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

October 2019
« Sep    
Job Search Workshop Discussions. Structure, Organization and Content
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Networking, Mentoring, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 9:40 am

Two interesting email requests arrived in my inbox, recently.
One was asking for participation in a job search workshop
by a professional society local section.
The second was a request from a graduate student seeking
help with his resume.

We were away on a vacation that delayed our responses.
However, I sent a follow up note to a colleague who was
a recipient of the job search workshop note asking to speak
before talking with the assistant professor who was coordinating
the workshop.
TH and I spoke on a telecon to address our concerns and 
requirements before “meeting” with the prof and TH volunteered
to set up a Webex.
From this arrangement, several things emerged…
1.  email is not a useful vehicle to coordinating a program between
different participants.  It is so easy to misinterpret what is going
on.  It is much better to do it in person, if possible, by Skype
or as a last result, telecon, if the participants know and trust
each other.
2.  the resulting meeting request was misinterpreted.  In addition,
a follow-up first discussion was delayed.
TH asked for a webex time slot.  It was then felt that not everyone
responded to the professor…
The professor had urgent reasons for not being able to talk for an
unspecified time…
3.  The prof indicated his desired date is two months in the future
 on a Saturday, but provided a date for Friday.  This kind of
mishap can happen to any of us.  But it suggests some problems. 
On top of that there is a conflict with the Saturday date that
prevents everyone from participating.
BOTTOM LINE.  These kind of workshops need to be planned
4-7 months in advance with back ups for most critical items.
It is useful to have a team of organizers.  
This personal consultation can be related to the workshop.
In a way, this is one of the key goals of what a workshop might
The initial email request asked for help writing a resume for
a job.  Well as we know it is critical to be both more specific
and have a strategy in mind for narrowing down options.
The first draft of the resume was sent as an attachment.  It 
revealed that the grad student was at “square one” of his
search.  He inserted some relevant data into an online 
resume platform without understanding the hard preparation
that needs to go into it.
A response email was sent with several attachments.  
The email pointed out that
- multi-colored, underlined, fancy documents are not
well received for technical professional resumes
- the application should involve a well written cover
letter and other documents that would positively
separate your application from the other applicants.
-  have a specific position in mind that provides the
keywords critical for inclusion in your documents
BOTTOM LINE:  The process, timeline and goals are
not defined.  So, as with the workshop planning, 
creating a workable structure and organization will
be as important as developing viable content.
Timing   2  
Academic world revolves around an academic calendar;
the rest of the world employs different time charts.  
Job searching is often a full time effort usually out of
sync with the environment you are in.
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Self Assessment Reflection.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:41 am

Yesterday’s first year graduate student seminar involved
a pre-class homework assignment. 
Since the group was large, eleven of the 16 preference
types were represented.  That meant that there were a
variety of learning styles in the seminar.  
The larger group size meant that we could not go into
detail into each individual preference class.  
We did reveal how preferences can influence us in both
subtle and explicit ways by asking each individual their
name and whether they were left or right handed and
whether they liked cats or dogs.  These are preferences
that are genetic and influenced by our early life 
experiences… much the same as MBTI.
To maximize the experience we had each person
sit with their own similar preference groups and
complete and compare a Values and a Behaviors
instruments to go after an emotional understanding
They learned that despite similar MBTI profiles their
values and behaviors revealed different trends and
these are also important to learn in working in teams.
The second half of the seminar involved two
exercises– one involved discussing projects which
troubled several since they had to come up with their
own project and a physical constructing project where
they had to describe their result.
-In the first, one outstanding group had an individual
take leadership and point out how each person, by 
name,  would contribute to the expected outcome.
-In the second we had a group presenter relate a 
story to describe their constructed model  she asked
for a volunteer to participate in a short role play and
provided a reward for the participant.
In short, they learned about themselves, about 
working together in teams and how to interact
with others and develop a baseline for continuing
learning about themselves– this session was not
over at the end, but a beginning.
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.

