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

July 2015
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Interesting Resume Review.
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 6:55 pm

A colleague submitted her resume, cover letter and the job
description to a career consultant.  The job description, which
is a major source of content, did not reveal more than a couple
key words.  Her corresponding cover letter and resume seemed
less attention deserving that it should be since she focused on
herself and not what is encouraging about the company and
how she meets the job requirements.

What do you do when you pull up a brief job description?

Knowing the company’s name you can definitely examine the
company’s website
.  So, one of the ways to bring positive
attention to the company in your cover letter is to show you
know the business the company is in.
One cool thing I observed in this company was coining a new
term, Admetry, which describes a software for Pharmacokinetic
and drug  metabolism for everyone.  The company also
represents itself as performing five classes of biomarker
See, for example.

The targeted resume and cover letter was for a position doing
MS analysis and methods development.  However, besides clearly
reflecting on the those elements, they might attract attention by
mentioning their business model elements that she could
beneficially add. Search Linkedin, for example.

Beyond that there are similar job descriptions for other firms
that might also offer what a similar role in their company would
seek them to perform.  Again, it is the critical keywords and
understanding the business they are in telling how you can make
a difference. 

Her first draft cover letter did not do this.

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Tools to Gain more Security in our Career Paths
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Post-docs, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 2:44 pm

Nearly 80% of the members of our graduate course in
Professional Development rank security or certainty as
a leading desire.  Thus, a high percentage sense a higher
level of un-certainty.

I led a seminar recently on ‘Dealing with Uncertainty’ where
the attendees were asked what were they uncertain about.
Was it how to make good decisions, or
What should be their next career step, or
Should they stop with a MS, or
How to do a good job search, or
How long should they expect to stay at a job, when should
they move, how do you look for a position while working,
What do you do if your boss disagrees with you or
does not like you, or…
You might get the point.  Then, I asked them to share
their uncertainty with others before asking them to
discuss what feelings do the uncertainty evoke?

Did they feel confused, or anxious, or frustrated, or
stuck (and not able to change or move), or making false
?  The top three feelings they expressed were:
anxious, confused and frustrated.

We talked that many of their situations were created by
the circumstances that they were in influenced by outside
forces.  They have relatively little control over these. 
What they each have control over is how they individually
respond to the feelings that the circumstances evoke.

Those who felt confused might lack VISION.  What are
their career objectives?
Have they done a S-W-O-T, strengths-weaknesses,
opportunities and threats analysis?
Do they participate in setting goals, performing a “gap
” and design a personal development plan?
Do they have a Z Plan, a personal desired outcome
when everything comes out “jelly-side up”?

Those who felt anxious might lack the NECESSARY
SKILLS.  Have they performed a personal self assessment?
Do they know soft and wise skills that they are expected
to display and will provide advantages?  Do they know
how to manage and build personal self esteem?
Ref. Brian Tracy

Those who felt frustrated might not have developed and
used available RESOURCES.  Have they mentors that
seem committed to them?  Are they aware of legal
counsel of Al Sklover for employment issues?  Are
they aware of the WRAP method (Widen options,
Reality check solutions, Attain distance/perspective
and Prepare to be wrong)

Working through these brought some clarity to dealing
with each person’s sense of uncertainty.

Thanks to Hari Narayanan for bringing the uncertainty
matrix to my attention.

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Watch-outs 85. Mentoring thoughts
Filed under: Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 1:23 pm

Drafted this a while ago and still think there is value for
some readers…

Bob Sullivan, author of the new book
Stop Getting Ripped Off: Why
Consumers Get Screwed
and How You Can Always Get a Fair Deal.

Look for service providers — such as fee-only financial
planners– who don’t have a commission incentive to
steer you into particular products.  “Know what someone’s
financial bias is.

If you find yourself in a high-pressure situation where you
have to say no, twice, consider yourself in the danger zone,
Sullivan says.  Three times and you should hightail it out of
there.  Walk into a sales situation with and escape plan, i.e.,
“I am expecting a call from work, and may have to leave at
any time.”

“People let their cars go until it’s absolutely time to buy
a new one– and urgency is one thing you can not overcome
when you are at a car dealership,” says Sullivan.  “You have
to be able to wait them out.  Walk out, come back next week.”
No one can plan around a breakdown, but it is not a bad
idea to do some casual car shopping before your vehicle
hits the end of its warranty.

When someone is making money off you in a business
transaction, at that moment he is not really your friend.
Call three professionals, get a price, and never see them
again when the deal is done.  That is the best way to do

Keep your financial head in the game with questions like:
How much cash is in my primary checking account right
now?  How much did I spend last month?  What is the
rate on my credit cards?

Spend as much time shopping for your mortgage as
you spend shopping for your house.

Sullivan argues that it is easier to set up two accounts–
a “staging” account where your paycheck is deposited,
and a “workaday” account for all those little debits and
ATM withdrawals.  then, shift a pre-determined amount
of cash into the second account for the dozens of minor
transactions.  Use your staging account for the regular
monthly stiff, rent or mortgage, utilities, auto loan and
cell phone.

