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

November 2021
« Sep    
Artificial Intelligence. Best Jobs and Predictions
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:36 am

Readers of this blog might look at recent reports for: 

   looking for best jobs
  companies are predicting when employees will quit
IBM Watson and GM have a “predictive attrition program” which
assesses employee flight risk and offers proactive steps to retain
those employees.
Career path assessments and key employee skill area predictions
are also AI targets..
Ginni Rometty predicts AI will change 100 % of jobs in the future.
Suggestion:  While it is nice to track trends, finding what
is likely to happen in the future and how to prepare for it
is better for our futures.
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Watch-Outs. 97. Helium discovery, Jobs-computers-automation, and Impact of Sweet Chemicals
Filed under: Position Searching, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:12 am

There is a section of Brynjolfsson and McAfee’s book
Second Machine Age that reviews the term “technological
“  It is attributed to the use of human labor
not finding application in the emerging economy and finds
causes from inelastic demand (machines, robots and computers
replacing and not taking breaks in fault-tolerant activities),
people not adapting to skill needs  and long term cost
reductions.  Two recent articles speak to recent job loss
in the chemical enterprise and the perspective from a
different field, economics.

I cannot think of another situation where there is
big news of finding an unexpected source of a
needed chemical other than rare earth elements
in China..  This time it is helium.

Food science resources that might help us
manage chronic diseases seem to be rare.  The
resources we see available are mostly proponents of
use or pharma companies for encouraging various
drug candidate use.  Here is one on sweeteners that
should be shared widely.

SOURCES:  J. Bessen HBR 2016, “Computers Don’t
Kill Jobs but increase Inequality

                      The Economist, 6-25-2016 “Special Report:
Artificial Intelligence

                      Dolan, Detroit Free Press,  “Dow to cut
700 Jobs in Central Michigan

Despite simple explanations that computers are growing
jobs due to new applications and broader usage, the
story is not as clear as Bessen writes.  You cannot
predict what you should learn and additionally, academics
are generally a technology generation behind actual
usage.  The Economist special section covers briefly
what is known and gives more up to date detail that
many fields are continuously evolving with new AI
methods ie ‘deep learning software available on open
source basis.’

Dow recently announced job losses in the chemical
enterprise that will have ripple effects as they “rationalize
their labor force needs”.   Sure there are business priorities
globalization will play a role as information can be shared
instantaneously and worked on anywhere in the world.
so you can see technical experts with advanced expertise
surviving, but there is much uncertainty for those seeking
full time, longer term employment.

The Economist series places one leg on each side of the
fence (pro and con), but you should look for areas of
opportunity (what robots and computers cannot do).

The longer term ripple effect of Dow-DuPont acquisition
and spin-offs are a visible example that the chemical
enterprise is not immune from this despite what popular
literature tries to sell.

SOURCE:  NYTimes feed “Huge Helium Source found in Africa
I was somewhat aware of the shortage of helium used
in many advanced technologies from Nick Leadbeater.
Working with Helium One, a Norwegian exploration firm
Oxford geologists uncovered a gas field rich in helium.
It is material released from rocks due to volcanic heat
in adjacent rocks.  The finding is of large commercial
value and may lead to testing other similar formations
goldilocks zones“.

There are important implications for industry.

SOURCE:  S Ernst, Amer. Laboratory, “Sweet Tooth”
 June/July 2016 p. 6-7.
Ernst’s article on Sweet tooth captured my interest.
and led me to look at  There are
a number of metabolic tendencies that may the result
of food formulations that attract customers to purchase
and ingest what may not be best for them.  The website
seems to be a terrific repository of reviewed information
not biased by organizations that profit from its content.

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Watch-Outs. 94. Personal Presence, Job Search Tips, Academic SEO
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:06 am
Our world is emerging, evolving yet some things remain
as good habits in our job search.  This entry shares 
sites describing impressions and trends in how we appear
and what we wear is received by recruiters and interviewers.
We also uncovered an entry while targeted at academic
career track takes its key concepts from business development
and branding.
The third entry is a frank advertisement about the things
people with advanced technical degrees should be doing to
find opportunities and openings.  So often they display the
“prisoners’ dilemma” working for a faculty member exclusively
depending upon him or her to figure out what career path they
should choose and when and how to pursue that path.  It does
not work that way, as it is really your prime responsibility.  No
one tells you that.            
SOURCE:  WSJ 2-21-16 “Why Dressing for Success Leads to
There is an unconscious, nonverbal communication that
people offer in the clothing we wear for different circumstances.
You need to be aware of this as you enter the job market and
continue throughout your career.  Many of the comments
reinforce the importance of quality clothing and good grooming.


SOURCE  The Academic Triangle Blog
This article offers using marketing principles to increase your
search rank on Internet search engines.
-  Google scholar profile
-  Google +, Researchgate  ,
-  use of keywords in titles and abstracts
-  author a thoughtful blog
-  affiliate with panels, group discussions, and committed networks


SOURCE:  Cheeky Scientist
You must get out of the laboratory to find your next position,
as foreign as that world and experience may seem to you.
This cheeky scientist entry frankly spells out the realities for you
in the highly competitive, different “human” world of impressions,
relationships, and being in the right place at the right time. 

