Now looking in the rear view mirror on this, it is possible
to offer a perspective.
Our Professional Development class is interesting because
we can use feedback from class members for future discussion
items and exercises in class.
There are many people with strong technical skills
and backgrounds competing for positions today. After
you work hard to research and find a position, apply
by writing all your public relations documents,
interview in several scenarios, and then wait for
When the offer comes, must you accept it?
If you have competing offers, how do you choose
the best one to select? The one with higher salary?
What other possible factors could be considered to reject
a single offer or deselect a second place offer. This
post discusses some factors to consider.
DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH
- exposure to toxic chemicals, heat, cold, asbestos,
heavy metals, radiation, etc
- lack of personal protective equipment or procedures
to monitor health and exposures.
PHYSICALLY RISKY ENVIRONMENTS
- facilities with out of date inspections or equipment
to safeguard employees
- operations that expose you to back or foot ailments,
TOO HARD TO HANDLE ALL ASPECTS OF A ROLE OR
NO JOB DESCRIPTION OF EXPECTATIONS
- small firms, for example, with limited resources but
with ambitious plans
- what is the last person in the position now doing
- what are the job review parameters and expectations
FORMAL ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- is it a poor match to your skills, experience and interests
[so that you are always a step behind, trying to catch up,
with limited or no help or mentor]
- will it allow you latitude to get inside and outside
exposure, networking opportunities, training and personal
- will you be asked to take a lower level assignment that
might affect your reputation
- what is the formal title; “junior” scientist or engineer
is it suitable to your experience and background?
- is there a good record of management, management
training displaying organization and motivational skills
- is there a level of ease to know goals and speak frankly
about the organization and its prospects
- good, clear answers to your questions in reasonable
time; you feel a priority
- would your next position possibly be her position
- do the written, spoken and acted upon values match
your personal values
- is the pace of business and teamwork style suitable
- ask how things get done: could be hierarchical, could be
informal with limited or no written rules;
- ask to see an employee handbook; are you comfortable
CORPORATE MANAGEMENT AND HOMOGENEITY
- is it heavy handed where everyone speaks the same
- is there good communication with access to new or
different ideas and approaches
- are different populations represented in management
and in departments
- is there an authentic code of behavior and is it followed
- did you see and feel it on your interview
CHANCE FOR GROWTH
- how long has your supervisor been in her position
- what was the supervisor’s career path
- where have previous job holders gone next
- will the position allow you to build and grow skills
and gain valuable experience
- some leaders believe industry knowledge trumps
functional expertise, thus you start at a lower level
- is it a “detour” or “fill-in” position
- in informal conversations and discussions with your
network do you find “negative impressions” from current
and former employees
- any signs of lack of respect
TERMS OF THE OFFER
SALARY AND NEGOTIABLE BENEFITS
- do they meet your family’s near term and future needs
- are you factoring in cost of living and commute distance
- confirm all the details of relocation assistance, starting
insurance dates, etc.
- will you need short term housing and transportation
TRAVEL AND HOURS OF WORK
- establish through questions how much personal time is
taken up by work related roles and responsibilities
- is the cost of living and residence expectations reasonable
for you to have more than one hour commute in rush hour
NON-COMPETE AND OTHER AGREEMENTS
- are you too restricted on your options if you leave
These are some of the items to gain information on and speak
with career consultants or mentors about.
Wikihow provides some thoughts on how you might reject an offer.
We had a unique segment in our Preparing for Life
after Graduate School Workshop in Norfolk last
week. Our discussant covered ‘Opportunities for
International Students.’ Since a significant fraction
of graduate student enrollment is international
(ranging from 30 to 80 per cent in institutions),
this seems timely.
The focus on our segment was on practical experiences.
The guidance to not give up when you do not hear back
or get a request to re-apply was offered. Also, apply early.
Since there is a lottery for certain countries of origin,
it is worthwhile to apply if your country of origin is in
the selected group.
What also seems relevant, but is generally not expressed,
is to know who are elected officials in your area and
to seek their help. After all, once citizenship is attained
there is a strong notion for a vote at election time and
for good reason.