Dealing with Unfair or harsh criticism
Filed under: Position Searching, Mentoring, Post-docs, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 11:02 pm

Bottom line:  Look for the main substance of contention
and explore positive ways to make the comments or
criticism improve your future performance and actions.

In previous posts, we mentioned “tee-ups” as a verbal “tic”
to be alert to when a person wants to harm you or your
reputation.  MindTools blog offers some tactics to defuse
the situation and make a creative outcome.

We can always do things in better ways, or address
weaknesses or mis-perceptions whether intended or
taken out of context.

Mindtools indicates remaining calm and displaying
respect and attention to detail is first.  Expressing
things in your own words and confirming intention or

Offer an openness to other positions, sometimes it can
be useful to summarize and state a forward-seeking follow
up action.  Where do we go from here?

Mindtools emphasis on maintaining confidence, offering
that your awareness of this can make you more effective.

Many times criticisms will be from third persons and you will
not be able to address them directly.  Nonetheless, remaining
calm in the face of words of criticism makes the critic even
more full of contempt.  It may mean to you that no clear
logical resolution is possible and you should move on.

1 comment
Watch-outs 52. Tee-ups, BYOD unintended consequences and employment data
Filed under: Networking, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:51 pm

At a recent event I attended a representative spoke
to an attendee starting off with, “I don’t know if you
know, but….”  Then launched in to a polite attack
that was probably uncomfortable, unless she knew
what was coming and how to deal with it deftly.
Tee-ups are a term used to describe these.
In many circumstances now, positions are taken
where we BYOD (bring your own device) and it
can have unanticipated consequences.
An interesting global view of jobs and STEM job
, as if October 2013, has recently been

SOURCE.  E. Bernstein, WSJ 1-21-2014, p. D3
What verbal tics may be saying about us
‘But don’t take this the wrong way…’ ;‘Can I be
(insert: ‘frank’, ‘direct’, ‘honest’)?’, and
many others.  These phrases may seem harmless,
formal, even polite.  Coming before another statement
they are intended to harm, be dishonest or lie.
James Pennebaker has studied these qualifiers,
performatives, or tee-up terms.  They are yellow lights.
proceed with caution.  When you listen to someone,
choose your time and timing and plan what you will
respond without letting it be at all offensive.  Remain
totally professional, looking the person in the eye
and lean in to a squared up, confident position.

SOURCE:  L. Weber. WSJ 1-22-14, p. B7
Leaving a job?  Better watch your cellphone.
As more companies allow or encourage employees
to use their own phone and portable devices for
work, as well as home, unexpected consequences
can arise.  Their devices can be wiped clean.

This is appearing as the separation between home
life and worklife become blurred.

Read your user agreement statements and contracts
carefully before the “I agree” button is clicked.

SOURCE:  H. Rudzinsky, Photonics Spectra Jan. 2014, p. 60
Where the Jobs are Now.
This is a ‘finger on the pulse’ article on jobs that offers
a clear view and perhaps some optimism on the job market.
The last segment offers some appropriate advice for
job seekers.  It links to a Brookings Report.

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Academic Interviews. Things to seek and ask about
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring
Posted by: site admin @ 8:52 am

Finding openings and obtaining interviews for academic positions
continues to be challenging.  While there is regular turnover and
some retirement, it is not like new institutions are being built or
departments growing.  So, each interview should be prepared for
and taken as seriously as each paper we write for a prestigious

The PhD degree, these days, is like a union card in providing
eligibility.  It does not grant privileges.  It is your record of doing
well in obtaining results and having very strong letters of support
that will get you interviews.

In an interesting piece, after you get your position, it was
recommended that after three years, you should have a fair idea
if tenure will be granted.  If you wish to remain in your position, or
more important, if you are uncertain or feel your position is perilous,
apply for positions elsewhere to obtain interviews.  Look, apply
and interview.  Certainly do committed networking2 

So, when you are interviewing for a position:

 - college mission and how your philosophy and approach mesh

 - get a picture of faculty and staff turnover, usually through
informal discussions.  Particularly revealing can be discussions
with students who are less guarded but observe changes.
 - what are the “service obligations” of junior faculty?  too much
committee work means less time for students, research and
writing for grants and publications, affecting the tenure decision.