Most jobs are not advertised and many emails and uploaded
documents are not read or at least responded to. Committed
networks and referrals are key.  Take all opportunities to
differentiate yourself.
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Skills Not Taught. For Making Money, Legal Solicitations, New Science violating Old Rules
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 10:19 am

It is only human to think about what is near in our future
rather than what may happen farther in our future.  We
also dream about pleasures, rather the unanticipated
trials we may face.

James Altucher provided a recent note on skills
that will help make you money, but are not taught.

Al Sklover
explains agreements you may be asked
to sign that might restrict your future employment

Kathleen Haughney reviewed striking discoveries about
factoids, like californium studies, that will generate
revisions to the understanding of the order of the
periodic table.

All three of these might be important in the future and
are suggested items to file away when your need arises.

How to look at “failure” as a good thing?
How to offer things to others despite their immediate reactions
and without expecting anything in return?
How to think about your “Z plan” your long range outcome in a
perfect world?
How to better negotiate your future and conflicts you may face?
How to pursue things for the greater good:  sell ideas, accept
criticism, congratulate and thank others?

There are an amazing number of legal entanglements that
may happen when you sign an offer letter for your desired
position.  It is something that you need to know something
about, know what to look for and have resources to deal with.
Al Sklover produced a series of definite resources that should
be required reading before you enter into legally binding

Californium is a radioactive element whose chemical properties
were studied and reported recently.  Albrecht-Schmidt and his
team explored Cf chemistry using 5 milligrams of material.  The
Haughney article reveals how new findings can influence new
areas of research– some fundamental experimental, some applied,
some theoretical.

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Mentoring Discussions. Different Perspectives, Helpful ideas
Filed under: Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 3:06 pm

A colleague/collaborator and I were conversing about
mentoring and mentoring programs.  She was telling me
about the struggles when discussing what is important,
who should be targeted and what would a successful program
look like.

She brought up the finding that different parts of an organization,
like marketing, finance, medical affairs (medical device mfg),
and R&D views mentoring differently.

Some parts think of the role as helping new members come up
to speed with the culture because turn over is high.  Another
part of the company has very low turnover, flat organizational
structure and intense detailed work.  (You almost have to have
a retirement party to induce a change.)

Thus, mentoring in specific companies can assume a company
cultural bias to meet the needs at a particular point in time or
departments that it serves.

So the roles of teacher, coach, mentor and sponsor can be
adjusted.  Mentoring graduate students in technical fields
needs to adjust to each field in the same view.  The skill sets
can be used to meet different goals since in each field of
research, development, marketing, management, product
development and manufacturing uses the technical elements
with different goals.  The emphasis is morphed to meet the needs.

She also share an interesting link to the different roles.

This brought to mind a recent book by John Lanchester
who spoke about how Kahneman influenced the interview
process in selecting military candidates (without going into
formal details.). 

He did experiments on selection processes where
critical skills and abilities were defined, questions were
prepared by knowledgeable stakeholders for a pool of
qualified candidates.

[JOHN LANCHESTER How to speak money:  What the
money people say—and what it really
means, Norton & Company,
New York 2014]

He then had a random portion of the group take objective
measure tests before interviewing. 

Better selections were made when the intuition of
interviewers were supplemented by independent testing

So, in various places this additional testing is being done.

Lanchester also presented remarkable meanings of
business terms which technical people might find useful.
failing upwards:  someone who screws up and is promoted
to a bigger job just as the first result collapses

fiscal and monetary:  fiscal means dealing with taxes and
spending, controlled by government;  monetary means
dealing with interest rates, controlled by the central bank.

“a haircut:“  in investment bonds, people who have lent money
are not going to get all of their money back.

hollowing out:”  process by which jobs disappear from the
economy while appearances remain the same.
At its peak, Kodak employed 140,000 and valued at $28B.
Instagram was sold to Facebook for $1B in 2012 and employed
13 people.

hype cycle:”  process involving new inventions, technology
or product design arrives with much fanfare and is found not
to live up to its claims.

McJobs:  low status, low-pay, low-security, low-prospect
jobs like at a franchise as McDonalds.

Types of unemployment:  frictional, structural and cyclical
frictional:  people move, voluntarily choose to change
structural: loss of jobs due to technological change or
obsolescence (chemical photography)
cyclical:  loss of jobs due to boom and bust cycles of
the economical system

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Watch-Outs. 77. Critical thinking Employment, Trends in other fields, More on Open Access
Filed under: Position Searching, First Year on Job, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:50 pm

Did you observe the oxymoron headline on scientist employment
in C&EN 12-22-14, p.11 Temporary Turmoil?  It got me to
looking deeper to find out more– differences between fields,
differences between locations, where is the data and what does
it really mean…See Critical thinking questions we should
apply when reading reports.

Are you currently in a position and wonder how to move
to another position?  An interesting link is shared giving
the trend in “prized ponies,” in job market terminology,
those who are passive candidates, already working but
“shackled” into their current position.

