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

November 2021
« Sep    
Professional Behavior. Dealing with Catastrophic Challenges
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 3:34 pm

We recently observed close friends living in CA who lost
their home and most of its contents to wildfires.  Another
friend was overtaken by back pain making it difficult to
work.  A third friend lost her husband suddenly.

These are hard things to face.  So is losing one’s job and
other “black elephant” events.  
This entry offers some ideas for actions you can do
at separate stages in your career.
 - develop a detailed “master resume” [  2 ], develop a
credible internet presence 
 - monitor daily your credit card and financial records,
noting unusual events.  Have an action plan ready–
 - have an 
action plan ready for losing credit cards, cell
phones or cars
.  Don’t wait for the unfortunate event to happen–
have paid up insurance, contact numbers organized,
detailed information to provide 
 - record retention file guidance retention
1 year:  payroll stubs, bill statements
6 years:  income tax records and related forms
7 years:  critical slips, statements and cancelled checks
Permanent:  investment records, pension papers, insurance
policies, contracts, personal-  birth certificates, military,
marriage, divorce, adoption, naturalization and citizenship
real estate
 - always enroll in substantial disability insurance
 - continue all the early career record-keeping
 - formulate a document location spreadsheet, what is in
your safety deposit box
 - have a list of people and institutions with their contact
information for banks, brokerages, lawyers, physicians
 - formulate a will, powers of attorney, and care for
children:  instructions who would raise them in your
 - organize important family photos, papers and records
 - take the initiative to ward off identity theft 
 - visit trust attorneys and determine who you would like
to represent you
 - interview and work with a financial adviser
 - organize a checklist for what to do when a loved one
dies [see comment]
 - wealth transfer planning
Suggestions for actions if you lose your position
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:24 pm

Over a 30 - 45 year career, most everyone gets relieved of their
position.  Sometime it is sudden, other times there are indicators
that some positions will be severed and still other times we are
faced with a choice to stay or leave.

Let me pose that it should be part of our regular personal planning
process that we consider building resilience into our thinking.  Create
your personal action plan, keep your options open and know what
your personal goals, musts and wants are.
As much as possible plan so that it is not a total surprise.
Ruth Umoh contributed a piece offering things to do if you lose
your position.  I cannot agree with her more on
1.  don’t lose your “cool”, stay calm and manage your emotions
2.  personally ask for recommendations from specific individuals
(If someone hesitates at all, or will not provide a good one, move
2a.  these days more and more Linkedin recommendations can be
a useful starter in situations where policies limit employees from
providing recommendations.
3.  You should be continually active in your professional network,
also ask references for their network contacts and ideas.
I found Umoh’s thoughts about cleaning up your facebook, online
profiles and photos and comments something that might be easily 
Formulate a modifiable plan of action that includes 
and pull marketing
, situations where you you meet people 
in person and volunteer roles in professional organizations.
Taking shorter term, temporary roles may be a big plus, while
you enroll for unemployment benefits and update your master
resume, targeted resumes for each position and Linkedin
profiles using current keywords for your industry and field.
Consider asking for outplacement services as part of your
severance package, while being wary of noncompete documents
that you have signed.
Listening. Mlodinow’s “Subliminal”
Filed under: Interviewing, Mentoring, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 12:30 pm

Mlodinow, in Subliminal, delivers a clearly written book that helps
us understand Listening and Remembering.  He explains that it all
comes from William Carpenter’s book “Principles of Mental
 Physiology” in which he told that human brains carry out three
things simultaneously–  autonomous functioning (without formal
thinking), conscious mental actions, and unconscious processing.

When we listen we hone in on specific utterances and fill in the
gaps with our unconscious.  It is similar to the way computers
capture images and store them as thumbnails.  Taking in certain 
‘pixelated’ data, allowing us to reconstruct by filling in the details.
Our memory on the other hand is known to be “faulty”.  We are
almost always never right with our recollections unless we take
special precautions to capture details.  People try to maintain a
story’s general form, drop and change others to make us be able
to tell stories “confabulating” choices we make in the dropped
Thus, false memories  and misinformation is a common human
frailty.  With time we drop more and more information.
Mlodinow offers several examples one of the most striking is 
James Dean, President Nixon’s personal attorney, in his responses
in the Watergate hearings.  Mlodinow writes that Dean misstated 
and mixed up nearly every detail of the affairs in which he was
involved based on a comparison of actual tape recordings from
the Oval Office and the Watergate hearings.  At the time, we
were informed that Dean had a nearly perfect memory.
This goes to point out the importance of having and maintaining
a calendar, a professional daily diary, an ‘idea notebook’ and records
of key goals, accomplishments, master resume, and personal
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Undergraduate Job Search Workshop.
Filed under: Position Searching, First Year on Job, Technicians, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 1:31 pm

