower self esteem that
gave others the “green light” to make slight of her contributions
and ideas.  Being from a different division and more interested
in results than in “status” and “ownership of ideas”, I
looked beyond the old habits.

People in her work area and division, did not look passed

So, I pointed out that she had demonstrated without
a doubt in her most recent two positions over the last
two years that removing the “yoke” of the old habit [low
self assurance, self deprecation] had given her new
recognition and status.  That she indeed did earn. 
When being offered her next position [and she believes
she is close on 2], I posed don’t just sit back and take
what is offered in salary, benefits, status, title and
equipment to succeed in her job.  Know what you
want and tell them what you desire.

She should act as a senior manager in a small company.
These ideas come under that observation that “all of our
life is but a mass of habits.”  Duhigg writes that 40%
of our actions are not decisions at all, but habits.  It is
critical then to know this, to know how habits work
in our brain, and how we can address improving
one habit at a time

The brain’s neurons are like an onion.  the outside layers
are the most recent additions.  Interior layers are the ones
that influence automatic behaviors.  She needed to
know and focus on changing how she represented
and communicated, emphasizing her two outstanding
strengths– interpersonal communication and critical

Our conversation led us to have my friend verbalize
her goals.  I shared this discussion with a common
friend of ours who posited that small companies
in technology areas did not feel safe any longer in
our current environment.  Interesting.
He felt her calling may be in one of a number of
quality community colleges that would benefit from
her breadth of experience and accomplishment and
more significantly offer her some security to reach
her goals.

When we reach beyond a certain number of years,
experience becomes a negative in small companies
and a positive in colleges, universities and community

1 comment
Mid-Career. Tenured Associate Professors
Filed under: Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:12 am

It was interesting to receive a set of Chronicle
of Higher Education reprints from my colleague,
P. Gordon.  They detailed observations that
tenured faculty members face unexpected
hurdles.  These are not seen from a distance
approaching interviewing for your first
academic position, nor working to obtain
tenure at an institution.

Robin Wilson authored an article “Why are
Associate Professors so unhappy?
“, which
pointed out that tenured professors face the
‘what do I do next’ self-question, at times when
committee work, course load, and personal
responsibilities expand.  These tenured
professors can be more isolated and have less
guidance doing the same things year in and
year out.

Career management for tenured faculty is
more complicated:
  is it students, programs, salary or benefits
  is it having a more meaningful role
  is it a competing offer from another institution
  is it combining family and career in a non-
stressful manner


1 comment
Finding Positions. Mentors, Preparation, and Networking
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Post-docs, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:42 pm

Recently, three people shared their job hunting stories
and results with me.  Each one has something to teach
us about technical careers and personal growth.

LD and I met at a conference where she wanted to explore
several things.  She was in an industrial post-doc outside
of the US and wondered how she might more broadly
seek, discover and land a position for which she would be
a valued contributor.  She indicated that she landed a full
time position in the company for which she had done
her post-doc.  TILT.  That is something people desiring
such a position need to hear.

“…I’d be happy to share my experience, though… [she is
way to modest!]
…I started letting my contacts within the company know that
I was looking for a new position.  [One thing led to another]
and they approached me to see if I would be interested in
applying for an opening.

Though I was … familiar with the work that the group did, I
still did a lot of background reading prior to the interview.  In
addition I went through as many examples of competency-
based interview questions as I could find.

…I think my experience highlights the importance of setting up
and maintaining a professional network.”

Why was I offered the position:  I knew the field, I was
enthusiastic about the work and I had experience with working
globally (fit) which is a key component of the job.”

JZ came to me with a situation that meant she had
to make a change. 
She accepted the advice and has taken a risk in
accepting a temporary position outside of technical
and engineering fields.  Now, she has
a better idea what she would like to do and
she is applying for positions requiring a move.
Her challenge is not in helping make the decision,
in the confidence in herself to try something she
conceived herself and has passion for, it is what
words shall I say, and how do I bring this up with
my manager.

