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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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04/09/09
State of the Chemical Industry. Finding work in 21st century
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, First Year on Job, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 7:59 am

Continuing the discussion of 21st century chemistry
professional careers this entry mentions insights
from two books.

The first “How to find work in the 21st century” by
Ron McGowan covers a lot of good ground in a
very readable manner.  The author convinced me
to continue reading by revealing that jobs in the
present economy are different and not advertised.
The traditional statistics do not describe the situations
of under-employment, outsourcing, project oriented
roles, and options in searching the “hidden job
market.” [He cites 80% of positions are hidden.]

He notes the following trends and suggests helpful
method to define yourself and what to do.

Work trends:
- temporary-to-permanent or contingent positions
- increased hiring by smaller companies with less
security, wearing “many hats’ where you may have
a bigger impact
- bigger need to continuously network to both
keep abreast of industries, career paths and what
you can do to help your company and yourself.
- outsourcing of “non-core” functions
- increasing number of non-challenging roles people
are asked to assume for which they are
over-qualified.

Knowledge of self [I like this section, pp 30-38.] 
In a checklist format, he assists the reader in
identifying:
- personal characteristics (strengths, talents),
- work values (best environment, satisfying aspects)
- career characteristics (work style, career action
plans, written development plan)

Finding positions and marketing yourself
- be a “news hound”.  Stay on top of trends; attend
seminars, network and participate in organizations
- look for real benefits in less permanent career
path:  control of your own destiny, most jobs are
not advertised widely, taxes, “trying before
buying”
- need to develop higher level marketing skills
for self promotion.  Communication is ever more
important.  Seek valued mentors who both keep
you focused and broaden your search field.

Also included are a good summary of cover
letter concepts and “business based resumes.”
The focus is what they need, not what you
want.

The second book “Career Warfare” by
David D”Alessandro and Michelle Owens
deals with the technical and business world
offering ideas on business savvy. 
While this may feel like going to the ‘dark
side’ for scientists and engineers, ‘hard work
and accomplishments’ will get chemists just
so far, your personal reputation is what will
separate you from the crowd.

- offer something that the organization is
missing.
- provide something of value to higher ups
- Demonstrated business recognized qualities
         earn money for the organization
         tell the truth
         be discrete
         keep promises
         make people want to work for and with you.

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