Many scientific and engineering societies are finding
that subscription-based publication of findings and applications
are not meeting their core mission.  Open access has the
potential of distributing more evenly (without bias) and widely
advances that are the output of scientific and engineering
One of the leading objections in the publication world
dominated by large societies and publishing houses is the
curious use of  “impact factor” for whole journals for
career advancement purposes.

SOURCES  J. Wright, Forbes 5-28-2013
Influence of international graduates on STEM worker
shortage”  ,
and following articles
J. Weismann, Slate 7-10-14 “The stagnating job market for
young scientists“;  Simply hired trends
 Since the graphic made little sense in the above mentioned
magazine, it seemed like a good starting point to ask some
questions.  Wright indicates 40% of 25,000 PhDs are
granted to international graduates.  30% obtain positions
in the US on temporary work visas.

Some areas and fields have gained openings, Wright cites.

Weismann examines trends in separate STEM fields in
a helpful manner.  His conclusions, stated by quoting
other writers, may be debated.

SOURCE:  Rachel Silverman, WSJ 1-2-15, p. B1
New Year, New Job?  Read this first
The Economist, 1-3-15 p. 17
There’s an App for that
Silverman’s article hints at how companies are competing
for talented professionals.  Cost-cutting seems to be
edging out retention and engagement and, rather than
giving pay increases, bonuses are offered.  She puts forward
findings that new online services like online dating models
now exist– Poacht, Switch, Poachable are seen for
hard to fill and engineering positions.

A related piece by Lindsey Gellman “Show me your
Stuff” reveals that corporations are hiring using simulations
and assessment tools to reveal decision making ability and

The final lines in the piece: leave three positives
with the hiring entity.

Finally striking a similar cord to what has been brought
to your attention is the breaking up of tasks into different
skill level parts and having temporary staff handle less
impactful portions and outsourcing.  The Economist
article highlights this that seems to be a continuation
of PfizerWorks.

SOURCE ECS Interface Winter 2014. p. 31
Trends:  erosion of subscription revenue and subscribers
competition from commercial publishers that game
the impact factor system and impose deals to library
collections, reduced library budgets, consolidation
in the publishing industry, and increasing number of

The article hits a number of important long term
issues that our society could do better opening a

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Watch-Outs. 62. Security, Shortage of Skills/Positions, Trends in Technical Societies
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:30 pm

Over the last few years in graduate student self-assessments, one
of the leading values that they express is  for Security.  In a sense,
we can all relate to the desire for a secure future. 

Interestingly, very recently an accomplished scientist who was hired
by a drug discovery company CEO was publicly fired
(ie.  story in the WSJ) for not rapidly leading his team to develop
new profitable products
He had been there but 7 months
Security needs “a 21st century meaning in technical careers.”
It is the ability to look where fields and needs are moving and
proactively seek out skills preparing us to contribute and
have further development plans.

Desperation, exasperation, and despair appear in the eyes of many
STEM field graduates about what they will do for STEM JOBS.  It is
more about “minding the gap” between what is taught and practiced
in your education and training and what is needed in emerging and
growing fields. 
   Just as the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky
said ‘pay attention to where the puck is going to be, not where it
has been.‘ 

What societies do you belong to?  What local sections do you
actively participate in?  How do you decide?  What is offered and
WIIFM (what is in it for me)?  Just as the Internet has triggered
changes in marketing and sales of books, consumer items, and all manner
of knowledge sharing (MOOCS, weblogs, webinars) it is also changing
the playing field for technical societies. 

SOURCE:  Career Planning Career Mapping Tool MONSTER
Monster has put forward a forward seeking tool that might
be of value to your thinking process about managing your

However, leaving this on a computer or in a cloud file
while seeming to be current misses the urgency humans place
in face-to-face interactions. 

Plan to develop mentors, sponsors and referrals by working hard
to help others meet their goals.  Lou Adler offered salient advice
- get help in being a “perfect fit” for an opening.
- people who refer you for an opening, help themselves by helping
- know what recruiters seek when filling a position (they work for
the company), and give examples in your resume and relate stories
when you interview

is also about protecting your valuable information,
reputation and computer resources
.  In a podcast I recently listened
to I became convinced to explore ‘Krebs on Security.
- security tools
- patches

We need to “keep up with the times.”  If my university is not dedicated
to doing it, I need to find other avenues.  If my employer does not have
the funds or give me the time to do it, I have to find other avenues.
We must keep abreast of evolving needs of employers. 
EXAMPLE:  25 years ago only a few places sought HTML coders. 
Ten years later, your entry card was punched with HTML experience. 
HTML is less a key but a commodity today.  Jobs can be had with a
lower salary or for niche hiring (projects). 
Other experience with cloud computing and analytics seems a better path.

There is a “gap” between curves of skill level in what we learn and
what is needed in positions.  Peter Grey points out to independently
learn and gain experience in emerging technologies and critical ‘hard
skills’.  Gain experience and meet goals in new areas of challenge
instead of repeating previous career path efforts.  Learn from and keep
peers in your network.

Further reading from a recruiter about STEM jobs.

The debate goes on:  Is it worthwhile to belong to a technical
professional organization

The presence of the Internet and online Open Access Technical literature
might influence some segments of the professional population.
The need shifts depending upon the fields that you are involved,
your current and future needs, and your personal assessment and
how you would use the society for your advantage (WIIFM).

