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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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08/17/07
Finding Jobs in SF
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Recruiters
Posted by: site admin @ 6:59 am

A year ago an attendee, Z, in the audience
of a couple workshops asked if she could
continue career consulting to help her
find a position in SF Bay area.  We spoke
weekly and emailed resumes, research
summaries and cover letters.  Our
interaction lessened with time.

The article by Emily Meehan brings up
the uphill plight Z faced.  Z is a multi-
lingual person with synthetic and
in silico experience developing quite
sophisticated understanding of molecules.

Her mentors were (European and more
traditional) organic chemists had not
prepared her for the American
employment scene.  She was baffled.

Ms. Meehan’s article describes the
unexpected restrictions one faces in living
and working in an appealing chic urban
setting.  The SF employment picture leaves
little for “new grad [scientists] with suitcases
in tow and few connections…”
“Almost every job sector… as hardly grown…”
Cost of living is not easily balanced with
pay. 

What struck me more were the comments
to Ms. Meehan’s article indicating people
finding other measures to deal with the
desire to live in SF.  Many decided it is
a nice place to visit, but could not afford
to live there.

Never learned if Z landed a position in a
small company or university.  She is not
alone in that challenging job search in SF,
and several other areas in the country.

It seems best to find a job then move there,
rather than move there and try to find a job.

This is part of the “trailing spouse’s” problem.

2 Responses to “Finding Jobs in SF”

  1. VC Says:
    Dan,
    Hello.

    It was nice to see you yesterday at the ACS
    Career Fair…

    I have one question though. I will probably
    finish my PhD in May or June 2008, so
    should I start applying now? I know in the
    PfLAGS workshop, you have pointed out
    that job search is a 12-18 month in process.

    I also understand, and this is how I view
    my interview with Chl yesterday, that I should
    keep applying because it gives me good
    experience in handling interviews. Also,
    so that perhaps I may be “known” to some
    recruiters. What are your thoughts on this Dan?

    Are there companies who post position
    which will actually not be available unitl ~ 9
    months into the future?

    Also, do you have any tips or leads for me
    because I really want to get a job in CA.
    Not necessarily in the bay area. I read the
    nesacs blog article on a person searching
    a job in SF. Her case is different from mine,
    although you pointed out in that article the
    issue of cost of living.

    I have a lot of relatives in there; none here in XX.
    And my wife and I really want to move where
    we have relatives nearby. This is probably a
    cultural … thing.

    Thank you very much for helping me.
    Sincerely, V
  2. Dan Eustace Says:
    Hi V,

    It was really nice to see you in Boston.
    Sorry, I was busy with … [Tuesday
    and Wednesday]….

    TIME TO START LOOKING FOR A POSITION
    It is a benefit that you had a chance to meet
    with my friend, Warren …, to review your resume.

    My understanding is that you need to pull
    together your resources, perform a good
    personal assessment of what you and your
    family see will make you happy and plan it
    out some time in advance.

    A year is not too short a time, especially if
    you are considering both a post-doc and
    an industrial position.

    As you know, I speak with high regard about
    my daughter Brenda who received her Ph.D.
    nearly 3 years ago. She said the 9 months
    she took to look for a job were the most
    stressful time of her entire life….She was
    determined to work for Vx and arranged to
    have lunch with [”decision-makers”].

    V, you too need to know what you want to
    do. You need to outline several possible
    scenarios and create priorities to allow
    decisions to be made.

    Doing some interviewing now is a great
    idea since you will be prepared to deliver
    when crunch time comes at the end of your
    graduate career.

    My [personal] scenarios have been
    - arranging screening interviews about August,
    - taking on-site interviews in January,
    - area visit in February,
    - defending in March and
    - starting my first job in April.

    Another time,
    - screening interview in August,
    - site visits in October,
    - area visit in November,
    - start at the end of December, and
    - move in to our home in April.

    My cases do not have any legal immigration formalities.. 

    A. G. from Chl is in my LinkedIn network.
    Feel free to contact him about your case
    of immigration and other things concerning
    Chl. He could be an inside contact for you.

    Now is the time to arrange for screening
    interviews for starting in the incoming year.
    V, your situation about wishing to return to
    your roots in SF, where friends and family
    reside are understandable.

    Reach out to your network, informal family
    connections, LinkedIn connections, faculty
    connections and a set of leading companies
    in the areas of interest.

    The earlier you start, the higher the chance
    of finding an entry level opening that can
    be timed with your finishing up, I believe.

    Regards, Dan

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