Call your personal mentor.  Ask for help.

If you do not have a mentor, find one or more than
one.  Know that each of us who feels successful
has someone they can confidently go to and ask
for help.  We may not always like the answer we

NS is one of my best students.  He was there when
I needed help and confidently offered it.

Now he tells me he has accepted a post-doctoral
position in an area of in vivo studies, where his
experience is with in vitro studies.  We are currently
arranging a time to discuss what he should be
doing next, for he is used to having others set his

But honestly, I will be asking tough, searching
questions about
   the length of time in this position,
   his specific goals and how he will jointly establish
them with his new PI, and
   what does he know now that the position will
provide that he needs.
Each of these questions are not for me but for him
to have answers for himself and his family.  Please
notice the difference in his wants and my questions. 
This is what mentors can provide when there is
a shared commitment.

comments (0)
Watch-outs. 37. IRA errors, Next generation technical boom and Patent issues
Filed under: Position Searching, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:54 am

Hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend, rather
than a mid-week day off.  Hope you are well and not
affected by storms, heat waves and other natural
calamities.  Our watch-outs are not about those.

They touch on what each of you likely already know
but seek more breadth in the applications of
breakthroughs and what seems to be evolving
with the tactics used by patent trolls.  Finally,
how the IRS is going to locate errors in retirement
accounts and tax them.

SOURCE:  Michael S. Malone, “The sources of
the next American boom
,” WSJ, 7-5-12
While the chemical industry is abuzz with the
increasing supply of natural gas to make polymers
and fuel our homes and buildings, Malone
points out that there are clear evidences of
the next boom in four areas:  nanoculture,
managing and inferring data from selected and
massive sources, moving from 3-D prototyping
to production and individual’s health maintenance
(beyond legislation).
The comments are interesting.

SOURCE:  A. Jones, “Patent Troll Tactics
,”  WSJ 7-9-12
Some large tech companies are developing
tactics to profit with nonpracticing entities
through legal efforts to monetize collected
patent portfolios.  This interesting article is
just the tip of the iceberg for what is happening
on this fact changing area.

SOURCE:  K. Greene, “The Feds crack down on
IRA Errors, Part II
“, WSJ 7-7-12
Four distinct topics appear in this piece, that
emphasize reading carefully and reporting
accurately your activities and the activities
one generation before and after yours.  These
vehicles are 35 years old now and replace
an existing structure of pensions for a
large population.  this article touches on
conversions and inheritance issues.

comments (0)
Immigration. Expert opinion letter
Filed under: Mentoring, Post-docs, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 8:25 am

We worked on VRs CV for his post-doc several
years ago and recently we met in person at a
research center review at an offsite location and
dined together.  His name seemed familiar when
he introduced himself, yet he knew who I was and
he intended to speak to me.

VR has been productive in his five years with a
couple of significant publications each
year.  An item that will hold him back from landing
a position is his citizenship.  We spoke about it
recently and he inquired about the possibility
of my providing an expert opinion statement for
his application.

I contacted a mentor, J. Shulman, who provided
insight:  “The letter that VR is requesting will basically
be written by the immigration attorney and modified
by you, as appropriate.  I assume he is applying for
a green card as an outstanding researcher, or
possibly  on a national interest waiver.  In either
case, he will need letters from experts in the field
who can attest to the excellence of his work.  One
part of your letter– written mainly by the attorney–
must demonstrate to the immigration folks that you
have the expertise to evaluate VRs work, based on your
own scientific credentials.

Bottom line:  You might want to talk with VR, and
especially his attorney, to verify that you are one of
of the right people to write the letter.  If they believe
you are, then I would agree to do it.

For perspective, when I did this at P…, I would work
with our immigration attorneys to identify top people
in the field, even if they did not know the student, and
pay them to “write” the letter.  This would involve the
person reading a few key papers and attesting (via a
letter written by the attorney) to the excellence of
the candidate.”