Some questions to help you decide about society membership:

Are you stuck where you are with little or no help out? (connections,
networking, sense for where field is moving and what is emerging,
access to leaders and hiring managers, finding solutions to problems,
finding resources and tools to solve problems)

Do you have mentors to ask about alternatives for decisions?

Do you feel that you are doing something that has already been solved
by someone else before?
  (Googling your question does not help!)

Are there situations that a group effort in advocating a cause would
be much more effective?

Some questions to help you decide about belonging to a large, broadly-
involved organization or a smaller, more cutting edge, faster moving

Do you want to be elected, volunteer for and serve in a leadership
?  (chances are better in smaller org.  or a local section)

How are you planning to continuously improve and update your
skills to be prepared for the future

How will safety and common good be served best?  Prevention
(like checklists) rather than band-aiding failing flow chart or procedures

BONUS:  It is noteworthy to point out an organization that is
reinventing itself as it sees the changing landscape in publishing.
The way they are doing it is an example to point out.

Industrial Post-doc position. Choices and Next Steps
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations), First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 9:23 am

A colleague currently in an industrial post doc
position in a radiopharmaceutical firm contacted
me.  JJ has been there for nearly a year and wondered
what he should do next.

Despite the pronouncements about the need for more
technically trained scientists and engineers for future
prosperity, jobs and careers are not always clear.

We often hear about how various industrial firms are
starting, continuing or expanding their post doctoral
programs.  CENews recently reported as much.  Yet,
we do not hear about what to do next.  The career path
is not so clear.
[The case is the same in the UK:  Meetings are conducted.]

JJ indicated that he had a discussion with his supervisor
about continuing on.  The boss indicated that his work was
appreciated.  While he would like a permanent position,
he learned about a potential 2 year extension on his unique,
first time in the company post-doctoral position.

We talked about it being very good that JJ had established
good working relationships with his supervisor.  It might
be appropriate to inquire if you could be offered a longer
term commitment
for working at the company.  You liked
working there and would like to have your career grow at
the company. [if that is the case.]  You might ask what are
the chances and what is the decision timeline so that you
can work together productively.

Other things to consider
We know post doctoral appointments are usually temporary
and that industrial post-docs can pose limitations on
publishing, networking and attending meetings.  See also.

How are the business conditions in the company’s future?
Are sales and profits improving?  Are staff being added?
New products?  New customers?

What should he do?
 - Assess if there is one or more positions currently open or
available for him to fill.  Speak with people of influence and
information in the company.
 - Determine what are your accomplishments in your post
doc.  What are accomplishments that you can insert into
your resume?  Should you consider using a List of Projects
page?  What have you patented?  Published?  Presentations
at technical meetings and with customers?  Consider contacting
customers.  These are mostly involving application of
technical skills and developing new skills.
 - Have you worked on improving your soft skills?  How is
your communication, working in groups, coming up with new
ideas, implementing things and scaling up?  Any interactions
with customers, vendors, negotiations?
 - Have you developed new wise skills for your self that will
set you apart from your competition?  Do you have mentors?
Have you improved your intuition?  Do you have a working
set of keystone habits– avoiding procastination with the NOW
?  Have you further developed your “committed network.”
Now is the time to use it.

Please remember, verbal offers are not legally binding.  If
you receive an offer verbally, ask for it in writing with all the

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Statistical Correlations. Developing trends, Future of Career Management and Jobs
Filed under: Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:08 am

Mayer-Schenenberger and Cukier have pointed out that
“big data” is about PREDICTIONS.  It applies computational
algorithms and mathematics to huge quantities of data,
often, “messy data,” and infers predictions.

This active trend affects traditional sampling plans and
sample distributions since, at its aim, it collects all the data
and can, as a result, provide a clearer view of the “granularity
of the data”– the sub-categories that smaller samples can

Further predictive analytics, based on correlations, detects
directions and inferences, yet does not seek causes or
test hypotheses,  as it alerts us to what is happening.

Examples include: 
-mechanical or structural failure predictions based on heat,
        vibrational, stress and sound patterns from sensors,
-hit songs and TV programs
-Amazon  services
-evaluating candidates
-data mining drug candidates

Counter to our intuition where we evoke “causality,” in which case,
as Kahneman says, our brain is too lazy to think slowly, we jump
to shortcuts.   Big data analytics provides a “reality check.”

Take the case of Louis Pasteur “curing” rabies in the nine year old
boy, Joseph Meister,  by inoculation in 1865.  Looking at the
data, on average only one in seven people bitten by rabid dogs
ever contracts rabies.  (85% chance he would survive without

ACS needs to serve its members by continuing to collect data,
but broaden its outlook on how the data can be “mined.” 
Mayer-Schonenberger and Cukier document that data is
(1) reused, after first use, (2)merged with other datasets to explore
new venues and (3)”extended”.  By extended, we use the “data exhaust.”