 - ask to meet with students.  They can be brutally honest and
reveal stark realities.
 - how strong are communications between department?  Politics
are common, but is there coordination and are there joint programs.
 - is there collaboration between groups within the department?
 - what is the hiring process?  Is it a “beauty contest” with many
contestants?  Are fewer, select individuals interviewed?  What
is the decision based upon?

 - what is listed on-line about events involving the department
and how much is not listed and “word of mouth”?  What is
attendance like and who attends?
 - what are the revenue streams for the institution?  Higher ed
funding is in turmoil.  What is the student mix in the department?
How many are on scholarship?  How many transfers?

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“Virtual” Career Fair. Bringing Job seekers together with career consultants and recruiters
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Recruiters, Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 8:59 am

If you were not able to attend the NOLA meeting, and you
seek your next position or you want to be prepared for
whatever may happen next in your career, did you think
to attend the “Virtual Career Fair” over the last two days?

Out of a job, need help
?  VCF is one of the services the
ACS provides— free…In fact one of the people JC I
spoke with yesterday via telecon
[more about this later]
had let her membership lapse.  She informed the ACS of
her situation and requested a waiver-membership extension
so she could attend.

RESULTS:  We video-teleconned, via Skype, for 90 minutes,
where we not only reviewed her current resume and a cover
letter, but also prepared her for a video screening interview. 
  What to wear [she was professionally attired],
  background set-up [we removed glare and unattractive
background items, placed her in the center of the screen, had
her sit back to we simulated being in the same room, and
suggested that she use a microphone for voice clarity. 
   Look into the camera[, as if,  right above my eyes.] 
   Manage non-verbal behaviors.

Then I suggested JC to contact a recruiter who seemed to be
well suited to her quest who was also attending the VCF,
ZyomicJobs .  Earlier, I had a warm conversation with Alan
who has a genuinely unique and helpful approach for
laboratory scientist careers.

There were four kinds of people who I observed in the VCF.
Browsers:  less than 30 minutes to spend, what is it about?
Curious:  Had one or more Specific questions and sought
specific advice.
People who wanted a resume or CV reviewed or a consultants
insights into the job market today and what they might do. 
They were often willing to spend some time to engage a
consultant.  Most did not wish to Skype.
These three groups were not quite ready to do a video-telecon.
The 4th group wanted to full experience of a virtual video-telecon
review and mock interview practice.  They were ready to
Skype and got the most, by far, from the VCF.
 -  Specific questions asked and answered
 -  resume reviewed on the spot [They emailed me their resume,
I worked with them line by line to point out pros and cons and
what reviewers seek.
 -  mock video-telecon interviews on the spot.

Other specific examples included:
Career advice for recent mothers telecon from home taking
care of a newborn.
Where and how to find keywords for a dad waiting for his
teenagers to come home from school for his resume…job
descriptions and information interviews
…considerations about attending a regional ACS meeting
vs. a national meeting.

These kinds of things are much better to handle with a

RECOMMENDATIONS:  This VCF approach is incredibly valuable
for members who cannot attend a national meeting.  Preparation
is very important. 

1.  Have your goals established, questions prepared and your
computer readied.
2.  Have back-up plans ready to go.  Cell phone handy to call
in case of computer interruptions.  [In fact most people’s
computer systems could not be integrated with the VCF
system to do a video/audio interaction.  Many reduced themselves
to keyboarding which is a FAIL in my view.]
3.  Dress professionally.

1 comment
Importance of Attending Technical Conferences.
Filed under: Position Searching, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:06 pm

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

“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
educational institution.

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
.  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.

Nonetheless, once you arrive, it can remain a challenge
of what to do and where you should go.  See  2   and   2a  .

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.

1. Papers, presentations, 3
2. connections  [information interviews, networking conversations
       networking interviews],
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.


