Nelson Bolles’ book What Color is Your Parachute? takes you
through a series of exercises designed to identify the skills
you most enjoy using, and places where you can put those
skills to use.
Even if you’re certain that you want to spend the rest of your
career designing photoluminescent quantum dots, it’s worth
considering other options. It’s a real rarity to find someone who
has spent an entire career doing only one thing. Identifying your
best skills on the most basic level can open up career options you
might not have thought of otherwise. Having a road map can
also help you home in on areas where you can strengthen a few
What’s your style?
The type of organization you work for and your role in that organization should fit well with your preferred work style. If you’re
comfortable doing many different tasks simultaneously, you
might want to work for a small company, a small group within
a larger company, or even run a solo operation. If you prefer to
focus on just a few specific areas of inquiry, working in a larger
team will let you specialize in your strengths.
If you’re really outgoing, you might try to find a role that lets
you interact with colleagues, co-workers, and customers. Or, if
you’re the solitary type, you could find satisfaction doing field
studies in remote locations or analyzing large databases in front
Take advantage of
ACS career resources
ACS CAREER PATHWAYS WORKSHOPS
ACS Career Pathways workshops represent another effective way
to discover the career path that best matches your talents, goals,
and personality. The program begins with an introductory half-day
workshop where you’ll learn about the career pathway options
available to chemical professionals. Next, you can choose among
four workshops that focus on academic, government, industry,
and entrepreneurial career pathways to continue exploring and
developing your personal career pathway plan. The third phase
of the program focuses on interviewing, giving you the skills you
need to ace your next interview and begin a new career.
If you find yourself considering employment outside the lab or
classroom, you can learn about alternative careers in chemistry via
ACS webinars ( http://acswebinars.org/career-ondemand) or live
seminars ( http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/meetings.html).
In these presentations, chemistry graduates working as lawyers,
public policy experts, art conservators, border security agents, and
writers talk about what it’s like to work in their fields.