There is so much more ACS can do to serve its members,
just being open to new thoughts and emerging trends and not
feeling we have done it before or falling to the NiH syndrome.
(NiH = not invented here)

Where are chemical enterprise careers moving?  What skills
will be needed?                         PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS
How do we effectively help members gain advantageous skills?
What knowledge, approaches, methods and skills should be
offered to professionals?  How can it be done cost effectively?


Federal Government Employment: Applying, securing and retaining a position
Filed under: Interviewing, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 11:36 am

This blog reported and provided
  tips on writing resumes and submitting to
  internship programs with government agencies
  finding positions in the government.
This is “internet-centric”. 

Last week our workshop included a remarkable spokeswoman,
T. Harris-Whitfield, who revealed the “hidden side” of the
application and culture in federal employment.

T. Harris-Whitfield urged people to apply early, recognizing that
you are negotiating with a bureaucracy with many levels and
components.  Proof-read everything multiple times since your
application will be going through screening from several

Describe your skills, experiences and any specialized training.
While Citizenship is often a criterion, your unique skills may
elevate consideration.
Commonly, interviewing is done by panels.  Develop an ability
to introduce yourself and perform an audience analysis so you
can speak to what they need to know.  Many positions will not
list details that you should know in advance, especially if there is
a security clearance.
The agency itself does the security clearance investigations in
a formal schedule.  Other than knowing the importance of a
“squeaky clean” background and that all references will be checked
to some degree, there is little preparation for clearances.

Questions to ask.  Since there is much that is not available in the
public domain, good questions in the interview process are also
an important element.  What does the position’s daily routine
include?  Ask about compressed schedules, student loan repayments,
relocation allowance, subsidies and training allowances.

It is important to network with people who work in the government.
They can provide useful information on pay, step levels and special
programs that can be trade-offs to enhance your hiring package.

There are a number of acronyms in the government.  So, it is not
unusual to ask for clarification.  Like e-QIP for the clearance
program, which takes some time and preparation on your part.

There are employment steps.   Permanent-Career Conditional
which is usual for first time employment.  You need to satisfy a
one year probationary term and a total of three years continuous
service for a career appointment. [Permanent-Career].

Government work is family oriented and family supporting.
As a person enters the workforce, showing the willingness to
learn and follow guidelines, without anyone looking, pays dividends.

There is a lot of “paperwork”, training and rules.

Each agency has a formal mission, structure (org chart), and does
their work in projects (with large teams).  You will be working on
challenging activities that have a major practical impact, rather
than projects that seem like “interesting science.”

Setting up “smarter” goals with deliverables  and appraisals
is the norm for individuals and teams.  Remember, experience
working as an intern, fellow or trainee count in years of
service, independent of department.

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Impact of Internet and Software on Promoting and Evaluating Candidates
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:36 pm

We are aware of major inroads of LinkedIn 1 2 3  and
Big Data in finding jobs and finding out about
ourselves and the companies we may wish to become
part of.  Online submissions are often screened using
Applicant Tracking Software ATS to search keyword
terms for sorting out the many resumes that hit their

Three tactics have been reported that I had not
seen before.  Please let me know if these are
beyond the idea stage, have some merit and are
being used.

Recently, the Economist contained a piece about
how big data and computers explored applicants’
responses, response times and consistency for
sorting candidates.  One anecdote cited a company
that asked:  Are you proficient with computers?
Y  or  N. 
Later is asked:  What doe Cntl-Z mean ?

While not everyone agrees or uses Twitter, Silverman
and Weber
believe some job seekers and employers
see this as an avenue in their job search and
recruitment.  The last line of the article may have some
merit for the cutting edge computer marketplace, as a
an “elevator pitch.”

Another Economist article cited the emergence
of talent-measurement-divisions of firms to
create psychometric tests for finding that
“needle in the haystack leader” from the pile
of applications.  One firm assesses the
“four leadership styles” [task-oriented,
participatory, socially engaging and ideal
engaging] of current leaders and matches
new candidates to their profiles.  The article
points out the negative of being able to
study for the test or “game the system.”

1 comment
Finding jobs. Importance of networking and referrals
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 1:33 pm

So, I noticed that a fellow I worked with in a mock
interview had landed a nice position in a
weekly update.

As a result, I sent him a nice congratulations note and
asked what worked for him…

-  Networking with consequential strangers
-  interview preparation and practice
-  mock interviewing
-  persistence and patience

“Thanks!  It was tough out there.  6 months and 100+
applications … with zero on-site interviews. and I was
… frustrated.  that’s when I got an email from a friend in the
physics department asking if I would be interested in
applying for a job at [Fortune 100].  He had received an
email from a friend asking if he knew any organic chemists
that might be interested in a business role…

They received over 2000 applications, and had a traditional
selection process– telephone screen, on site interview.

That is when the real preparation work started.  I worked on
things we talked about in the mock interview we had at the
ACS(Thanks!)  I spent roughly a week ‘googling’ and thinking of
answers to every situational interview question that I could find.
When I received my interview schedule I researched and read
all that was published by my hiring committee.  I learned as much
as I could about the company [from all sources]…

I nailed the day-long interview….I left there knowing I was going to
get hired.

