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

September 2014
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Watch-Outs. 68. Internships, Resumes, Retirement Planning
Filed under: Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:22 pm

Recent graduates and post-docs seem to be better prepared for
industrial positions now if they have either been in a co-op
program or been involved in internships.  We point to a broader
article on the practice of internships and highlight useful
ideas (namely proceed with caution for unpaid positions and
have a very good idea why you want the experience and what
you will do with the experience.).

While I still recommend value in creating a master
resume or CV to capture all of your experiences, credentials,
projects, avocations, and areas of work interest, specifically
targeted with keywords ready for scanning documents are
what a leading resume coach recommends.

One of the better recent articles describing retirement
planning is pointed out.  It points out some considerations
that might influence organization, planning and spending

SOURCE:  The Economist, 9-6-14, p. 61
Generation i” (small i)
From one point of view this article reviews the history
of interns and experiences of mostly “unpaid internships”
which seem to be a last choice option.  The “comments”
section offers a rebuttal that the article misses paid
internships in technical positions lasting 2-6 months.
Paid internships in the best of cases (25%) offers
an in-person experience that is outside of the academic
arena and is an investment in you.

SOURCE:  Career Hub, Jean Cummings
The Kind of resume that works now“ 
Jean really emphasizes the need to study the job
description carefully and pick out the job titles
and keywords unique to the position.  Then
incorporate them into your cover letter and your
resume in context.  ATS software is the rule such
that once it is scanned and sorted reviewers spend
5-6 seconds reading an easy to read, specific,
and targeted resume.

SOURCE:  R. Kapadia, Barrons, 9-22-14, p. 23
Don’t Panic
Point by point discussion first discussing myths
touching on
- spending in retirement is fluid, not constant
- within 10 years of retirement, half are single,
especially lower educated
- the impact of children/minors is substantial

Then, covering Important steps which include:
-   regularly updated budgeting, manage your cash
flow and plan state and federal taxes
-   have fewer fixed expenses;  pay things off
-   behavioral economics applies– in down
years, spend less
-   very good advice on tax diversification

Added notes on Long term care
-   it will happen
-   industry is changing , select broadest definition
of care givers, begin reimbursements after
calendar days (not service days)
-   pay attention to elimination period

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Recommended Reading for Career Management. Issue 3
Filed under: Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:16 pm

Delightful conversations led to people talking about books
that could be inspirational and helpful.  My first list and
second list links are enunciated.   Here is my third list
that I share.  Thanks, Lin.

Charles Wheelan, Naked Statistics:  Stripping the Dread
from the Data, Norton and Company, NY 2013

Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt
Bloomsbury Press NY, 2010

Martin J Blaser, Missing Microbes: How the Overuse
of Antibiotics is Fueling our Modern Plagues
, Henry Holt
and Company, NY, 2014  

Les McKeown, Predictable Success  Greenleaf Book Group,
Austin TX 2010

Brian Tracy, Goals: How to get everything you want:
faster than you ever thought possible. 
Publishers.  San Francisco, 2004

Brian Tracy Create your own Future:  How to master the 12
critical factors of unlimited success
John Wiley and Sons, 2002

Brooks Landon, Building Great Sentences:  Exploring the
Writers Craft
  the Great courses, 2008

Charles Seife Virtual Unreality  Viking NY 2014

David Lochbaum, Edwin Lyman, Susan Q. Stranahan,
Fukushima, a story of a nuclear disaster,  The new press,
NY 2014

Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, The Second Machine
Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a time of brilliant
, W W Norton and company, NY 

James Pennebaker, The Secret Life of Pronouns: What our
words say about us,
  Bloomsbury Press NY, NY 2011

Clifford Pickover, Archimedes to Hawking:  Laws of Science
and the Great Minds behind them
  Oxford 2008

Charles Duhigg  The Power of Habit:  Why we do what
we do in life and business,  Random House  NY  2012

Eric Topol, The Creative Destruction of Medicine: 
How the digital revolution will create better
health care,
Basic Books,  2012

Samuel Arbesman, The Half Life of Facts: Why everything
we know has an expiration date
Current of the Penguin
Group, 2012

Norman Rosenthal  The Gift of Adversity The unexpected
Benefits of life’s difficulties, setbacks and

Jeremy Taucher   Penguin 2013 NY

Gary Klein, Intuition at Work: Why developing your
gut instincts will make you better at what you do,
Currency Doubleday  NY  2003

