The NESACS Blog
From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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01/30/18
Job Search Workshop Discussions. Structure, Organization and Content
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 9:40 am

Two interesting email requests arrived in my inbox, recently.
One was asking for participation in a job search workshop
by a professional society local section.
The second was a request from a graduate student seeking
help with his resume.

.
INTERESTING WORKSHOP DILEMMA
We were away on a vacation that delayed our responses.
However, I sent a follow up note to a colleague who was
a recipient of the job search workshop note asking to speak
before talking with the assistant professor who was coordinating
the workshop.
TH and I spoke on a telecon to address our concerns and 
requirements before “meeting” with the prof and TH volunteered
to set up a Webex.
.
From this arrangement, several things emerged…
1.  email is not a useful vehicle to coordinating a program between
different participants.  It is so easy to misinterpret what is going
on.  It is much better to do it in person, if possible, by Skype
or as a last result, telecon, if the participants know and trust
each other.
.
2.  the resulting meeting request was misinterpreted.  In addition,
a follow-up first discussion was delayed.
TH asked for a webex time slot.  It was then felt that not everyone
responded to the professor…
The professor had urgent reasons for not being able to talk for an
unspecified time…
.
3.  The prof indicated his desired date is two months in the future
 on a Saturday, but provided a date for Friday.  This kind of
mishap can happen to any of us.  But it suggests some problems. 
On top of that there is a conflict with the Saturday date that
prevents everyone from participating.
.
BOTTOM LINE.  These kind of workshops need to be planned
4-7 months in advance with back ups for most critical items.
It is useful to have a team of organizers.  
.
PROVIDING HELP FOR INTERNATIONAL JOB SEARCHER
This personal consultation can be related to the workshop.
In a way, this is one of the key goals of what a workshop might
provide.
.
The initial email request asked for help writing a resume for
a job.  Well as we know it is critical to be both more specific
and have a strategy in mind for narrowing down options.
.
The first draft of the resume was sent as an attachment.  It 
revealed that the grad student was at “square one” of his
search.  He inserted some relevant data into an online 
resume platform without understanding the hard preparation
that needs to go into it.
.
A response email was sent with several attachments.  
The email pointed out that
- multi-colored, underlined, fancy documents are not
well received for technical professional resumes
- the application should involve a well written cover
letter and other documents that would positively
separate your application from the other applicants.
-  have a specific position in mind that provides the
keywords critical for inclusion in your documents
.
BOTTOM LINE:  The process, timeline and goals are
not defined.  So, as with the workshop planning, 
creating a workable structure and organization will
be as important as developing viable content.
.
INTERESTING FOOTNOTE:
Timing   2  
Academic world revolves around an academic calendar;
the rest of the world employs different time charts.  
.
Job searching is often a full time effort usually out of
sync with the environment you are in.
comments (0)
01/22/18
Watch-Outs. 106. Organic Synthesis algorithms, Optimism by leaders
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 11:53 am

Did you view the Netflix video on AlphaGo defeating
the top Go player in the world?  I saw it this week.  It

may be time for us to seriously consider using software
to design organic synthesis routes.
.
We live in a fast paced world with many unexpected
directions and influences.  One item that can keep us
moving forward is optimism from leaders in our 
organizations.  We highlight a whole issue of a 
magazine devoted to this. Fast Company.
.
COMPUTER ALGORITHMS FOR ORGANIC SYNTHESIS
Udit Batra brought up the topic of using computer
software to optimize synthetic route in Aldrichimica
Acta in a recent issue.  He highlighted Milipore
Sigma’s purchase of Grzybowski Scientific Inventions
organic software tool.
.
Derek Lowe wrote about this in his blog recently
that it has become more figuring out what to synthesize
rather than how to synthesize particular molecules
based on a discussion of an Angewandte Chemie 
article.
.
OPTIMISM IN LEADERSHIP
Think about what helps us move forward…optimism
is a force multiplier, as military leaders say….
Fast company highlights over a hundred ways
cited leaders supply leadership.  When I read
the methods most are what many of us would think
of ourselves.  Read through it to see how you feel your
leaders are providing leadership….
 - don’t overthink        - attach meaning
 - grow from setbacks - wow your customers
 - listen                        - let your actions speak for you
 - play nice                  - obey the golden rule
 - focus                        - nix multitasking
 - go the extra mile
comments (0)
01/17/18
Leadership 2. Strategic Thinking
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 1:38 pm

When you are in various career paths your
activities tend to place you in a silo of activities
to meet agreed upon goals.  You develop and
use tactical skills to improve things, to identify
things and to make or combine things.  You may
also use SPC or DOE to identify problems or
influences.

.
Leaders will do this.  However, they also develop
strategic thinking.  Jo Miller’s article,
3 Ways to be a strategist Rather than a Tactician
addresses some of the unique features of the
strategist and the tactician, including:
.
1.  Shift from day-to-day thinking to years ahead
     then work backwards from goals, like in a 
     synthesis challenge.
.
2.  Work with groups outside your limited chain 
     of commandLearn their SWOT (strengths,
     weaknesses, opportunities and threats) for longer
     term to see where there is commonality to 
     engage and collaborate.  Ask if you can help
     them?
.
3.  Look for areas to change for the better–
     transformational change.  Where tacticians
     chip away at goals and do not threaten
     the status quo, strategists involve change and 
     build new skills.
.
Thus, change your time horizon, broaden your
scope of influence, and seek out transformative
changes.  It is an article worth reading.
comments (0)
01/12/18
Timing
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Leadership, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:27 am
When you are surprised by someone or an event, you
may not be ready to do the right thing.  Right?  We
always recommend the importance of preparation.
.
The same is true of of daily agendas and decision making
and acceptance of new ideas.  D. Pink highlighted this
in his book, When…
New ideas:  Better to speak to higher ups in the morning,
earlier in the week, or after a break…
Brainstorming:  Off-peak time, like later in afternoon,
when you are more open-minded.
.
It is true however that we have different peak times.
Think about when yours might be.  The idea then is
to develop strategies to adjust to different circumstances.
Pink talks about some of these.

Good news, bad news:  most people accept bad news first.
.
Start-ups  :  Ask a series of questions, like:
What is the present and short term future market conditions?
… demand, available customers, price and competition
Assess your stress tolerance and forward seeking
optimism… What is your back-up plan?
Do you have the technical resources to move into place,
or know how to reach out to them?
comments (0)
01/01/18
Mid-career Job Searching.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Technicians, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:16 pm
It is an ever present challenge about finding another position,
either from job loss, limited growth possibilities, or loss
of excitement for the employment situation we find ourselves
in.
.
We question our choices up till that point.  But alas we have 
learned that more often the choices we made were valid but
for changes in funding or preferences or timelines.
.
Mid-career offers different challenges than early career.  You
have an established work history, salary history and contributions
to your department involving trusting connections, lucid
communications and committed networks.
.
Not every personality faces this kind of job search comfortably.
It is certainly important to have established mentors to bounce
ideas off of.  They can be a sanity check…
.
You can always get better… if there is something lacking or needing
improvement.
.
It is not too late to learn new things…  Especially if you know what
your career gap is.  It might be harder if you do not know the gap.
That is when you fall back on your strengths and building out from
them.
.
You should not hold back from going in another direction,
especially if it is an area of high interest.
Do the right thing, even when no one is looking.
Pay forward, pass on valuable information.  You never know what 
could make a difference for others.
Know your risk tolerance level, and those in your family that depend 
on you.
If you need help, ask for help;  join a professional organization;  use
your experience to volunteer to help others.
3 comments