The attorney then “fired off” a note to me:  “As I
believe you know, our firm represents Dr. VR in
connection with his applications for immigration
benefits in the Employment-Based First Preference
Category (EB-1) and in the Employment-Based
Second Preference Category with Waiver of the
Labor Certification Process in the National Interest
(EB-2/NIW).  These types of applications require
that an applicant show, among other things, that he
has “extraordinary” or “exceptional” ability in the
sciences, as those terms are defined in the immigration
regulations.  To show his abilities, we will be
using expert opinion letters from scientists who are
familiar with some of his important achievements
in the field of material science focused on polymers
and their manipulation at a nano-scale to alter their
characteristics and optimize their function.  These
expert opinion letters are very specialized and are
not typical letters of reference or recommendation.
Instead they address such things as reasons that Dr.
VRs contributions should be considered significant,
how he as distinguished himself from his peers, and
why advances in his field of endeavor benefit US
national interests.”

The letter went on to speak to my being an expert
and independent from personal collaboration with
Dr. VR.

So I made an appointment and spoke with
Mr. David Soloway about my concerns and next
Two interesting items came up in our conversation:
- “billable hours” - Mr Soloway did not try to contact
me despite his letter saying so.  Evidently, he determined
with VR that he would not be compensated for the
time.  I pursued the telecon and reached another
person who delivered the message to talk.  While
reluctant he did talk through my “expert” qualifications
to a satisfactory level and next steps.
- “compensation” As J. Shulman indicated there
can be an offer of compensation for doing this.  The
lawyer did not come forward with this.  So, depending
on the level of effort and complexity of involvement
it will likely be a negotiation.  [fee schedule]

Comments will be added to this entry if more
information or interesting items result.


comments (0)
Resume and CV review
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mentoring, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:10 am

Let’s start with the general understanding that resumes
are tailored public relations documents for industrial
positions and many government lab positions.  Each one
is structured and organizes its content for each specific
position using keywords and insight into the industry
you are applying to.

CV’s are designed to interest reviewers principally in
academia, but also in certain governmental laboratories,
for five specific elements: 
 - technical expertise in sought for area(s)
     potential to be a leader
 - communication skills to grasp, inspire and convince
 - creativity and originality
     new concepts and approaches
 - productivity:  “hard work often trumps intelligence”
 - pedigree
     trained with and surrounded by excellent scientists
     impressed individuals by whom they were surrounded.

While resumes are characterized by brevity, clarity,
specificity and being easy to read, CVs need to be
clear, specific and display remarkable communication.
The key difference that stands out is brevity.
How can you do this when the resume includes
extra sections, the objective and highlights ?  Well 
it behooves you to get more information about
the job description and laser focus the sections to
show how you meet the requirements.

From the initial paragraphs of this entry, the resume
needs to clearly point to a strong match the the position
needs using keywords in a brief document.

Other supporting documents can be included in the
file, but they will not carry as much weight in the
initial review.  The initial review will target the middle
third of the first page.  It helps that getting there there
are no distractors, like unexpected information (not
an American citizen for a security clearance required
position, for example).

Remember ATS Applicant Tracking Systems are
more commonly used to screen these files.

The CV is more nuanced in that it will be closely
read  for several elements.  Each of the five elements
will be weighted differently and it will be assessed
by a committee.  Length is less of a concern if it is
easy to read and has all the desired sections.

Let me share areas where I sense the need for
improvement in a recent resume:
1.  Page 1 does not contain keyword-rich match
of skills and abilities that match a job description
2.  Undergrad GPA listed– 3.22, too low to include.
3.  Does not highlight sufficiently working at a top tier
national laboratory
4.  Weak verbs used in the EXPERIENCE SECTION
namely, performed, contributed to, studied
5.  Four pages long.  No Internet presence in heading.

1.  Long paragraphs
2.  No references (note: include in CV, not in resume)
3.  Teaching Philosophy missing
4.  Research Interests not listed, areas for future work
5.  Missing a strong commitment to teaching, although
beginning elements of mentoring and TA roles are

comments (0)