Viktor Mayer-Schoneberger and Kenneth Cukier  Big Data:
A Revolution that will Transform how we Work, Live
and Think, 
Eamon Dolan, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Boston 2013

Chip Heath and Dan Heath  Decisive:  How to make Better
Choices in Life and Work

Vicky Olliver, 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview
, Sourcebooks Naperville IL 2005

Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Will Not Get You
  Hyperion 2007

Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, The new digital age: Reshaping
the future of people, nations and business
.  Alfred A Knopf NY 2013

Douglas Rushkoff  Present Shock: When everything happens
Current Penguin Group  NY  2013

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Watch-Outs. 67. Christensen Institute ideas, Job Interview Questions, New IRA rules for Roth
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:15 pm

One of the paragraphs in an Economist article led off
with “The university bubble is … beginning to burst.”
Cost, followed by long term debt, graduates not prepared
for professional workplace, outcomes, rather than
outputs, measured are some of the drivers for the
Christensen Institute proposal.

When you are invited to an interview for a position,
what are thoughtful questions you might be asked.
A recent Liz Ryan article might be useful for both
candidates and interviewers.

Roth IRA inheritance considerations is the topic
of another link.  It certainly got me to think deeply
about financial planning.

SOURCES:  The Economist, Schumpeter, 8-23-14, p. 66
Got skills
M. R. Weise and C. M. Christensen, “Hire Education:
Mastery, modularization and workforce revolution

Competency in work-related skills may be better
suited to Internet education model combined with
mastery of work-related skills.  Dev Bootcamp is
a clear example of this as being a three month program
in coding.  Other “nano” degrees are emerging with
longer timeframes.  Interesting and practical course
enrollment fees dependent upon hiring and cost-
sharing are taking shape.
Attendees might see the value in these vocational
MOOC courses more directly than academic programs
both articles argue.

SOURCE:  Liz Ryan, “Smarter than usual stupid interview
questions interviewers can ask job-candidates

Not only is the article helpful for candidates and interviewers
it is nice to see some of the perspectives on interviewing
questions others pose in the “Comments” section.

SOURCE:  A. Coombes, WSJ 9-8-14, p. R6
Beware Leaving a Roth for Heirs
2015 rules changes being proposed might affect your
thinking about putting your inheritance to the next
generation into  Roth IRA accounts.  So read this article
for deeper discussion of what is proposed and how it may
impact your wishes.
I know I am looking at this now as I evaluate various

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Critical Thinking.
Filed under: Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 4:15 pm

Critical thinking was one of  the approaches the panel on the DR show
talked about to “Judge the Credibility of News in the Media Age.”

The panel offered six steps to critical thinking.  Since it is one of the
soft skills we seek for in our careers, it is valuable to share them.
1.  who is the author, what and who is the source of news
      what is their reputation?  is there a bias?
2.  ask if the information is gathered from first hand or second hand
     observations.  is there a conflict of interest?  is there corroborating evidence
     [it might be questionable if it is an “unnamed source.”]
3.  what is the purpose of sharing the information?  to sell, to convince,
     to scapegoat someone?
4.  are there conclusions, opinions or judgments?   are all alternatives
      described and compared?  Are there unanswered alternatives?
5.  what is missing?  is it all negative?
      skepticism is fine, cynical might not be!
6.  who does it benefit?  Who sponsors the work?  What do the sponsors
     gain from the piece?  Recall the theme in the book Merchants of Doubt.

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Trends in Technical Careers. Alert to Unexpected Situations, Combining things in different ways
Filed under: Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:44 am

It was inspiring hearing words describing the IEEE
outstanding educator award presentation of Professor
Jamal Dean.  Professor Dean is now at McMaster
University in Hamilton, ON and remarked:
(A. Kumar, Interface, Fall, 2014, 42-3)

Be prepared for the unexpected.  It may be upon you
before you know it.  So adapt and use your knowledge
and skills to create novel and workable solutions.  And
do not be afraid of controversial areas of research,
even if there is opposition from mainstream ‘experts’”…

Why mention Jamal Dean?  He works to solve big
problems with significant impact in cross-disciplinary