We are planning a similar seminar on the same topic this
week where we will also include the following in our
- Understand the American educational system
- Get involved socially to overcome cultural and language issues
- process various factors in deciding whether to go home
country or work in US
- companies that you apply to should use e-verify and be
willing to help citizenship issues
- develop networking skills- small talk, introductions,
networking conversations and story telling
One of the MUD CARDS in a recent workshop asked:
How do I express to people that I am seeking employment
or a change of positions without seeming to beg or needing
to express why?
In today’s very mobile employment scene, changing jobs occurs
for many reasons and more frequently than we expect and at
times when we might not expect to.
My first inclination offers that we should in constant “committed
networking” mode. It helps you maintain relevance and contact
- in your field and outside of your field
- at the same stage of your career and at earlier and later stages
- needing help and offering help to others, even if nothing comes
back in return.
A step before committed networking involves you performing a
personal self assessment about what your motivations are
for employment at this point in time and perhaps if you
are tuned to near term changes, in your near future. Are you
motivated by: advancement, affiliation, balance, excitement,
ability to contribute to the greater good, security, desire to
learn, respect, — whatever it is!
Figure out if it is your feelings or the position that you are
in (if you seek a change from current employment). The
“rub” you may have may start with current job conflicts
(boss, responsibilities, time commitments, travel, co-workers,
mission, security), but evaluate if it is in your personal motivations
or in the position. A change of positions, if it is in your
motivations, might not be satisfied with a change of positions.
Amy Gallow authored a thoughtful HBR piece on modifying
one’s current roles and responsibilities to improve personal
job satisfaction without formally changing positions.
Perhaps the most telling approach involves understanding
the “interviewing continuum” and the role of networking
conversations, small talk and introductions. Viewing your
job search as part of series of interviews that you have
significant influence in participating helps you proactively
pursue positions without feeling as if begging.
Ok, it is the beginning of the year. Let me bring
up a critical element for all scientists and engineers–
attending conferences, meetings, colloquia and local
, informal meetings (meet-ups).
I was reminded of this when I saw a portrait of
Dr. Cruikshank in the stairway of a university I
visited with a colleague. I asked him why he believes
it is important to attend conferences. Cruikshank as
many know served as director of the Gordon
Research Conferences for many years
He responded: “Education, exposure, networking, and
of course, career fairs…But, I should emphasize the need
to overcome any hesitancy to go.
COST, TIME, APPROVAL
“No” can be taken to mean “no, not now. Ask me later.”
My colleague remarked: “If one gives a talk or a poster, your
adviser is likely to pay. You can always double-up or
triple-up with peers… Grad students sell goggles and use
some of the profits for travel grants. Grants are also
available through associations.
Local meetings are usually less expensive to get to,” he also
Conference attending, whether a large meeting, an
international conference, a topical symposium, a
local section lecture or tutorial are important parts of
“co-curricular learning”, that is learning outside the
When working in industry, conference attendance is either
limited to specific areas of pertinence to your project, or
by budgetary constraints or immediate needs of the
Those in government will be focused on attending meetings
related to their agency mission.
Workers in both areas will attend gatherings if they are
involved in the organization or leadership or as a councilor.
Complications often arise from schedule conflicts. [Life
goes on and few are indispensable. Giving others a chance
to do things may prove very powerful.] So, planning and
finding win-win outcomes are an essential part of
professional behavior of attending conferences.
When working in industry, my request to attend a conference
was commonly met with the reply. You can go on your own
time. Or, if you pay your own way, you can go. So, rather
than taking this as a “no” it was a personal challenge for me
to develop strategies to volunteer to serve in different
capacities– chairing colloquia, chairing host committees,
coordinating AV or planning functions, volunteering to give
workshops, and serving on task forces and committees.
The more senior one is, the more challenging it can be.
It just raises the ante to learn from others how they are able
to manage the challenge.
SO WHY ATTEND CONFERENCES
1. Papers, presentations, 3
2. connections [information interviews, networking conversations
3. trends (in favor and out of favor),
4. grants (to university proposals, to small businesses),
5. leaders in the field,
6. organizational business
7. affinity groups,
8. short courses [personal and professional growth],
9. new technologies [explore new technologies, uses],
10. Affairs, events [small talk, conversations, information
11. develop personal skills (presentations, wise skills)
B. Fischer wrote a recent piece indicating other
12. broaden your knowledge,
13. exposure to job and business opportunities,
14. plenary lectures [choose your seat so you can see]
15. asking questions 4 ,
16. voluntary presentations
17. exhibition area [And “bling”]
18. satellite events.
