ACS Career Consultants offer tips on how to find an entry-level position
in challenging economic times.
compiled By lori Betsock
The Recession and Your Job Search
It is true that the recession is still here and
businesses and government organizations
are hiring less in an effort to cut costs. But
entry-level chemist positions are still avail-
able. Needless to say, you will have to work
extra hard to search for a position now; you
may need to take up a temporary position for
a few months, or complete another internship,
Research all viable areas, including chemical, pharmaceuti-
cal, biotech, and healthcare. Visit companies’ websites and look
at their career/employment sections. Many organizations post
open positions on their websites. They are usually in a rush to
hire, so apply as soon as you can. Use websites like monster.
com and careerbuilder.com, and use sites for local jobs only,
such as careerboard.com. Search for keywords like chemist, sci-
entist, technician, temporary, internship, BS chemistry, etc. Also,
search for analytical techniques such as HPLC, IR, titration, UV,
and any other techniques you know. Jobs that list any of these
techniques as a requirement will come up.
Sign up for a LinkedIn account. Employers use this site to look
for candidates. Network as much as possible. Attend the local
ACS meetings and approach the chemists of your local section
for help. Most importantly, do not give up on your job search.
Remember: chemists are always in demand.
about you. Once you make a real connection, you will be able
to call on them for advice and information. It doesn’t matter how
many connections you have on LinkedIn; what really matters is
who knows you and who will remember you favorably when they
hear about an opportunity.
That’s all there is to networking — making professional
friends and maintaining the relationships over time. After all, you
can never have too many friends!
Posted by Lisa
Posted by Samina
Networking: It’s Not Who You Know, It’s
Who Knows You
When you have a question, you ask your
friends. For restaurant recommendations or
a good movie, you tap the collective wisdom
of people you know. Others do the same
thing, only in the business world. Therein lies
the secret: the more people you know in a
professional capacity, the more questions you
will get asked, and the more opportunities you will hear about.
I often wish someone had told me earlier in my career just how
important a robust professional network is to career satisfaction
The best way to build your own professional network is by
volunteering: finding ways to help others and share your skills
and knowledge. By being professionally active, you will meet
other scientists and learn about what they do, and they will learn
Always Have Your Business Card Handy
You should use business cards to begin
building your professional network. At any
meeting of professionals, exchanging busi-
ness cards is expected and accepted, and
provides a rapid and convenient way to give
information. You have many opportunities
to give out your card: at local and national
ACS meetings, at events with visiting speak-
ers, etc. You never know when you’ll meet someone who could
develop into an important business contact. Having a business
card tells a person that you are serious about your career and
Office supply stores sell blank business cards with a clean
(unperforated and professional-looking) edge that can be printed
with laser or ink-jet printers. You can print small quantities in this
way at very little cost, so you aren’t stuck with a bunch of out-of-date cards when you graduate.
A business card is obviously not a résumé. Your card at this
stage of your career should have your school and logo — you
are part of the institution, after all — and your professional
contact information (name, address, phone, and professional-sounding e-mail address). Be sure to proofread your text for
spelling and grammar.
Business cards are miniature billboard advertisements for
you! Store them in a small, protective case to keep them clean
and handy. A scuffed-up card isn’t going to present the image
that you want.
When you receive a business card from someone, write on
the back of the card when and where the contact was made,
and the topic of conversation. Store the cards you receive in a
central location that is readily available. Send a short note (an
e-mail is acceptable) to the person who gave you the card to
thank them for their time and reinforce their recollection of you
and your conversation. You’ve started to network!