An example of this is the use of unexpected elements
in semiconductor manufacturing.  You know well Moore’s
Law about the prediction of exponential improvements
in digital electronic devices.  Did you know hafnium,
ruthenium, tantalum (ok, I knew about this), zirconium
(this, too) and cobalt are all used in discrete elements
of chips to make true the ‘Moore prediction.’  Why? 
The article by Michael McCoy   (p. 16) states, “because
it works.”
There is a lot of chemistry, physics, engineering and
economics that will continue to play a role.  Consider,
for example, Moore’s second law of semiconductor
, known as Rock’s Law.  Technical people
should be curious about this “intersection”…

Susan Ainsworth reported in an earlier CEN issue about
what pharmaceutical firm representatives look for in
BS:  higher level organic, physical organic, and theoretical
organic chemistry with advance laboratory work
in which synthetic routes are designed, enzymatic
reactions are characterized or there is exposure to
receptor pharmacology..
         challenging research experience gives a leg up.

PhD:  challenging research projects in solving or
gaining understanding of complex problems, say
signal transduction, protein structure, multistep

All should be able to demonstrate communication
skills to be able to go up to a board or with pen and
paper field questions or propose solutions to problems.
Of course, be able to deliver an elevator speech.

What stood out was a segment on “being situationally
” outside of classroom or formal structure
situations.  It is more behavioral than textbook.

Combining things in different ways can be an example
of what is sought in candidates.  This is demonstrated
by for example photoswitchable antibiotics which were
recently reported in Ang. Chem.  doi:10.1002/
ange.201310019 and in Photonics showcase.

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Watch-Outs. 66. Cross-roads in technical careers, Tactics for travel baggage,Questions for interviews
Filed under: Interviewing, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:21 pm

Can anyone predict her or his future career path? 
If you use people’s careers from an earlier generation,
there are few timely examples.  Most are out of date.
Why?  It is hard to predict who will be around doing
similar things in ten years.  Much of the advice I have
speaks about transferable skills.  Nonetheless,
researching, deeper planning and practicing formal skills
successfully trumps the ‘wishful thinking’ in “transferable
skills” for a majority of cases.  A link is provided hints
at “LinkedIn age” strategies.

Recently, I traveled with checked baggage in two
airports and lost a checked bag in one and a carry-on
bag in a second
.  Both were recovered without any losses
except time for recovery and ‘worry-greys.’  One was the
airline’s problem, for which we could have received
reimbursement of the checked baggage fee (Alaska Air,
but we needed to file the claim right then and there.)
How much attention do you pay to the  the luggage you
buy and use and what you pack in checked and carry-on
luggage.  Links offer very good suggestions that may
save you a bunch.

When recruiters and interviewers rate the biggest
interviewing mistake, they list a dozen with the most
revealing being not having good questions to ask about
the company, the job, the industry and priorities (without
being disrespectful or negative in any way)
.  Find a link
to interview questions you might ask in your interview

SOURCE:  J. Cummings, Aresumefortoday Blog
Jean opens up a ‘can of worms’ by suggesting in her blog
that in the current Internet-dominant-use age, the ‘beatified’
transferable skills is a tougher sell for people who wish
to change fields.  In fact, she goes on to point out that
due to Linkedin, recruiters can demand their top choices
for positions meet all of the job description’s ‘must’

This spells out some career management planning
and proactive steps
to take.  Deeply study and determine
the professional industry and field that will be yours
for the next decade.  It will, if not is, be more difficult to
switch, and be successful, when you are at senior levels.

“Play the field if you want in your twenties, but settle down
in your 30s”.
“Develop the core, desired skills and keep your eye on your
goal a couple of years down the road and manage your
career, accordingly.”

SOURCES:  The middle seat, WSJ 8-14-14,
To catch luggage thieves, high definition cameras and
fancy pens

Six rules for luggage security,”
- valuables, breakables (chargers, meds, papers) in small bags
- roller bags - be prepared to check, by having a small bag
of perishable items inside ready to be removed for hand carry.
- consider your security vs. convenience in choosing bags.
- pack as if your bag will be ‘rifled’
- get to baggage claim early to watch for your bag [I did
in SeaTac and my bag was digitally followed all the way
to Seattle, only to find it was “hung up on the escalator track”
I knew it did not come out.]
- tell the police immediately and be a bit of a pest.

ASQ Blog
Fifteen rules of thumb for framing questions and Ten
great questions to ask are primo!  Know the ‘dumb dozen’….

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