She also provides a nice structure, layout and
content guide for posters and short 10-minute
talks which are becoming more common.
Make attending meetings and conferences one
of your personal resolutions. As Adam Cheyer
remarked at a recent meeting I went to — one of
your VSGs (verbally stated goals). The other
success behaviors were: try something outside of
your normal realm of experience and exposure and
be open to the significant, unpredictable role of luck.
My colleague and collaborator, Joseph Jolson, presented
a YCC seminar ‘Issues of Importance to PhDs entering
the workforce’ in Pittsburgh. Using data he obtained from the ACS
he declared that establishing, learning and practicing
professional skills are essential. “Hard skills” (technical know-how)
are not enough to be offered a position.
He revealed where PhDs with 2 or less years experience are in
Permanent positions 33%
Temporary positions 5
Post-doctoral positions 47 31 Academic
Not employed, seeking 9
Remainder are part-time or not seeking.
As Reid Hoffman says, you are the CEO of ‘Me, Inc.’ and
responsible for the direction and accomplishments in
what you do. It is imperative to look for ways to information
interview, have networking conversations, learn how to
meet people and help them reach their goals using wise
More than 40% of each one of our daily routines
involves habits. Institutions either inculcate, take
advantage of or create new habits. Charles Duhigg
wrote a fascinating treatise on “The Power of Habit“
where he dissects their nature and influences and derived
the concept of habits that change other habits and
allow us to achieve other desired outcomes. He
called these “keystone habits.”
We reviewed in our seminar: networking conversations,
networking interviews and elevator speeches and wove
them into elements of a habit to develop in ourselves
the positive habit of a proactive form of networking with
members of our networks who are STARs
Alert partners with whom you work well
Reviewers and mentors
and consequential strangers. Then we practiced
conversation introductions, listening skills, exchanging
key information, nonverbal communications and
what to do next to make committed networking.
Two guest presenters revealed how they put these
“habits” into practice getting results, ie, interviews.
Then we talked about asynchronous, remote
networking and the importance of putting your
best foot forward in leading online platforms,
The substance being that committed networking needs
to be developed before you need it and therefore is
best regarded as a keystone habit.
Scientists and engineers might focus on attending only
technical sessions at conferences. I know that was the
approach for my first decade. However, there is a
lot of important work that gets done at conference
exhibitions. Not the least is networking for job
openings and applications
Scenario: Invited to visit a governance, risk and
compliance exhibition in Boston this week to meet
up with my brother. Every one knows exhibitions
are great places to meet up with people while work
is going on or at a conference since there will be free
time, interesting things to learn and people in
Bling (=free hand-outs and gifts) is also available,
as a fun sidelight.
Perspective: While I am not at all involved with
this ‘formal’ field, there are “hooks” from my interests
and background that can be used to get into conversations
with people in the exhibition area.
- Bring your business cards.
- Have plenty of time to wander around and chat.
- Have something to write ideas down on and bring a
carrying case or valese (true, many exhibitions hand them
out; however, some don’t.)
Go in with the idea that you belong and want to meet people
and learn things about their products, businesses, and roles
in the company.
Have a short story about yourself ready to tell.
Just ordered some software from an electronics vendor that
I needed. There was a discount available and free shipping.
Net cost: $0. [Ad cost $60.]
Learned to use youtube much more to solve problems.
Spoke with very knowledgeable technical sales people and
learned a lot about things that I can use.
-how several large firms are using Sharepoint with some
front end software as ELNs [electronic lab notebooks]
-how a lot of firms have developed product and service
niches that create significant business process improvement.
-ideas on my passions, hobbies and problems through
There is a pecking order of people at each booth and
table. Be highly respectful.
If it is near the end of the quarter, some key people will
not be at the meeting. Quarterly business activities
It is always pleasant to get involved in mixers and
cocktail hours. People tend to loosen up and mingle,
if their business needs are met. If someone is alone
at their booth, offer to get something for them.
Oh, yes, got a couple of bling items– flashlight-screw
driver combo, Starbucks free coffee card….