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Affiliations. Significance in Resumes, Interviews and Presentations
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Leadership
Posted by: site admin @ 12:48 pm

Did you see the CBS segment on human infants?  How
they are learning at their very earliest moments and
often make decisions based on what they have observed
and been taught?  Striking.

What does this have to do with Resumes, Interviewing
and seeking jobs, Dan?  you may ask.

A lot!

Short story.  A member recalled applying for a position using and obtained an on-site interview.  In the
interview in which he demonstrated his communications
skills and story telling ability he learned through several
mock interview experiences, he mentioned who he worked
for at UCONN
.  The long and the short of it, the hiring
manager also worked for the same professor
decades earlier.
It helped form a connection, a common-ground, and ultimately
a difference with all the other candidates.  He was offered the

The video segment reported that newborns listen, like faces,
like common aged people, like languages and music they
are used to hearing.  The also form preferences from positive

This early preference learning extends to adult years and making
decisions.  David McClelland offers that affiliations is one
of the three leading motivations for human behavior.  The need
is associated with desires to be linked to groups, organizations
and places.

Lucy Kelleway posed that today there are fewer “big
names” that signal the achievement of one person.  Achievements
are more commonly a group effort.

When people effect things it can be signaled on a webpage
or twitter or social media.  While individual achievement
does stand out, most do not do it alone.  Flashy
affiliations with big names and associations stand out.

You can gain trust in customers by being in partnership or
affiliation with a known business.  Affiliation is a fast way
for businesses to gain trust and credibility in the eyes of

As a professional scientist you show you care about
what is happening in your areas of science when you are
a member of the ACS.  You care enough to
-  subscribe to a code of ethics, society journals and magazines,
-  attend conferences where you share and learn and
-  take some initiative in actively being involved for the greater

When you include ACS [and other pertinent organizations]
in your resume AFFILIATIONS section, it reveals a lot
when you include participation in groups, organizing
conferences, task forces and committees) since they are
voluntary and tell of your commitment to the other members
and the whole chemical enterprise.

We tell interviewees and presenters, being able to provide a
story of involvement during interviews and when delivering
presentations also reveals your professionalism in meaningful
ways in these contexts.  In a very human way it finds its traces
to our early human preferences.

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
Watch-outs. 36. Intuitive automated resume reviews, Start-up companies, Change, and Extremes
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 10:47 am

Summer 2012 is here.  Do you sense a faster
pace with more complexity and uncertainty?
In a recent conversation, a colleague and I were
chatting about preparing members for their future
careers.  He thought it good to have leading experts
give presentations and publish them in books.  Nice,
yet too slow.  As soon as the book is published the
information is out of date.  How about a blog?

As Vonnegut said, ‘and so it goes.’

Science and engineering establish laws and boundaries
and we find with ‘open architecture’ questioning, the
newer kind of investigation, that there are conditions
outside these boundaries.  [Extreme-ophiles]  Change
confounding change makes the unpredictable happen.
[Wired - Venter]  One approach leads to
entrepreneur-ism and start up companies. [Lean Start
ups]  How can a resume get noticed in such
environments?  How can job seekers find
opportunities? [Monster contextual keyword searches]

SOURCE:  Fast Company, April 2012, p. 7-8 and
It is not enough to have a listing of keywords in
today’s resumes.  Software tools ‘resume screening
software’ looks for the “context” of the words.  The
Fast Company published an ad by Monster about
the new tools that Monster uses.  If Monster uses them,
other firms will have the equivalent.
Other links point to other helpful videos about searching.

SOURCE:  Ted Greenwald, “The Upstart,” Wired, June,

Really liked the short-cut of lean start up lingo and
would recommend some ideas listed here.  Four critical
terms are Iterate, Minimum viable product, Pivot,
and Vanity metrics/Actionable metrics.  It leads to a
nifty business learning model, called the build-
measure-learn loop for industries in knowledge
worker realms.