Last weekend we were part of a team presenting a job search
workshop for undergraduate chemistry field majors
at UConn. 
It was well attended and provi ded resume reviews and mock
interviews in addition to four topical discussions tuned to this
audience’s needs.

Four discussion areas from the day workshop are presented to readers.
 1.  Thesis or non-thesis masters is a graduate school option that was
new to many.  The thesis option involves a specialized project with
a professor.  It can require a longer term of study due to the research
in your domain.  The non-thesis option often involves a mini project
or a comprehensive exam to meet the requirements of the degree. 
The exam is taken after you have completed certain courses.

Choosing the thesis option can allow you to receive an assistantship
during your program.

Some fields prefer the thesis option as it allows a learning by doing
a new project to come up with outcomes.  If funding is limited, a
project reaches an end or facilities are not available the non-thesis
can be preferred.  Some fields, like geology, have reported the
non-thesis option has advantages as reported a Colorado School of mines.

 2.  Some firms reportedly use Jobvite to facilitate hiring.  People
have reported problems uploading their documentsJobvite specifies
that resumes need to be Word or “unlocked PDF” file formats
and that after uploading to populate application fields, you need to
use the attach button to include part for your application file.

You need to follow uploading instructions to the T.  Some instructions
include word limits, some seek a specific number of writing samples,
and others have specific deadline dates .

Barbara Safani points out that many people make the mistake of
taking their formatted Word document and uploading it into a text
on a company website.  Formatting is lost.  So it is prudent to
follow the specific job search instructions.

 3.  Traveling to an onsite interview can be a challenge.  Ask for
specific directions
to specific gates before you go.  Know who you
are to meet and their telephone number
in case of a delay, expecting
to arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled first meeting time.

Interestingly a number of companies now require following ITAR
.  Thus to facilitate the special ITAR badge bring your
passport with you if you are an international candidate.

 4.  I was surprised that my colleagues felt it was fine to ask about
salary during the onsite interview
.  This might be the case, if you
had a very promising position in hand or were working in a good
position already.
You should always be ready to respond to a salary requirements
or what has been your salary in the past three positions…
There are pitfalls for coming in low or coming in high.  So, a response
to that query would be here is a range and you would consider any
reasonable offer where you can make a difference doing something you
are good at.

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Resumes. “Master” and Targeted
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 6:09 am

Yesterday I enjoyed a conversation with a resume reviewer
who has a senior level position in a government organization.
He shared several poignant remarks about his experiences
when he often reviews resumes to bring in candidates to
interview for technical positions.

He expressed disbelief that some resumes seem to be
unrelated to the “must and wants” described in the requirements.  To him, it seemed they were
applying simply based on their degrees.  
Some resumes contain typos or do not meet the specifications
listed in the instructions to authors.  Others list out extensive
biographies with many bullets unrelated to the description.
Some are three and more pages long and don’t realize how
their resume will be evaluated.  [They don’t read the 
evaluation criteria listed in the description.]
There are some positive things he reinforced that can be
useful tips for people who are in the job market.  Have
a master resume, but do not use it for your submission
as it is too long with unrelated TMI (too much information]
items.  Use a “targeted resume” for your application.
Why have the master resume?  Well, because you will need
a little more detail to include in your federal positions, like: 
 - month/date for starting and ending roles 
 - details on your personal history, military service, VISTA
city, state and ZIP of employers, hours per week worked,
level of experience via roles and responsibilities, reverse
chronological order, specific keywords in the description.
[see the above link.]
Master resumes provide a useful resource that each of 
us can use throughout our careers.  It is not what we 
actually submit.  It is a data resource that needs to be
regularly updated and refreshed … think about former
companies who have changed names, and addresses
of your references, keywords, list of projects some which
were shorter term and even incomplete.
Targeted resumes are “marketing documents” that may
be read by people who without the formal technical
background.  Appearance makes a difference, so avoid
using ‘fill in the blanks’ forms. and software that does
not always translate when uploaded.
(.doc, for example– .pdf or .txt may work better).
Honesty is always expected and it is easier to verify
things via the Internet.
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How do you apply for a position?
Filed under: Position Searching, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:05 am

An email came from Lee the other day:

“guidance on contacting a job poster before sending a resume”

which seemed curious. 
  Was it a poster session? 
  Was it a position seen on a job board? 
  Did it ask to upload the resume to an online address?