If you are paid bimonthly, call service providers and
group expenses evenly into the first and second halves
of the month.  Choose a free account with no minimums
and no overdraft protection.  (An alternative is PNC
Bank’s Virtual Wallet, which offers spending and
savings components in one account.)

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Salary Information. Public or Private Information
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 4:06 pm

Over the years confidential information which is not shared
within a company includes health records, bank account,
social security details, finance and investment records
about you by law.

On the other hand, many report seeking offers with the highest
possible starting salary.
  In many places co-workers do not
often reveal their numbers to one another.  However, making
this information public to professional association and sites
like is done.  The question is:  can you be
restricted from sharing your salary compensation by an

The answer is yes, but the debate goes back and forth.

Why would an employer want to?–
  to prevent unhealthy employee competition,
  to lessen undesirable interview negotiations with others,
  to avoid prosecution for wage discrimination [Ledbetter
Fair Pay Act 2009]

If, in any of your signed documents there is a clause stating

“…both during and at all times after termination …., I shall not
use, disclose, publish or distribute…any confidential information,
… as authorized in advance and in writing by the company…”

you agree to the restriction despite NLRB laws permitting
sharing of information to allow employees freedom to organize.

So, if the information can not be traced to specific individuals,
individuals feel it helps others to report it.  People reading the
data need to know it can be both over- and under-reported and
more importantly, salary is only one component of a
compensation package.

The package also might cover vacation time, child care, hours of
work (including travel time and time to handle personal affairs),
sign-on bonus (taxes paid), relocation package, performance
related bonuses, parking, transporation assistance, company
van or transportation, flex time, dress code, intellectual
property rights, subscritions, wellness facilities, memberships
insurances (health, life, disability, other) and others.

Executive packages
in addition might also include incentives,
stock options, termination provisions, loans, deferred compensation,
and other features.

So looking at a single number as a basis of comparison might
seem shortsighted.  It should be more ethically judged on your
family’s needs and requirements and market value.

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Overcoming Multi-tasking. Update
Filed under: Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:41 am

Some time ago this blog posted tips for managing a crowded schedule
many tasks in a limited time.
A recent entry by Bernard Marr helps further.

- turn off your alerts
- set up specific times and lengths of time for important goal oriented tasks
- plan your phone calls:  goals, script, back-up statement if person is not
available, uninterruptible space.
- calendar for future meetings and plans and recording significant
meetings, achievements and outcomes

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Watch-Outs. 84. Ranked Best Companies, Evaluating ETFs, “Deep Web searching”
Filed under: Position Searching, Recruiters, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:05 am

What are the “good” companies to work for?  How do you
learn who they are when doing your job search?  Word of
mouth, crowd-sourcing, business news?  A link to Barron’s
weekly business publication can provide some insight.

Investments are often a challenge in the beginning of
our careers, and for long time investors, things change a
lot over time.  I am learning that in the current climate
I should move to ETFs of dividend paying stocks in my
tax deferred investments.  Bond rates a low and the
Fed is expected to enter the whole picture with interest
rates.  A link to essential information about ETF evaluations
might be useful.

Finally, we all do searching and archiving.   Did you
know about “deep web” resources being developed by

SOURCES:  Barrons June 29, 2015, p. 29
World’s Most Respected Companies and
P. Moutoukoutas, Fortune, “the worlds most respected

When looking for where we want to work, it might be
wise to know the best companies based on cloud
sourcing tools.  Many technology and scientific firms
are included on the list.  Discussion of the insertion of
Chinese firms from Fortune offers a different insight.

SOURCE:  B. Leggett, “Essential and misunderstood
evaluation tools
I am new to ETFs which are investment vehicles that
are a form of index funds with lower fees for investors.
How to evaluate them to invest in is not clear.  Leggett
is offering a tutorial that could be useful for your long
term financial health.

SOURCE:  American Laboratory June/July 2015
Scientists Use the Deep Web to Find information not
Accessible to Search Engines

This might be the next generation of information
technology that will be used in research and forecasting.

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Nonverbal elements in communications
Filed under: Interviewing, Networking, Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 7:06 pm

You realize that a larger fraction of your communication
are the nonverbal signals.  They are noticed more than
the words we use and ideas we express.

1.  Posture- stand tall lifting your solar plexus so that
breathing is fuller and easier and head straight with ears
over the shoulder.  This demonstrates and aids your confidence.
2.  Open stance- avoid closed stance, with head down or
your body shrinking in your space.  However, respect
others’ personal space.
3.  Nervous tics-  Have a mentor help you by noticing your
nervous tics.  Everyone has them.  Then, replace them with
a subtle outlet.  Hold a folder, hold a pen, pointer;  avoid
hands in pockets and giggling coins.
4.  Eye contact (especially in US, Canada and most of
Europe)- engage your eye brows to aid your expression.
5.  Slow your movements down– hands, pointing, listening
smiling, gestures.

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