Sadly, a few weeks later, however, they called to say they hired a
candidate internally.  I was crushed.  The hiring manager did say
to keep in touch and that they really thought I was a strong candidate…
…I thought this was just fluff but I sent an email to the hiring manager
with updated contact info and asked for some feedback on my performance
but never really heard back.

A couple of months later, I got a call from the [company] hiring manager
asking me how my progress in grad school was coming/  I felt he
was just really nice and felt for me.

About a week later I got a call from the hiring manager’s boss (Global
manager) saying he just wanted to talk me a bit and let me know this
is ‘[the] real [deal].’ 
He said I really impressed a lot of people out there and he was going to
open up a new position for me that I’d be receiving an offer if I wanted

So many ups and downs throughout the job search, but the preparation
and hard work finally paid off.  I can’t thank you enough for helping me
get through those first interview jitters.  I most likely would not
have been as confident …. without your help.  This wound up being the
perfect job opportunity for me!

Thank you again…”

1 comment
Findings about LinkedIn. Trends and Suggestions
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 10:11 am

My mind was tickled by a piece in the
Economist about the significant shift in individual job titles.  The
article revealed that the website can
track which industries and job titles are
gaining and losing.

Interestingly, “adjunct professor” is the leading
title.  Far more worthy tracking seems to be
evolving as the site has a long term view of
the people it serves and services it can provide.

Recently, I have met people who have joined
or been “coerced” into joining
and don’t have a use for belonging.  Here is a
site offering suggestions.

Hannah Morgan has some terrific suggestions
for what to provide in your profile.  We have
mentioned some before, but several seem
new, like
  - you can turn off your broadcasts if you are
working and still looking
  - avoid using the default public url;  look
at the customize your public url
While not an advocate of all of the ideas, most
are right on target.

Federal government. Tips on finding positions and drafting resumes
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Technicians, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 10:37 am

One of the outstanding things about the ACS Career
consultants program is the wisdom of training
programs that keep us informed and updated on
trends.  This happened last weekend in Ft. Worth.

The first nuggets of golden information was on
Federal government employment.  B. Bohnet of told about the “government
tsunami” that is about the strike as mission critical
occupation holders leave federal employment
leaving openings.

There is an art to searching for positions in government
service.  L. Roberson (NASA) reinforced the notion
to (1) initiate your search with broad terms, like physical
scientist or biological scientist, and narrow terms down.

(2) Develop a strategy, learn from others’ approaches and
(3) save your search terms for re-use.

(4) Plan to search weekly.  Announcements come out weekly
submission windows close on Fridays.
(5) Continuously learn in this process.  There are noteworthy
webinars and presentations in specific cities and websites.

(1) Applications are rated on a point system.  Top point
getters get the interviews for positions.
(2) Note several classes of people receive special points–
disabled, vets, peace corp,

(3) Input offered was to use the keywords given in the
job description.  The exact keywords.
(4) Organize your resumes so that you have a master resume
and targeted resumes for different positions and save them.
Check back regularly.

Future posts will provide more information about this
outstanding program.

1 comment
Career Discussion. Dual Career couples
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 5:10 pm

At a certain point many of us face a decision when
both participants in a couple have professional careers:
 > who is the leading partner,
 > who is the following partner,
 > or should we have a temporary separated existence?

It is a difficult decision.  Some couples make the decision
strictly on a monetary basis.  That is not the only way.

This past week several couples, both near to graduation and
recent grads spoke to me about where they are in
their career decision processes.
This blog entry describes case studies and tries not
to prescribe.  It will offer quick background summaries,
recent results and follow up discussions.

One couple has “partner 1″ finishing his degree in
January and “partner 2″ already finished in a nice
post-doc 500 miles away from her partner’s current
location.  Partner 1 is interviewing for full time tenure-track
positions.  Two interviews have recently been completed
and results should be announced within about a month.

They recognize the temporary nature of the 2’s post-doc
and feel, if successful, they would likely choose a
safe, secure, nearest-to-partner-2, full time position
for partner 1.
Their thinking is that partner 2 is better able to find
a strong position within the local area of 1 and 2, if
they are closely located.  They seek fewer moves.

Another tactic looks two steps ‘down the road.’
Look at the eventual offers of the full time positions
from both and evaluate the greater geographic areas
of the offers — which one provides greater long term
-Get your networks working about this.
-Get connected to people who can be a hub in the
new location.  [ACS is a terrific national resource for

Partner 1 has received a full time offer in Cincinnati.
Partner 2 has a promising post-doc in her field that will
propel her career 500 miles away.

They have decided not to split up but move to
Cincinnati.  They will inquire with the firm and
ask for help finding a position. 

In a similar tactic, involve your networks in finding
hidden positions for partner 2. 

There are differences between these first two cases
1.     one of the positions is a permanent position
in an industrial firm.
2.     offers have been made and relocation trips
have been taken, the permanent position has been
3.     Cincinnati has a regional presence of Fortune
500 companies and industries which can be
opportunities.  {More significant factor}

It is possible that the security of the academic
position might be just as long/short as the industrial
firm, in these economic times.

Partner 1 is in his second year in a TN post-doc. 
Partner 2 was offered a less than median salary in
a  two-year rotational assignment role
(1000 miles away from TN). 
Partner 2 also has a post-doc offer in a top 20 university,
less than 2 hours drive away (100 miles from TN).