SOURCE:  The Economist, May 12, 2012
B. Appleyard, Creatures that survive in extremes
in p. 11-14
in the pull-out section.
The earth is teeming with hyper-resilient
microbes that survive at extremes of heat,
pressure, radiation and salt/acid concentrations.
Extremeophile researchers encounter it’s
impossible frequently.  Applications of their
findings have been eventful. 
“In 2010 bacteria from cliffs in the village
of Beer in Devon were found to have lasted
553 days on the exterior of the international
space station.”  implications for extraterrestrial
“An enzyme in Thermus aquatics TaqDNA polymerase
has become one of the most important in
microbiology.  It makes possible the PCR technique
for amplifying DNA samples.”
are among several cited examples.

SOURCE:  T. Goetz, Life Hacker:  Craig Venter
Wired June 2012, P. 108
An aha:  “I think the new anti-intellectualism
that’s showing up in politics is a symptom of our
not discussing these issues enough.  We don’t
discuss how our society is now 100 per cent
dependent on science for its future.  We need new
scientific breakthroughs– sometime to overcome
the scientific breakthroughs of the past.  a hundred
years ago oil sounded like a great discovery.  You
could burn it and run engines off it.  I don’t think
anybody anticipated that it would actually change
the atmosphere of our planet.  …”

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Mid-career professional. Experience in Small Company Projects
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 3:09 pm

Looking at someone’s resume alone is so hard to
evaluate whether it does a good job representing
them to possible employers.  In a particular case,
I had a terrific telecon conversation with NS who
was referred by a recent protege the other evening.

She has had a successful career with a couple of
productive post-docs and is currently employed at
a project oriented concern.  Her issue is that she
is an accomplished material scientist with group and
project management and leadership experience but
has the challenge that little of her work is published
or has been publicly presented.

Interestingly, this situation may be represented well
by creating a resume file, incorporating a resume (note
separate document) and a separate Project List (note
separate page with title and your name at the top) which
offers the major projects in which she played a key
role.  Each project item Don Straits suggests using
a couple of sentences..

Where there are publications, consider listing in the
List of Publications, Presentations and Patents (note
separate page in the resume file, not part of the
“resume”) a link to the .pdf file for the item.  If one
is not directly available consider creating a document
in the cloud (like– google-doc) and provide link

Another job searching issue relates to networking.  While
she is a member of ACS and MRS, where should she
seek out opportunities.  One place that might be a good
fit is the WCC Women’s committee of ACS.  I noticed
several things that could be helpful there:  1  2 

In a similar vein, earlier in the week I met with a
younger fellow who sought networking opportunities
in the Boston area.  What better group than the YCC ?
    4    5 

So, mid-career people might consider having (1) other
documents in their resume file to inform potential
new employers of their work– Project list and List
of papers, presentations and patents (with links) and
(2) find other pertinent avenues to network (especially
meeting people in person).

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Internet Presence. LinkedIn Profile
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Networking, Leadership, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 7:55 pm

There is evidence that it is important to
and maintain a technical internet
, like in your profile. 
It is separate from
your professional
affiliation and can list several
items that you want people to know
might want to contact you for various reasons.

Career consultants suggest also providing a
in a “cloud location” (like google docs)
that contains
publications, presentations,
patents and posters.
  The usual authors, titles
and citations and a
link to .pdf or .doc file
should be provided. 

Specific elements of one’s profile might be:



  bulleted list of skills and accomplishments
     designs, syntheses, characterizations
     teams led
     goals achieved
     strategic impact of projects ($$, time,
proprietary position without violating any

  bulleted list of specific items with
detail, showing depth of
understanding and

   Post-doctoral, graduate and
research, development and
team activities

   Management and supervisory training
   Business school or Education experience

If areas formally different, it might still be
for networking purposes.

   Formal education– degrees, departments,
institution, location, and information links

   What groups do you belong to?

The Blog “ReCareered” provided another
perspective on what the profile
might contain. 
A few highlights
to take note:

A. list specific areas and subjects in which
you have
achieved;  generalists do not seem
to draw attention
in these profiles

B. think about what it looks like in the finished
document.  Long paragraphs will not be read.

C. Volunteer activities, community involvement,
manuscript reviewing are fair game.

D. Other online activities, web-pages, list-servs
key professional networking tools are helpful
to point to your on-line presence.