We clarified things over the next few days.  He read an
attractive job board posting on Linkedin for a firm that would
make sense for his career path.

But, we know you help yourself in obtaining an interview if you
can be referred by an employee or better yet the hiring manager.
To do that Lee might informally contact an employee who is
part of your network or extended network and pursue at
least an ‘information interview.’   It would possibly allow a
‘networking interview’ as well.  [Parts of the Interviewing
, see the side bar for details on each type of interview]

My suggestions to him included:
  1.  CONTENT It would be important to formulate the public
relations documents incorporating keywords that will be sought. 
  2.  FORMAT If you can speak to someone who does interview
for the company you can ascertain if there is any specific
elements and style resume reviewers prefer.
  (business style
focus, chronological, technical focus, research summary,
particular cover letter, Europass format for international, etc.) 
  3.  Does he have network members who work at the company?
Has he spoken with the network contact about the position?
(Think about possible win-win situations– employee referral
can lead to a bonus for the employee.)
  4.  Liz Ryan wrote a nice piece how Linkedin can assist the
job search process of narrowing down the companies, finding
hiring managers, learning about the culture and interview
expectations you may encounter.  This too could lead to a
pull marketing mechanism since you might be able to curate
your Linkedin profile to be picked up by recruiters.
  5.  Plan a follow-up campaign that includes thank you notes,
talking up the network participants, modifying the PR documents
as appropriate, setting a timeline for follow-up communication
and including it in the cover letter.
  6.  Do detailed research on the firm.  Patents, business results,
investment insights.
  7.  Enter total information into your job search spreadsheet
that tracks all communication.


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Transitions in Careers. Professional Behaviors. Internships
Filed under: First Year on Job, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:33 am

Internships can provide excellent interludes where we experience
what it is like in an organization (conversations, interactions,
, assignments) can perform new and goal oriented work
(goal-setting, application of know how and knowledge),
can meet and work for a short term mentor, and see how
things are done in another setting (culture).

My career had three “internships”– two in a medical school
biochemistry lab and one in am NSF Center of Excellence
program.  That was then, now interns need to be more proactive,
especially near the end of their internship experience.

In fact, I suggest doing AfterActionReviews of your
internship program and keep it in your Master resume
portfolio.  AARs are recognized as a knowledge transfer
and retention tool for capturing implicit and tacit pieces.
[See Knowledge Management.. Administrative Services link]

For those early in their careers, it might be useful to start with
- outlining all the tasks and assignments, completed and
- communicating in person
- seeking feedback on areas of improvement
- asking for longer term connection with people in
your thank you communication.

People in your junior and senior years [REU programs and
such] and in your graduate career level are advised to display
the maturity of performing AARs, drawing conclusions and
offering reverse mentoring.

Detailed description of AARs:  S. Salem-Schatz, D. Ordin,
B. Mittman, “Rapid Post-Project Assessment

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Other Documents.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:48 pm

We led a seminar discussion that resulted from the
thoughts of Don Street about addressing the process of
reviewing our public relations documents
.  Don relates
that (1) first we must convert the “uninterested (or uninvested)
reader” to an “interested reader”.

Then we need to (2) convince that interested reader that
we have the insights, background and hard skills
to be
successful not only in the interview, but also in the position.

The seminar discussed these after reviewing “what counts”
factors and expectations for positions in different career paths. 

It is common knowledge that most corporate and government
employers use applicant tracking system software or
grade submitted applications packages.  Thus, targeted
resumes using specific key words
are important to convert
the uninterested to interested reader.  Much the same
occurs in academia using CVs and cover letter to introduce
yourself to the review committee.