One of the chemical professionals who met with me in Denver
was a student who remembered I mentioned to her to come
and see me at the meeting and we can do some “faceting”
together. What is faceting? It is accompanying a mentor and seeing,
learning and then doing networking. It allows you to see another
dimension of a person that you know in a specific context.
So, a student from a class can join me at a meeting as we
engage in conversations in an exhibition hall.
When DM came, it was a great time for me. I wanted to
attend an awards ceremony in a ‘close-by’ hotel but had been
heavily “booked” with clients all day. It did not look like I
would be able to attend, since I wanted to congratulate several
of the award winners. DM gave me the chance since she
signed up to meet with me. So we walked over to the hotel
and went from floor to floor, and one big meeting space and
lounge to another. As we went, I kept courteously asking for
As we walked (in comfortable shoes, I might add), we had a
continuing casual conversation. Clearly, if there was a barrier
or shyness at the beginning, it was gone by the time we entered
the awards ceremony room. We must have spoken to a dozen
people in the process of getting there.
We stood in the back of the room, having arrived 15 minutes late
and observed several presentations till the conclusion. Then,
there was a professional reception. We both diffused through
the receding audience looking for one person we both wanted
to congratulate. In the process, I had the pleasure of greeting
several awardees. Exactly what I wished.
Neither DM nor I found the person we were looking for. So,
we politely asked an award winner if he was there. In fact,
the professor knew him and was a professional competitor
of his (UCONN vs. UMASS). He was not in attendance.
That is why we missed him. We had a cordial conversation
All was not lost, yet I felt we should facet a little more. We
had explored an event at the national meeting and obtained
a result, but it was not as good as I hoped.
So we returned to the location of our meeting. Right next
store in the meeting space was the exhibition area. We could
do more faceting here as we engaged several exhibitors
learning about their products, meeting them and exchanging
business cards. We enjoyed small snacks that are now
offered during exhibition afternoons.
Clearly, you have to be daring and be willing to go up to
people you do not know and start a conversation.
You should also know that I intentionally facet with
colleagues to improve my networking, meet new people
and learn new skills. I attendied several receptions I would
not normally join– a diversity reception, a grad student and
post-doc reception and the AEI where I must say I enjoyed
seeing people I knew and met a whole new group of people.
In fact, I have received four or five emails from people
I met this way since the meeting.
Want to improve your networking skills? Review this
Caltech handout and ‘facet’ with someone.
The Denver National Meeting is about 2 months away.
Are you less than 2 years away from looking for a
position? Whether you seek a post-doc, working in
a small or large company, working in government, or
perhaps considering academic positions? this is a great
opportunity for you.
What about considering entering a career away from
the laboratory bench– law, production facility or factory,
government technical liaison, technical writing,
regulatory affairs, information science and many others.
You can meet people who are involved in these fields
If you are planning to attend, now is the time to line up
your Internet Presence, your public relations documents,
your meeting plans [what you plan to do], your personal
arrangements and even your clothing.
Do you have a career consultant? Consider working on
your PR documents now before the meeting by working
with a career consultant. They may also be able to
point out things to do at the meeting that will be of
If you have not developed your Internet Presence, do
so before the meeting. How is your LinkedIn profile?
Practice small talk and conversations which are at the
heart of networking. Ask the career consultant to help
you refine your LinkedIn profile. 2
PREPARATION STEPS 1
- ask for references and prepare them,
ask them for their help
- ask the ACS which companies will attend
perform detailed and networking research
- define what you want on your business
cards, print them out
- look at the detailed program coming out
next week, organize your days for specific
activities you most want to attend, people
you most wish to meet, companies you want
to interact with
Career fair sign up
Consider being proactive in attending. If you
are faced with a tight budget, find people who
are attending and “room with them”. Ask to
volunteer at the meeting and ask for your
registration to be waived or reduced as a
volunteer. Recall unemployed members can
attend without cost.
You might call these things “zeroth order skills.”
In the Boston ACS meeting workshop on ‘First
year on the job for industrial positions,’ which
could be for academic and governmental
roles as well, we had a lively discussion.
One question a participant asked: What do you
do when you enter a room full of people and you
know no one?
Well, (1) if you were the speaker, a panel
discussant or other figure, it is not a bad idea to
ask for the organizer or chairperson or host(ess).
