50% of jobs are advertised? The other 50% comprise the hidden jobs market. Often, these jobs are better opportunities, and
people are eager to find them. As a result, the positions are easy
to fill internally or through referrals from company employees
or others, so they don’t need to be advertised.
According to careers expert Randall Hansen, founder of
Quintessential Careers and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, nearly
one in 12 informational interviews leads to a job offer. By comparison, only one in 200 résumés submitted leads to a job offer.
That said, informational interviewing is first and foremost a
research strategy. You are interviewing chemistry professionals
to find information about career options, the chemical industry,
and the culture of a potential future workplace. In the process
you are expanding your professional network and perhaps gaining a few job leads. Getting a job — if that happens — is simply
a nice byproduct. An informational interview differs from a job
interview because the conversation is not about hiring or about
a specific job. The people you interview, in turn, expand their
own professional networks and learn about you as a potential
colleague or as a candidate for a future hire.
How to find people to interview
The best people to interview are people you’ve already met
face-to-face or with whom you have some connection. They
know and trust you, so they’re more likely to want to help you.
A good place to start is with your friends and family. Make them
aware of the careers you’d like to learn more about, and ask
whether they know anyone who works in one of those careers
or a related industry.
The next step is to think about the chemists you interact
with as part of your college experience — and that doesn’t
only mean your professors. Graduate students, guest lecturers,
chemists in your ACS local section, and others in your network
can all provide helpful information about your career options.
A really simple way to meet people who can help answer
your career questions is to join and become active in the ACS
student chapter at your college or university. At chapter events,
you will get to know other chemistry students and meet graduate students and professional chemists who are invited to
speak. Get to know your chapter faculty advisors and other
faculty members who participate in chapter events. Joining your
university’s ACS student chapter also gives you the opportunity
to go to meetings and activities of your ACS local section, which
is made up of working chemists.
Additionally, summer internships and Research Experiences
for Undergraduates both provide excellent opportunities to talk
to and connect with working chemists. You’ll have plenty of
opportunity to get to know the chemists you’re working alongside, so it’s a good idea to develop and memorize the questions
you have about chemistry careers. You could also arrange a
more formal informational interview with your colleagues.
As you think about people you could approach for an informational interview, bear in mind the broad range of career
options for people with a chemistry degree. You may be surprised at the opportunities you discover by connecting with
people outside of a traditional lab setting, including writers,
lawyers, public policy makers, and art conservationists.
Once you’ve found someone to interview, all you need to do
is ask if they’d be willing to give you a tour of their workplace
and answer a few questions about their job. When you’re asking, make it clear that you’re researching your career options
(not looking for a job) and that you’ll only need a short amount
of their time. Twenty minutes should be the most you need to
ask all your questions.
Finally, when you’re reaching out to ask for interviews, be
prepared! Some people will request to be interviewed on the
spot, so always have your questions on hand.
Did you know
that only about
50% of jobs
The other 50%