E. Getting appropriate recommendations has

Managing your career. Patience and textured communication in Long term networking
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 10:18 am

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
company’s interests.

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
they shouldn’t.]

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
unintended audiences.
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.]


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Resume File. Question about Volunteer roles
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 3:15 pm

A member recently sent me his resume
for review.
  He prepared for it by
evaluating his personal priorities
determine what is most important in
his life and
career.  It was a nice
forced ranking process.

He then developed a first pass resume
and listed
some volunteer work as
head or leader of
YCC in his area. 
It was successful in being awarded
ACS ChemLuminary award.

In his first pass, he created two bullets
in his
Highlight section and wondered
whether he
should enter his role in YCC
in his Experience
section.  My initial
reaction is that the Experience
should be the place technical

accomplishments revealing productive

activities.  Certainly, the YCC role in
a workshop on entrepreneurism
was a feat.
  I had my doubts about it
fitting anywhere else
than in the Honors
and Awards and Affiliations
sections of
a typical resume.  I might offer that

he led specific YCC programs as the
bulleted item in his Highlights.

He asked again.  So I solicited the
opinions of
my career consultants “cabinet”. 
Listed below
is what they offered in
capsule form:

L. Balbes:  “I agree that the leadership
be a single, last item in a
It might be
appropriate to include in the
Experience [section] IF he is
for a leadership
otherwise  either Professional

Activities, Affiliations, or some
such section,
would be a better


H. Silverman:  “He may
by> two resumes depending
on <
the positions for which he
He may one
for technical positions.> He
emphasize his management skill
in a second
{<> = insert text}

In the management resume he should
emphasize his  success with the

group . In both resumes he
should list the
groups award under a

separate section
headed awards. He
should be careful
about redundancy.

Don’t list the same
item in different 

R. Bretz:  “Placing a volunteer activity
in the Highlights section might lead the
reader to the notion that what he really
wants to do is public service or some
type of community work (i. e. working
is only a way to support his real passion).
This activity is definitely not Experience
but I admit that it could be a valuable
skill in the workplace.  Technical skills/
knowledge is what will get him the
role> should be
in the affiliations/
activities section.”

J. Shulman:   “The Highlights section is a
fine place to talk about leadership,
especially for someone who has a masters
in management of technology.  As Rich
says, Highlights should emphasize
technical accomplishment for a technical
job, with 3-5 bullets dedicated to this.  But
putting one (and probably only one) bullet
such as ‘Demonstrated leadership and
delegations skills’ can enhance this section.”

J. Jolson: “I agree that the passion and
interest in professional involvement could be
a final bullet in the Highlight section.  Specific
information about leadership involvement
could be placed in the Affiliations section
(ACS - XYZ Section, YCC chair).  If the
ChemLuminary Award can’t be inserted with
other awards in the awards section, it might
be OK to insert it in parentheses after
mentioning the YCC chair in the Affiliations
section.  Otherwise I would leave it out of
the resume and if a job descriptions comes
by the merits mentioning it, I would put it in
the cover letter.”

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Mid-career. Reinvigorating career continuation
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Recruiters, Mature professionals, Technicians
Posted by: site admin @ 12:24 pm

What a nice way for DW to re-establish our connection.
He emailed me telling about his 9 month adventure,
giving some current positive indicators, and wishing
to find a way to succeed where he has come up
short in interviews.

DW is quite talented with chemical process
scale-up and transfer skills.  He is a dogged, attention-to-
details chem engineer with more than a decade of solid
experience under his belt.

He evidently has been able to get interest and interviews
through recruiters but has not been tendered an offer.
Although he is reaching out to his network he has been
attracting about one interesting nibble a month.  The
troubling part is that he has been on the “short end of
the stick” each time.