Now, the usual case is an (2) attendee entering
a room. There are two or three strategies. Of
course, before entering the room it is not a bad
idea (2a) to visit the restroom and check yourself
in the mirror. Entering the room, one strategy is
(2b) to look for others who are individuals and look
like they are open to your introduction. Similarly,
you can (2c) observe different groups that seem to
be open to accepting new people in.
An alternate approach can be used when food or
drink is being served. One can (3a) approach the
bar or table and “queue up.” While waiting (3b)one
can engage in small talk and introductions, which can
last beyond getting one’s drink.
When entering groups or meeting individuals, it is
not bad to offer compliments, ask non personal
questions or add something to conversations by
keeping things flowing in a positive vein.
In a sense, the is a zeroth order element of networking.
A follow-up question came from a very professional
young lady, “What should I do when people call me
Sean?” “I don’t feel flattered when people call me that
and it is not my name,” she added. “My name is
Shauntrece.“ I can understand this somewhat.
What I might do is offer the following kind of
anecdote. “Once I was in a meeting room and
someone came to the doorway and yelled, “Sean!”
Three guys immediately got up and looked at the door,
I didn’t get up.
I honestly like my given name, Shauntrece,
and feel much better when people use it.
Could you please?”
Offering a more negative comment does not feel
good for either the speaker or the recipient.
Another professional in the room had an unusual
name for America. Her name is Aimee and she
asked how to help people to use it. Another attendee
spoke up offering that these were two of the first
person pronouns in English. So, she might say,
“My name is Aimee, you know like two first personal
pronouns in English, ‘I-me’”
Use what you prefer to be called and give them
a ‘thought hook’.
A truism that stands out in the current economy
is that technical skills alone will not land a person
their desired offer. In a tight market, it behooves
job seekers to do the little things that show that
you recognize the hiring manager’s needs and the
Longstanding issues for all chemists and technical
professionals are, whether you are in search of
better opportunities or in a satisfying situation:
- learning what to do in an emergency or
problem while you are not in the situation
- developing a mindset that recognizes the
early onset of downward spirals (in business growth,
technology development, industry trends) and
looks for solutions and new directions [what are
ways to end “losing streaks?”] I recommend these
be entered into your personal workplace notebook.
- patience, presence and preparation.
This post focuses on the last item of three Ps.
Many people fall into their comfort zones too
easily or get impatient with slower developing
results. Networking is a good example.
People should expect a time and participation
commitment so that you “earn” the right to
have people want to work with you.
People, as Colleen DiBaise writes, “will be
impressed when they see you joining
committees, making decisions and getting
things done” for the greater good. 1
Presence– oh, wow! Don’t be taken
by “slick” or fast talkers who may too
readily offer responses and answers without
the necessary audience analysis and
introspection. This is an example of a
good communicator without presence
[They can brilliantly communicate things
People demonstrate presence by sizing up
their audience and determining what level
of detail and elements of needs are for these
stakeholders. Then, there is the impact of
Presence is shown by knowing what to
communicate and how. There is a texture
to good communication. 2
Preparation here refers to clarity and
brevity leading to short well phrased
expression of messages to
carefully chosen audiences. Quick,
impressive follow-ups seal the deal with a
strategic trail of updates, links and
conversations. [This does not happen
by accident, it is planned and executed.]
PG and I met at a couple of meetings this year.
She has completed her Ph.D. and defense and
seeks a position in environmental or green
chemistry in industry. From our conversations and
some correspondence, she seems to have the
behaviors and personable skills that will fit in a
number of organizations.
Recently she reached out to me for a connection
to one of the firms looking for environmental
chemists at the SF national meeting.
Although we have met, we are not closely linked
in each other’s networks. Some refer to people
outside your network span as “weak links“. Some
refer to people who you don’t necessarily think of
first when you seek information or contacts to a
person or a reference, yet these “consequential
strangers” will willingly share information or
contacts in their network to work for you.
So, I explored linkedin and identified a dozen
jobs and twenty people. To me, there was at least
one of each of interest for PG. I pointed out what
I did in an email. She then explored linkedin and
came up with several “hits”.