She decided the location of the permanent position
was too far (1000 miles) and salary did not justify
continued separation and expected costs.  The post-doc
offers higher longer term prospects and allows the
couple to delay the more permanent location choice.

Action items:  Consider a permanent location which
has a diversity of industries that can allow better
career management.  In larger, growing metropolitan
areas a person can move from one company to another
without having to relocate.  This is where the post-doc
position is located.

Partner 1 expects to graduate very soon and has
interviewed and been offered a full-time position.
Partner 1 has applied for proper Australian visa. 
If the visa is granted within a couple of weeks of
the offer,
evaluate the trade-offs the full time position
provides in terms of experience, expanding
her network and compensation.

Recently, Partner 1 received her visa notification.

Recast the resume into a form for the Australian
job market.  Begin marketing, finding openings
and leading employers in Australia.

This topic is not given enough attention for our
foreign born graduates and post docs.  You have
to be in their shoes to understand. 

1 comment
Self-Assessment. What should you do in your career? What are you passionate about?
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:05 pm

Take a moment and think about how you would
respond:  What is your passion?  What are you
passionate about?

In the 21st century world, this can be a leading
driver for what fields you want to enter as your

Many career consultants, web pages and motivational
speakers will ask you: what are your likes and interests
Why is that?  That is because a “like becomes a
passion when it repeats with regularity? 1

So, take the time, even if you are in your mid-
career, to identify what you enjoy, what motivates
you to get up early and gives you energy to not
give up when you are tired.

Go beyond the listing of likes and interests and
examine under the surface why you like that ‘like,’
what generates the ‘like’ feeling?  Explore what
are the basic parts that are good and those that
you would prefer to exclude.  Here is a client’s
example:  ‘My passion is creatively improving
business processes to fulfill clients’ needs.  It
must include a fast-paced environment, fast
feedback cycles, strong customer involvement
and computer-integrated solutions.  I would
love to have the chance to “pitch proposals
to clients”.
It should avoid long distance travel by air. ‘

Are there jobs that would allow me to do this–
technological solutions, interaction with people,
training, problem solving and computer software
design, fast-paced, high energy, relationship building
as much is done by referrals..?

How can I do as much of this without having
to do airplane flights?

In other words, how can my life be arranged so
that I can do what I am passionate about, in
its purest form, and avoid what I do not like to

Set doing your passion as your goal.
Don’t be afraid of moving toward your goals,
even when it involves change.  Take
unfortunate events as learning steps on your
way to achieving what you want, your goal.

Be serious about making your passion a goal and
seeking it.

Two great links about motivation and coaching
for positive outcomes are S. Jobs’ Stanford
commencement address and D. Pink’s blog
about the importance of a person’s state of
mind.  [Brief notes on each are in the

Are LinkedIn Profiles added to or replacing Resumes
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:08 am

The more I correspond and speak with mid-career
people and recent grads, the more I find that a
large segment are finding “LinkedIn profiles” are
providing more opportunities for landing
interviews than their resume.  [Consider listing
yours in your Resume heading.]

  - much easier to access 24/7,
  - keyword rich screening,
  - can be linked to resources, like web-page,
publication files, presentations in the cloud
  - can reveal much more in a short time, than
a traditional resume.

What enables the LinkedIn profile?
[See Tom Merlino article and profile, for example.]
  - You can create your own community on LinkedIn
geared to your own field, sub-field and community.
  - Have links to your lists of projects (in the cloud),
patents, presentations and publications that show
your expertise and accomplishments.  [True, you
should not reveal proprietary information.  That
is the value of a project list with keywords.]
  - Keep in mind “searchable” and “advanced
search capabilities.”
  - Have your profile reveal your interests and needs,
not just that you are there…
  - L-I may be serviceable for entrepreneurs, small
company employees and departments in large
organizations where communication is not far

What else is possible?
Terrific insight into who one might network with
is provided by M. Tullier.   Her STARS acronym:
Strategists- coaching & feedback for goals
Targets- prospects for employers, customers,
Allies- technical experts you can consult
Role models- mentors
Supporters- keep you focused on your goals

For those just starting out, A. Brandt’s file seems
to be a creditable resource.

The summary in these profiles should be
designed for easier reading stating clearly your
goals.  This might seem a bit different from your
resume which reveals skills and your match to an

Your current position trumpets that you enjoy what
you are doing in a real organization, whether it be
as a individual contributor or part of a team.

Just as we are finding wireless communications
tools an extension of ourselves, your LinkedIn
profile is an extension of our resume.  So,
still continue to maintain your “master resume.”
Still develop targeted resumes for applying for
specific positions.  Regularly, update all these
files.  Some people suggest every 2-3 months.

Searching for positions and contacts.
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:53 am

A common question many recent grads ask came in an
Email recently: 

“I’ve been trying to make as many connections as I can. 
Although, I’m finding that most of my references have
connections in academia and since I would prefer working
in a government research lab or in industry compared to
academia, they have not been able to help so much in
that area. 
Do you have any suggestions as to how I can make
connections in these areas of employment?”