He needs to convincingly state why hiring him as an
experienced professional is better than a fresh graduate.
  solves problems,
  is flexible and
  grows in responsibility in his roles. 
He doesn’t
  wait for problems to “bite you in the ass”,
He can take on responsibilities that are new and
succeed in them. 
He doesn’t wait for a promise of promotion to do more,
he assumes the responsibility and works at a higher level.

 - Expand his employers list where is wants to work
       - Identify the best places to work in all related
            technology fields
Growing fields in greater Boston area:  nano-tech, biotech

       - Determine people who might provide connections
            key contacts
 - Develop your list of references to include known
       people in the fields that you are applying or
       in academia
       - send the list in with your resume;  this is one
            strong advantage an experienced person has
            over someone who recently graduated, use it
       - don’t list people just because they know you;
            list people who know how to provide a strong
            reference, are recognizable names who are
            respected and will give you a promised good
 - Continue learning important skills, doing valuable
         things while you are not fully employed
        - join and participate in valued organizations
        - take a more active role in professional societies
        - explore all possible ways to gain new skills
Be a volunteer A-V person in a national meeting short
course offering
Volunteer to help out in professional course work in
local area
Attend free training sessions of new hardware in local
Attend governmental environmental groups meetings

 - Really work in preparation for interviews
       - get the job description and be able to relate his
             experiences to what the employer seeks
       - find out who will interview him and get background
             on them;  read papers they have given, read
             annual report and get insight on company’s
             direction and ideals;  tell stories that relate
 - Listen hard to interviewers descriptions and comments
       for key items they seek;  relate strongly to them
       this is why they want to hire someone… meet their needs
        - customize your stories and experience in short stories
              of accomplishment.

Finding a position in mid-career when you have been out
on the street for a while is tough and demoralizing.  Hopefully,
DW made the right move in contacting me.

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Negotiations at work without fear
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 6:45 pm

 So many times we hear about people who
comment that someone receives something
while the speaker is peeved that he has not
been equally rewarded. 

We certainly want to separate the notion of
being rewarded for “working hard” versus
“achieving a goal” or “coming up with and
implementing improvements or inventions.”
These days there is almost no place for expecting
rewards for “working hard”.  It is “expected.”

Then, we come to the notion of rewards.  The
best situations are– being rewarded with privileges
that one really values and seeks. 

Al Sklover is one employment lawyer whose
books, newletters and other writings I have
read for quite a while.  He opines– 
“If you
achieve, you will receive” - is surely waning.

Sklover finds many poeple’s difficulties stem from
simply never engaging in any form of workplace
negotiation on their own behalf. Instead of planning
promotion to greater authority and compensation,
some wait for it to come to them. While our
colleagues develop the knowledge, skills, and
relations the company would likely need, and
engaged in a degree of “self-promotion,” .

People create fears of: (a) being viewed as too
aggressive; (b) being unsuccessful in his negotiating
attempts, (c) upsetting his boss; (d) looking selfish
and greedy; (e) not knowing how to go about it, and
therefore making a fool of himself; and (f) somehow,
possibly, worst case scenario, even losing his
job as a result.

The fear of negotiating at work is very, very common.
What underlies the fear of negotiating at work?
Usually it’s an understandable concern that (a)
you will not know what to do, and thus, you will
stumble and look foolish to others, (b) you will
upset or alienate your boss, and (c) you will,
in any event, fail in trying. Each of those fears
emanate from a lack of understanding the process.

If you bear in mind that, done with care,
forethought, and common sense, negotiating on
your own behalf with integrity, respect, a sense
of what is reasonable, and with good reasoning,
there is little if any downside. While there’s never
any guarantee that you will achieve all you want
in workplace negotiating, you are nearly
guaranteed that your refraining from office
negotiating on your own behalf will result only
in your frustration, de-motivation and becoming
dispirited over time.