Also, I reached out to a cluster and found that,
while they would not link and interact with me,
they would choose to interact with PG, given the
In recent versions of networking theory weak links
show up as critical elements. They are outside
our normal every day network. 1 2
The lessons are:
1. use consequential strangers or weak links
2. understand some network elements prefer to
be selective and choose to be one-way. It is your
job to find a way to get the information to
How can you benefit from attending the
Washington ACS meeting and Career Fair?
This post suggests some things to do in
advance of the meeting. Several previous
posts can be also be consulted (links):
- Sign up for the career fair (even if you
are not looking for a job right now) It gives
you the chance to have conversations with
- Attendees’ preparation
organize your references and
prepare them for follow up 1
do research on companies and
define and print your BUSINESS
have your resume reviewed by a
career consultant and submit to career fair
Study the program documents before you
go. Plan to organize your days between
specific presentations, specific companies’
booths in the exhibition hall, specific preparation
(resumes and interviewing) and career
Any way you can plan to participate in
workshops will greatly enhance your
benefit in workshops.
Have a game plan not to “sit through”
talks that are not benefiting you and have
alternatives that will benefit you.
There are downtimes at meetings. Use
these as times to practice networking
conversations and do information
- Workshops schedule is out. Look for
times and days when the attendance is
smaller. It will be better for you to get
your questions answered. Note– look for
workshops that address your specific
The NSYCC sponsored Career Fair brought up
two topics that were covered and talked about
in some detail. In the very challenging job market
that looks to last for the foreseeable future,
discriminating Internet use and the art of
conversations will play more pivotal roles as
more positions will be “hidden.”
Suggestions for wiser Internet use:
- practice all phases with career consultants
- determining what you wish to do and where
- constructing and improving your PR docs
- practicing your interviewing skills with
interviewstream (available through ACS
- Information on businesses, industries and
trends: benefits, contracts, products,
- Social networking - LinkedIn.com;
- Technical competencies - assess what
companies seek and match your skill set.
- Apply online- create focused resumes
based on available job descriptions using
appropriate files that you make
- Examine competitor companies web-
sites for information on positions
- Up-to-date communication with your
Conversations are the heart of networking.
We practiced and offered tips and tricks
concerning how to open and things to do
to break the ice with the idea of getting
to know people. Special attention was
- listening intently (develop habits to
remember names and common ground)
- find ways to “elevate” your conversation
- enter into a conversation with the idea
of capturing “how nice it was…”
- develop a win-win outlook for each
- set, meet and exceed expectations
This week’s Philadelphia meeting was a
personal opportunity for me to act as a
connector (See Gladwell for more in depth
description) for members who came
A connector is a willing person who
places your needs above his or her own.
The connector has a cache with people
in her network in which a certain value goes
along with her recommendation. The
following examples might be representative.
FINDING AN INTERNATIONAL POSITION
A professionally dressed Asian lady SS
asked for a mock interview. We had the
chance to get to know each other and
defined what outcomes we sought in our
mock interview session. We covered all the
ground we set out and then talked about
some deeper goals she had.
SS really wished to find a position (not
going into the details of field) that would
allow her to return to her homeland and
be closer to her family.
Being very sympathetic to her wish but
not tuned to ways that could help her, I
suggested that she make contact through
the career consultant program with Dr.
Mukund Chorghade who is a highly esteemed,
multicultural leader, program organizer and
chemist who might be willing to chat with
her to help her pursue her goals.
Conversations later in the week with both
SS and Dr. Chorghade confirmed that
contact and conversation. was most fruitful.
FINDING A SABBATICAL ARRANGEMENT
AT AN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY
VC visited the appointment desk at the end
of Tuesday and indicated that he was not
interested in resume, CV or mock interview.
He did, however, want to have the chance
to speak with someone to explore how he
might set up a sabbatical in the US taking
leave from his Italian university.
My suggestion was that he make contact with
Dr. Louis Kirschenbaum, an eloquent, “Colin
Powell-like” (always tells the truth) professor
of chemistry at URI. Here is the communication
Dr. Kirshenbaum shared with me:
Hello Prof. Kirschenbaum.“Dear V
I am writing upon advice
Eustace to figure out if we might be
able to meet for a short chat over
ways and procedures and
opportunities to spend one or more
years in a
research university .
I am an associate professor in Polymer
Italy, with a tenure to be
granted in about 2 and a half years (this
probably not allow me to take any
sabbatical until then).