Recruiters now also strategically use your Linkedin
profile to predominantly screen potential candidates, but
also interrogate an in depth profile on you.  Part of
push-pull marketing that we should perform.

We then reviewed some “other ” documents that may
enhance your candidacy, including, corporate career path,
-  linkedin profile
-  list of projects
-  accomplishment summary (research, for example)
-  field research (business development, for example)
-  synopsis of patent, copyright, review article
-  summary of industry insights

For academic career paths, “other” documents include
-   teaching philosophy
-   research proposals (preparation helped by having research
idea notebook)
-           note also Heilmeier commandments
-   start up funding and equipment list
-   course description and syllabus
-   “five slides” document (prepared for screening interviews)
-   management philosophy
-   registration in ResearchGate

Government positions “other” documents include
-   Master resume in
-   targeted resumes with keywords throgh
-   DD-214 military record
-   SF-50
look also at
where you are asked about KSAs knowledge, skills and

Resumes in 2015. Resume file, Linkedin Profile, Integrity, Different Content for Different Roles
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:16 pm

In today’s competitive and uncertain, virtual and interactive,
career and job-assignment marketplace, technical resumes
are only one part of your public relations portfolio.

Any consultant or reviewer who examines and critiques
only one document is shortsighted and not necessarily
offering you up-to-date advice.  Why?  We are approaching,
if we have not already reached, a ‘virtual presence’ world. 
Your presence (or absence from) in the Internet is larger
and may be more critical for you achieving your goal of
interacting with company representatives.  You have to
pay strong attention to addressing this market place. 
The profile can be targeted differently than your specific
resume file that you send to each individual company.

Lindsey Pollack
and Arnie Fertig highlight many
features of resumes vs. profiles and Linkedin’s mission.
In addition, it can be valuable to have a master resume
that you maintain throughout your career.  It  contains
all your personal information from which you
choose items to include in targeted resumes and

Organization, ease of reading, use of significant-in-
your-field keywords and ethical behaviors are important.
(Resumes also:  brevity, specificity and clarity)

I respect Tom Kellum who reported that resumes
“rule people out.’  In the business side of the enterprise.
the hiring authority seeks a person who can help her
reach her goals faster.  The resume, he points out, reveals
the past and not the “intangible futures.”  On the technical
side of the enterprise
, describing our accomplishments
reveals our Key Skills and Abilities KSA which can be
applied to solve problems and innovate.
So, not only are there differences in hard copy and
virtual documents, each of which is searchable, but
also different roles will represent us with different
styles of content.

Due to this, there are sometimes grey areas” in the
ways things are described
.  In addition, some people
might misrepresent titles, dates, areas of responsibility,
accomplishments and other details to make
themselves appear more attractive.  Comments in
various places point out there is little or no checking,
in the virtual world.  [This is a potential downside.
Rest assured, however, most significant, untrue content is
eventually discovered and there are serious con-

The grey areas extend to the ATS Applicant tracking system
software tools that review and find our profile or resume.
ATS output from our resumes can be erroneous as well.
It is a computer output without human intervention.

Public relations documents are an inexact science that
we have to work through to manage our careers.
 - master resume should be comprehensive and correct
 - Linkedin profile should be complete and regularly
updated [if project based or entrepreneurial, consider
a web-page as well]
 - targeted resumes, technical or business focused
 - each item should be keyword rich
 - follow ACS integrity guidelines.

Reminder:  Don Straits indicates the resume file contains
cover letter, resume, list of publications, patents and
presentations, specialized addenda (like research
summary, industry summary, patent review, management
philosophy, etc.) and list of references.

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Resumes. First step suggestions
Filed under: Public Relations docs, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:55 pm

So often career consultants get requests to review resumes
by nearly-ready-for-thesis-and-defense PhD or MS student or
a post doc.  When career consultants ask, for good reason,
what position are they applying for, they say

“As far as industries go, I am actually pretty interested in
defense, aerospace, and the like [or medicinal chemistry
or pharmaceutical chemistry and toxicology or chemical
biology or engineering modeling of complex processes] . 
I also wouldn’t mind teaching at a
small college somewhere
with tenure.”

The resume they send me will not land them an interview.
The reason is: the document is an incomplete mixture of a
CV and a resume that does not answer the questions each
kind attempts to offer to the reviewer.

