Eight. Do Your Research on Job Listing Sites
Using “chem” or “scient” will find many openings, often for
jobs you’ve never heard of. Ignore the job titles, and focus on
the descriptions. Learn what skills employers are looking for,
and identify keywords to use in your résumé and to use in
future searches. Sites to start searching include:
• C&EN Jobs — chemistryjobs.acs.org
• LinkUp — www.linkup.com
• Indeed — www.indeed.com
• LinkedIn — www.linkedin.com
Nine. Browse Company Web Sites
Study the web sites of companies in your local area that hire
chemists. Read press releases about new areas of expansion
and marketing literature about new products, and sign up for
alerts about new information. Will they need people to support their new efforts? Do they sponsor lectures or outreach
events where you might meet some of their employees?
Ten. Be Where the Chemists Are
Put yourself anywhere that your fellow professional chemists
will be. Seminars, student chapter meetings, ACS local section
meetings… even science nights at local pubs, science museums, science cafés, and so on can be great places to meet fellow scientists and learn about the job market.
Ask about career fairs — when employers come on campus
to interview students. The fair may be school-wide, or focus on
a specific department. If there are none at your school, check
nearby schools and ask if you can attend their career fair.
Since you’re going to volunteer, why not do it strategically?
Find the student chapter or local section near you
College to Career — www.acs.org/collegetocareer
Working in Industry — www.acs.org/content/acs/en/careers/career-services/career-pathways/industry.html
Chemists and Materials Scientists — www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/chemists-and-materials-scientists.htm
A Future in Chemistry — www.rsc.org/careers/future
Nontraditional Careers for Chemists: New Formulas in Chemistry by Lisa M. Balbes
and ask to help with any
of their activities, such as science
fairs, tutoring, or outreach events.
Volunteering with your fellow professionals
showcases your passion for science and your
outstanding work ethic.
Bonus: Learn a New Skill
It’s never too late to learn something new. Look at the skills
required for the jobs you’re interested in, determine what
you’re missing, and figure out how to get it. Suppose your
dream job requires “experience collaborating on dynamic
teams.” You could create a team of students to help each other
study for final exams. Assign topics to individual members,
arrange meeting times and locations, and find problem sets or
sample tests for everyone to work on together. Not only will
you be helping yourself, but you will be able to add “Organized
study team of 10 students “ to your résumé.
In summary, don’t panic just because you don’t have a position lined up. There are many things you can do to make yourself more visible and attractive to employers. The key is to start
now, make a plan, and continue working every day until you
reach your goal. .
Lisa M. Balbes, PhD, has been a freelance technical writer
and editor at Balbes Consultants LLC for over 20 years. She
is the author of Nontraditional Careers for Chemists: New
Formulas for Chemistry Careers (Oxford University Press).