If you are
available, I will be in Phila
until saturday and of course at the
(not available on thursday
morning - I have a talk at a PMSE session)
Thanks for your attention
These connections emerge over and over
as leading ways to help make progress and
grow careers. This item is #46 in a list of
This is a fascinating continuation of an
interaction with DW.
We met at a mutually convenient (or
university library where we would not be
disturbed and could use the resources
The university is between sessions and
thus access is easily available. More
importantly, it forced DW out of his
routine, and into the exploring mode so that
he had several appointments to do after
meeting with me.
In our last conversation, he indicated he
had several things to do. One related to
the extension of unemployment benefits.
It benefits all who are out of normal work.
He learned that he is eligible for 13 more
weeks, if needed. Many others will be
as well. Check with your local
DW met with a colleague we both knew
well. This started a series of conversations
paths, some bore fruit, others didn’t.
(Notice the nature of the note– our
informal agenda, specific topics covered, and
points of value to him, me and everyone else!)
BW, our friend, shared a strong
willingness to help for he had been out of
work 9 months and knew how troubling
this feels. He shared his story and
that he used personal contacts
(networking) to develop the situation
that led to his position with which he is
By doing these things we were lowering
any tension that may have existed before
getting together. Next, we talked about
what did DW really want? He just wanted
to get together based on our previous
conversations and offer. It is hard for
many to put into words, so we just explored
several avenues– his approach to interviews,
his mannerisms, his style. (His resume was
strong. Sure, a couple of minor suggestions
were offered to simplify wording and line up
references that can work for an experienced
person. The point being that his resume
was getting interview results. Focus
on interviewing for improvements.)
In all of these he revealed a tensenss
that gets in the way of his confidence and
ability to get down to business and get things
done. We explored relaxation strategies.
He talked about a self-awareness activity
that he learned that works for him.
This is one of the things he will do now
before an interview. He revealed that he
uses his notebook a little too much,
especially early in a conversation. Rather
than underscoring his attention-to-detail
style, it might reveal to some a lack of
confidence and focus of attention away
from the interviewer. The suggestion
was to look more closely at people’s
nonverbal signals. Seek clarification, but
more importantly, “listen between
He was encouraged to identify his strengths
that were what the job description provided
and communicate evidence with stories
that he had them.
Before the conversation was over,
several other contact names and
LinkedIn were offered to broaden the
THANK YOU NOTE
Before the day was out, DW sent off a pleasant
and professional thank you note. It felt
sincere and appreciative.
One of the interesting learnings in the “networking
conversations” section of class yesterday was the
process by which MA was interviewing for an
international company in western Asia.
She re-established contact from the US with an individual
whom she had met while in-country. Following a
resume/cover letter, she was invited to take an
“intelligence test”, like a GRE.
Then, she was invited to participate in a
video teleconference where she was
at Yale (a company designated site) and
the interviewers were in the home country.
After passing this hurdle, she was invited
to complete a problem solving test.
These all were factors in the hiring interview
Some companies list their approach to find
the candidates that match companies’ in
See for example:
One of the most noticeable features of the ACS
national meeting career center is an innovation
developed in the career center. It is the learning
tool called networking conversation exercises.
It is included in a couple of workshops and is
such a fun and positive experience for the
audience that they almost don’t want to stop
and want to attend other sessions just to do.
One of my colleagues demonstrated to me how
useful it is to do the exercise more than once.
The networking conversation is a real life, turn
to your neighbor and introduce yourself and hold
a conversation, be attentive listeners, describe what
you do, where you are from and what it is you seek
or wish to learn.
The first time the exercise is performed the feedback
is modest. Some participants are experienced and
share and can probe in a friendly manner. Others need
to learn and experience.
The second time results in a conversation performance
that is a crescendo of an orchestra in the meeting room.
The audience does not want to stop. Business cards
are exchanged, the audience enjoys the new partner,
and the feeling is uniform. A third time results in people
enjoying more opportunities to be guided in a stimulating
growing experience that they want more of
During a session I was delighted to meet a fellow who
was awarded a polymer science recognition and the
editor of Nano-materials that dynamically expanded
my appreciation of the tool.
Please attend this highly recommended learning experience.