The resume writer, not knowing what career path to aim for first,
might best begin by completing a “master resumeor complete
CV with all personal date.  Jessica Holbrook Hernandez nicely
described the Master Resume as a resource document containing
every skill, valid dates, all positions and accomplishments,
no matter whether in school, as a volunteer or for employment.

All of the information does not necessarily end up in a
targeted resume
which would be sent to land an interview for an
industrial position nor in a CV for academic positions.

In all cases, though, we need to include Keywords used in
the field or industry.  If a person applies to different organizations
for example, one might use NMR for another you might use MRI.

I am always surprised that people use some standard Office
format, when they should realize not everyone uploads
preserving the formatting.  (Read the instructions link for
uploading) Or, that your name should be on
each page with its page number, except page 1.

Another surprise is presuming that the resume reviewer
will be able to figure out the formatting or will understand the
unique meanings of things
like:  ‘pristene graphene,’ phi
lambda upsilon, and ccd (not charge coupled device).

In 2014 the resume document alone is insufficient.  So
much transpires on the Internet, you need to also have
a strong, attractive and complete profile on the web.  One
of the most common is a Linkedin Profile.  A solid
commentary on areas to emphasize is given by Interns over
40 blog
.  It is not a bad idea to list this information in the
resume heading.

Watch-Outs. 68. Internships, Resumes, Retirement Planning
Filed under: Public Relations docs, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:22 pm

Recent graduates and post-docs seem to be better prepared for
industrial positions now if they have either been in a co-op
program or been involved in internships.  We point to a broader
article on the practice of internships and highlight useful
ideas (namely proceed with caution for unpaid positions and
have a very good idea why you want the experience and what
you will do with the experience.).

While I still recommend value in creating a master
resume or CV to capture all of your experiences, credentials,
projects, avocations, and areas of work interest, specifically
targeted with keywords ready for scanning documents are
what a leading resume coach recommends.

One of the better recent articles describing retirement
planning is pointed out.  It points out some considerations
that might influence organization, planning and spending

SOURCE:  The Economist, 9-6-14, p. 61
Generation i” (small i)
From one point of view this article reviews the history
of interns and experiences of mostly “unpaid internships”
which seem to be a last choice option.  The “comments”
section offers a rebuttal that the article misses paid
internships in technical positions lasting 2-6 months.
Paid internships in the best of cases (25%) offers
an in-person experience that is outside of the academic
arena and is an investment in you.

SOURCE:  Career Hub, Jean Cummings
The Kind of resume that works now“ 
Jean really emphasizes the need to study the job
description carefully and pick out the job titles
and keywords unique to the position.  Then
incorporate them into your cover letter and your
resume in context.  ATS software is the rule such
that once it is scanned and sorted reviewers spend
5-6 seconds reading an easy to read, specific,
and targeted resume.

SOURCE:  R. Kapadia, Barrons, 9-22-14, p. 23
Don’t Panic
Point by point discussion first discussing myths
touching on
- spending in retirement is fluid, not constant
- within 10 years of retirement, half are single,
especially lower educated
- the impact of children/minors is substantial

Then, covering Important steps which include:
-   regularly updated budgeting, manage your cash
flow and plan state and federal taxes
-   have fewer fixed expenses;  pay things off
-   behavioral economics applies– in down
years, spend less
-   very good advice on tax diversification

Added notes on Long term care
-   it will happen
-   industry is changing , select broadest definition
of care givers, begin reimbursements after
calendar days (not service days)
-   pay attention to elimination period

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Watch-Outs 65. Career Management for International and Diverse Audiences.
Filed under: Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 1:05 pm

Another map to consider for career management in
the UK is offered by Vitae.  Where this NESACS blog
describes a focus on the interviewing continuum, with
the zeroth level (self assessment), steps before, during
and after interviewing
, Vitae partitions the career
management steps into:
 - understand yourself
 - plan your career
 - hear from others
 - virtual interviews
 - explore the market
 - network and develop matches

Jean Cummings wrote about the significant rise in the near
future of contract technical workers.  To be competitive in this
emerging marketplace of multi-national and multi-cultural
professionals, she highlighted being able to
1.  present your goals, values and attributes to different
audiences who may ask for your services or you see a match
to what you can offer.  (your brand statement)
2.  describe stories that provide clear examples of your efforts,
outcomes and impacts.  (STAR or SARI, situation-task-action-
result or situation-action-result-implication)
3.  develop habit stacks (demonstrating desirable soft skills)
and wise skills that will differentiate you.