 - Join and participate in professional organizations
 - Attend meetings and engage in conversation and information
   interviews with attendees and speakers
 - Determine where graduates from your group, department and
   school have ended up.  Contact them.
 - Expand your personal network, include ‘consequential
   strangers,’ and people who know people ‘go to the second
   tier in your network’
 - Search in Blog, may also provide ideas for you
   Social media searching
   Consequential strangers and being prepared
   Go outside field of concentration
   Relocation factors in tight economy
 - Use to explore particular people.

1 comment
Resumes and CVs
Filed under: Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:13 am

Over and over, people early in their career can not fathom
the key differences and similarities of these two public
relations documents.

In fact, we may offer some help in that a curriculum vitae
CV can represent a “master resume”  or starting point
Nonetheless, CVs can also be organized to be more
easily readable and targeted for specific academic positions. 
Think of the long term value of continuously maintaining
a CV.  From the master CV/resume you can select items
to go into targeted CVs (reorganized to match needs) or
targeted resumes (shorter to show match to needs).  This
highlights the need to develop specific resumes for each
position and a different one for job fairs.

Both named documents, CVs and resumes, serve you when
they are well organized and  easy to read.  A simple analogy
was offered by B. Sucher as opening your refrigerator or
kitchen food cabinets. 
Does it look like a random placement wherever there was
room at the time? 
Does it look distinct with easy to locate items, unique,
keyword accented, and professional ?
If it is like the former it will not be read.

If you go to generic placement centers in institutions, many
will offer what business centered documents are preferred,
rather than scientific and technical organizations seek.  That
is one of the clear values of working with industry professionals
associated with professional societies.  My experience with
outplacement firms and unemployment centers, bless their
hearts, models and examples are similar.  Do your best to
meet with people in the industry or company you seek to
work in–  honestly it will serve you well.

None of the places one goes for advice will support
incomplete or factually distorted documents either. 
B. Safani wrote about well known misrepresentations
in resumes
that stand as eye-openers.  In fact, one person
early in my course this year asked me what I felt about
lying in resumes, as everyone does it– to which I said
now you have met someone who has not, nor does not
recommend misrepresenting anything on a CV or resume.
It did reveal to me a little about her expectations.

Resume reviewers pick up distortions in resumes
and can easily verify things that do not make sense.
In one resume, a person wanted to pass off that he
had business training in MBA courses that he did not
take, but audited.  In another, a person wanted to
reveal “leading a collaborative project,” which seems
like an oxymoron. 

Finally, I agree with the observation made by D. Dib
that resumes are finding serious competition from
Internet based profiles, like  I also note
a significant comment by L. Kursmark that Heading
information in on line resumes or profiles are becoming
shorter due to internet security issues.  1 

comments (0)
Searching for Companies. Using Social media
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:53 am

The topic of using social media in a job search
is common with several firm offering to provide
advice and services for you.  This is in addition
to the social web sites Facebook, LinkedIn,
Twitter, even ACS Network offering to be
“your tool of choice” for finding openings.

It might be worth first pointing out that job
seekers have different purposes at different
phases in their job search of their goal of landing
a job. 

Far be it for me to suggest one “best” source
for all purposes.  It might be wiser to understand
that before pursuing top firms on your list, you
have two parallel activities– (1a) determining your
musts, wants and restrictions and (1b) gathering
information about companies and industries.

Once you get a handle on your personal assessment
and what is available, then for most, there is a need
to narrow down your search to (2) identify where you
might focus your effort.  A divided effort can yield
limited results or take longer.  Being able to focus on
a few target companies or institutions will help you
make progress. 

There are many routes to obtaining information and
among them are the social media tools.  I liked some
of Mark’s comments in Applicant blog comparing
the use of social media on this subject.  Then, once
your targets are identified you are served well by (3) creating
strategies to introduce yourself and your desire to work
at them.  There is no single approach for doing this.
Although social media may help, networking, identifying
current employees who can refer your resume and
interest to hiring authorities and creating an “introduction
opportunity” will be important for job seekers.  No
single route works for all.

Persistence, rather than which is the “right way,” is
often the best advice.

Job postings will show up on many sites.  But, as we know,
most jobs are not formally posted.  They are in the “hidden
job market.”

As we move closer to the interview stage both formal
connections and informal connections can prove helpful
for job seekers. (4) In anticipation of screening interviews,
learning about new products, recent news, and positive
(or negative) outlooks are timely.  Finding consequential
and secondary network connections who can
offer advice or a good word help, too.

I have recommended tools like to (5) inform
“on-site interviewers” about the people with whom they
will interview at companies.

Blogs and other tools can be helpful for (6) learning about
insiders’ views and rumors about company changes
that are not formally public knowledge or are
buried.  (I know this was the case at a company
I previously worked for.)

Beyond this, some blogs can be helpful in (7) learning
appropriate salary ranges and items that can be
sought in negotiations.  These rarely show up in
social media.

We mentioned seven specific areas in a job search.
Popular and common social media seem to provide
value for several of them.  It is helpful then for the
job seeker to have a purpose in mind when using
these social media.  For some purposes, their value
might not be high.

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