All employers want, Sklover admits:
(a) the best employees (so you should take every
opportunity to make and show yourself to be
that employee),
(b) the best employees to remain a long
time (so you should show yourself to be
someone who is a long-term thinker, and
deserving of long-term investment),
(c) they don’t want their best employees to
leave to a competitor (so you should ask for
what it will take to keep you, without
threatening to leave), and
(d) want their best employee to stay
enthusiastic (which they know requires
continual motivation and reward).
Good negotiating is a process to achieve
what your employer wants, and what you
want, too.

Negotiating at work is good for both you and
your employer, because its very purpose is
to achieve a fairness in the exchange of the
employee’s effort for the employer’s
compensation. A comfortable balance of
the two - in a range of “mutual fairness” -
is in the interests of both employee and
employer. If you don’t negotiate on your
own behalf, chances are no one else will.
If you don’t negotiate for yourself at work,
it’s likely you will not receive your just
reward, and you will be more distracted,
less motivated to push yourself to greater

The greatest impediment to workplace
negotiation is fear. The best antidote to
that fear is a better understanding of the
negotiation process, and in trying it,
and seeing that it can work for you.

1.  Your fears of negotiating are
considerably overblown.  They are likely
holding you back more than you think.

2.  Valued employment relations are
“two-way streets
 on a positive, continual
and win-win way.  It is a process of
making yourself more valuable,
involved and in turn fairly rewarded.

3.  In negotiating, view and make your
goals consistent with your employer’s goals.

4.  Many people don’t want to make a
an irretrievable error in negotiating.   Yet,
nothing ventured, nothing gained and
learn from your’s and others’mistakes
and go forward.

5.  Doing nothing might harm you or
your chances to get what you deserve.

The greatest risk is often a result
of avoiding all risks.

6.  Good faith, integrity and working on
the team’s goals are the key in negotiating.
You can still have your own priorities,
thoughts and goals to reach.  Yet have
a plan for your career path.

7.  Reduce your personal stress.  One
tool is visualization…

8.  Begin by starting small on things that
create value for you and the team.  You
gain confidence in yourself and your
supervisor by using good judgment and
pursue team goals that meet your needs.

9.  Since it is hard to achieve and
succeed without reviewing your plans
and practicing what you want to do
before you have to do it.

10.  Positive Attitude is a force multiplier. 

REFERENCE:  Al Sklover newsletter on
  negotiating in workplace.

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Rejections. Formulate how you will deal with them
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 10:16 am

How we deal with adversity says an awful lot
about a person.  In fact, it is one of the separating
behaviors between being successful in some
positions and less than successful.

Life is full of rejections, if we think about it. 

In the job interviewing scenario, consider three
kinds of rejections–
- after the screening interview, not invited on-site
- after the on-site interview, not extended an offer
- after the on-site interview, rejecting an offer.

One of the things applicants should consider after
an interview is doing a post interview evaluation of
the interview.  This objective snapshot asks
   what seemed to go well,
   what was a surprise,
   what could have been done better? 
   Is this a place I can work at?
   Does this place meet my expectations? 
   Will I be happy doing the assignment? 
   Will I like living and working in this area? 
Based on this self examination, one can then
develop the decisions one will need to make
and actions associated with them.  (One of the
immediate follow-ups are thank you letters to
interviewers for the chance to apply and meet

This note focuses on how to deal with a rejection
letter from a company after interviewing.
mentally beat ourselves down, don’t we?  Our
spirits, energy and self-esteem sink. 

1.  Think about the process we are in.  Interrupt it.
2.  Remember what our goals are and focus on
what is needed.
3.  Review your objective snapshot of the interview.
4.  Follow up on the interview by finding out,
if the organization will share, how you came up
5.  Learn from it. Combine your snapshot with
the feedback to develop an improvement plan. 

An appropriate thank you note can then follow.
Rather than closing the door, this can be
a chance of building a bridge for the future.

Clearly state your positive impressions of the

Explore the interest in learning what the
successful candidate had over you. 

Indicate that you will call to personally pursue this.  (It
is likely not to happen via anything written.)  If
this is a company that is a goal to work for,
politely indicate that you wish to be considered
for other positions and would reapply in the future.

Keep the company and its people on your
“radar screen” for inviting opportunities.

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