This is a daunting task.  She offered two dozen tips for working
with recruiters for getting their attention, positive feedback
and interest in bringing you on-board.

1 comment
Watch-outs. 54. Merged airline Flight prices, External-success vs. internal-value, Near wins
Filed under: Position Searching, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:56 am

We have a changing world, mostly out of our control.
Recently we can find airline prices for one part of a
merged airline be different than that offered from a
second part, although they are the same seat on the
same flight.
David Brooks spoke about a dialog individuals might
be having with themselves later in life, mostly, that
shines a light on perspectives of life.
Finally Sarah Lewis speaks about success in a different
vein where striving for personal mastery and why we might
do a blog like this.

SOURCE:  S. McCartney, WSJ 5-15-14, Airline Riddles:
the story behind price gaps on flights shared by American
and US Airways,…

While most of us know that airline seat prices for flights
can change from one moment to another based on
market and availability, this article addresses another
interesting phenomenon about the same seat being
sold at different prices by different parts of a merged
airline.  One suggestion in the comments is to use Expedia
to explore reservations.

Interesting reading for cost conscious travelers.

SOURCE:  D. Brooks, TED Talk:  Should you live by your
resume or your eulogy;
Modern society features a view, Brooks opines, that favors
cleverness and being a cold calculating person for advantage.
When a different view might be taken to earn the life well
lived.  You go into yourself examining your weaknesses and
wrestle with what you wish to be.

Brooks often writes thoughtfully about thoughts, actions
and consequences.

SOURCE:  S. Lewis, TED “Embrace the near win
Carefully articulate story telling about archers gaining
mastery over an art over time with patience, diligence and
grit.  It is different than the accomplishment of the moment,
called success.

Lewis hits the nail on the head for what professionals seek.


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Intersection of Technical Skills and Marketing
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 9:20 am

It is challenging for people in technical fields
to consider the changes in the employment marketplace
today.  So much can seem to be against our better natures
where we are taught that deep study and inspiration can
pay dividends.

A.  Big prize awards are offered for innovative ways of
solving human problems or for commercial innovation,
using crowd-sourcing approaches [See Chapter 5 of the
Second Machine Age, by E. Brynjolfsson and A. McAfee]

B.  Digitized, specialized robotic equipment replace
people doing certain tasks.  And strange concepts like
Maravec’s paradox:  high level reasoning requires little
computation, but lower level sensorimotor skills
require enormous computational resources.

These and many other examples lead critics to dismiss
all of these as re-packaging things for the wifi-computerized

Recently, a faculty member asked me what I proposed to
do in a workshop.  Before I could answer, he smiled while
dispelling his disbelief, you are not going to just talk about
“polishing the apple”.

The supply and demand picture of technically trained people
continues to shift and while your technical substance needs
to be strong, you need to recognize the need to stand out
from other equally qualified professionals.  You can learn
to improve listening skills, demonstrate curiosity and
make a compelling case for yourself in voice, style and
nonverbal communications.  You can do this without being
inauthentic or deceptive in your motives.

Specific evidence is in creating cover letters and resumes
that are specific, clear, easy to read and brief (error-free, too)
They do not have to be encyclopedic and cover all aspects.
Yet, they need to be targeted and show an understanding of
marketing to your audience/customer.

Specific evidence is also in knowing what apparel is expected when
you arrive for interviews, and how you connect with people
in informal and formal settings. 

Again, you are marketing a product–  yourself.

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Year End Highlights
Filed under: Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 4:12 pm

Most of the readers or browsers of this blog are tuned to
careers in technical disciplines– chemistry, and its affiliated
sciences and engineering, physics, biology and physical
sciences and medically and material sciences.  Much of
the blog’s attention addresses
 - mainline job hunting skills and trends,
 - public relations documents (CV’s, resumes,
cover letters, research summaries, research proposals,
list of publications, list of references and the like)
 - interviewing and its continuum before, during and after
formal interviews,
 - decision processes and thinking.

This year in addition to these topics we have ventured
into a series of wise skills, which differentiates highly
qualified candidates from those who eventually receive
job offers.
  intentional attention
  NOW to overcome procrastination
  audience analysis, key to delivering an impactful presentation
  mentors and board members for start-ups.
  committed networking

We continued to delve deeply into the nuances of INTERVIEWS
since after all this is usually where our performance bears
on the hiring decision.  As situations arose during the year
on various parts of the interviewing continuum and its zeroth
, the personal self assessment, topics included were:
  mock interviews
  interviewing “red flags
  business interview apparel
  screening interview questions
  academic interviews
Several career and job trends were highlighted, including:
  interdisciplinary areas
  marketing strategies
  job growth areas
  Job descriptions
  Internet presence
  job search approaches

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Mentoring. Case Studies for Post-doc, Permanent and Entrepreneurial Positions
Filed under: Position Searching, Mentoring, First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 5:49 pm

This might be a controversial entry describing what happened recently.

A hand full of situations of professionals who have asked for
specific mentoring assistance from me are shared.

MM has a world of experience going for him.  He is a service
veteran who returned to graduate school and has finished his PhD
in materials science.  We worked hard on his public relations
documents and interviewing skills.

He told me when we met in June that he landed a full time position
in a government engineering facility. saying he was most comfortable
in the military environment.  I congratulated him on his achievement,
but offered my thoughts that he may find his career stifled.  If he was
happy, secure and challenged by what he was tasked to do, I was pleased
for him.

Speaking with one of his classmates, I learned that he was starting a
new assignment in the US PTO (patent and trademark office).  Now,
I was pleased.  He was listening–  landing one position in government
is like getting your foot in the door and other opportunities can open
up to you.

AG asked if we could have a conversation about his start-up
venture.  He had formulated a good idea and was seeking advisers
and help getting started.  We agreed that he could pick me up at
the airport and discuss things over lunch. 

He made his “idea pitch” to me with enthusiasm, passion and promise.
He even asked for a small amount of follow up involvement.  Then,
I had to ask some “stinging questions.”  Does he have mentors in
the field?  which I learned from Tom Ashbrook’s podcast.  I asked AG
if he was planning to have a “board of advisers?”   While he did not
he thought it was a solid idea.

Did he have a timeline, first product innovation and a first customer
in mind that will shake out the bugs?  He and his collaborator had
initial notions and a start, but it is still in the formative stages.

Then, I asked for a business card.  He had one but it did not
describe what he and his business can do for customers.  Then,
we reviewed his personal performance–listening skills, body
language, small talk, willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ and more.

AG is technically skilled.  Technical skills alone do not get
you the job
or assignment.  So, my role as a mentor was to
provide honest, objective feedback.  His role was to assess
it and provide appropriate follow-up.  It should involve three
 1- donor motives;  were my motives in his interest?
 2- idea merit;  what was the merit of each point.  Did he note
and create a strong plan to follow up and execute?
 3- response;  what will emerge from the ideas  and assessment
yielding productive results.

My future involvement will depend on how well he responds.  If
he only comes back with items he wished for me to do, it may
take a long time to respond.  If he creates a “punch-list” in
project management lingo– mentors, board of advisers, first
customer, first product, business card and such, in addition to his
request, the connection was made.

Speaking with a mentor is a two way street.  Communication is essential.

Several people seek help figuring out what they will do next.
None want to follow an academic path and each is in a
different technical field. 

So, we work on identifying their “target rock stars” that will
enable them to land their desired position.  Once they have their
list we reduce it down to their top three and work on each one
separately by revising their master resume into their targeted
working document.  Then hard work goes into making an initial
contact, through a common associate, at a meeting, through
their graduate PI, or other “warm” connection.  Followed by
a winning cover letter of request.

As we have mentioned before, special considerations need
to be incorporated into this letter, revealing what you seek,
that you have read and benefited from his/her work, that you
have ideas of your own, and that you would be willing to
write proposals for funding.
  It is not going to be successful
if you cut and paste something someone else has written.
It needs to be authentic.

This role of mentor I sense is different than the student’s
of a mentor.

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Mid-career Mentoring and Resumes
Filed under: Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 9:17 am

A number of years ago, I enjoyed a distance learning course
I attended that Karol Pelc delivered in NTU on Management
of Technology.  Many areas were interesting.  One in particular
was technological generations, S-shaped curves and technology
development strategies.

These areas can parallel our careers in research, business
and teaching.  Atul Gawande wrote a compelling article in the
New Yorker recently describing how athletes and musicians
have personal coaches, why shouldn’t surgeons?  In my mind,
why shouldn’t scientists, engineers, professors and professionals?

Gawande wrote: “As I went along, I compared my results against national
data, and I began beating the averages.  My rates of complications
moved steadily lower…  And then, a couple of years ago, they didn’t.
It started to seem that the only direction things could go from here
was the wrong one.

Maybe this is what happens when you turn 45.  Surgery is, at least,
a relatively late-peaking career… Jobs that involve the complexities
of people or nature seem to take longer to master.  S&P 500 CEO,
52, geologists, 54;  Surgeons, requiring stamina and judgment,
somewhere between.”

Gawande talked about invoking coaches, just like other professionals,
and provided some real life examples of how attention to some
little things that an objective expert observer might point out.

We see many coaches for executives, for golf, for singing, for
musicians…Some are most helpful.  Some provide standard responses,
that may not be helpful.  Some inspire alternative ways of doing
things.  Even experts have room for improvement.

We have not touched on senior level public relations documents.
There is a need to present a perspective.  At the higher levels, terms
like branding, leadership, staffing and application of resources
seem pertinent.

We might think of a CTO position as a particular example of
a position.  Jennifer Hay offered a candid comparison of
CIO and CTO roles and responsibilities.  Notice the difference
between the more operational and the more strategic.

This falls under the term “branding” that is common in business
resume literature.  More on target, it refers to the content of
the document using specific keywords in context that relates
a reputation for leadership providing:
   company growth strategy overcoming obstacles
   system wide implementation that drives results
   providing a strategic, if not a longer-range view.

In some circles the CTO is the right hand person in technology
focused organizations, where a CFO is more business or
transaction based organizations.  The metrics for CTO needs
to be expressed in senior level terms as Laura Smith-

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Business focussed resumes.
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 3:02 pm

A recent chemistry Ph.D. approached with a situation
asking for help creating a business focused resume
[Certain details are left out about the position.]

He started out with a nice, detailed “master resume”
outlining his chemical, chemical modeling and
physical biochemistry skills.  He listed publications
(first, second and third author), patents and

The challenges he had included:
-  translate the technical accomplishments into results-
focussed language,
-  identify key transferable skills and
-  state valued experiences demonstrating leadership,
assuming responsibility, teamwork, time and performance
management in academic, volunteer  and competitive

The cover letter was addressed to a specific person at
the firm for her to “review the document and refer it” to
to the appropriate hiring manager.
The letter identified specific computational strengths and
suggested a computational finance model assignment
would be a possible fit. [Based on other information from
networking interviews, he had learned of a possible opening
in this area.]

Keeping to one page and not stating information on
the one-page resume, the cover letter stayed ‘on message’
without a lot of extra content.

The resume was organized into one-page, outlining
his transferable skills and providing specific examples
through documents in the cloud. 
His heading included a link to his profile.
His publications and presentations were linked in the
   Experience section with limited technical
   wording, providing documentation without over use of
   technical terms.
If anything it was short on Honors and Awards and
Affiliations.  I wonder if at that point is anything more
than an observation.


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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
Electronic Tools for Job Search. Lead, follow, or get out of the way
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:37 pm

Here is a “mini-, online- workshop” on Electronic
tools for your job search.  Of course, you can go
to a far off place, pay admission, hotel, travel and
related expenses to attend a workshop.  But, eh,
for electronic tools, should this be the way…right?…

Let’s give it a whirl.  And, oh, by the way, if any others
out there have good ideas to share, please send them…

Couldn’t help but notice some MEGA USEFUL guidelines:

Create Electronic versions of your resume [or CV]  1   2 
              Remember to test the file out

Post Public relations documents “in-the cloud”
              List of Papers, Presentations, Patents
              List of Projects (if appropriate)
              Patent or Technology summary (if appropriate)
              Research summary
              Management philosophy (if appropriate)
Look at General listings of web-sites (for Texas, make specific
   for regions you are interested.  This site points to
   many.)                                                    4
   Stanford                                                 7
Use (search this blog for specific entries)
   more extensively

Networking                                               6 

1 comment