More than just an online jobs site, the ACS
Careers website contains information on
salaries and what chemists do, and provides
a careers industry forum, career advice, and
more. Whether you are looking for your first
job or advancing your career to the next
level, the ACS Careers website is a valuable
If you’re thinking about doing study or
research abroad in Germany, visit the Young
Germany website to learn more about
the German lifestyle and culture. The site
provides information of particular interest to students and includes a blog written
by American students who are studying
in Germany. Site visitors can also conduct
searches for universities, apartments, hostels,
and car rides.
Rachel Petkewich reports on young Ph.D.
chemists and their experiences in the private
sector. While their academic training prepared
them well to ask the right questions, set up
experiments, and solve chemistry problems,
they still had much to learn to succeed in an
industrial career. Science, August 7, 2009, pp.
Be prepared for the full spectrum of questions that may be asked during an interview
by reading this article on collegegrad.com.
Susan Ainsworth explores why chemists
should seek career opportunities to broaden
their scientific base beyond what they learned
in school and why having a narrow expertise
in one area makes it difficult to shift to other
areas that might eventually pique your interest. Chemical & Engineering News, July 20,
2009, Volume 87, Number 29, pp. 56–59.
COURTESY OF MARINDA LI WU
What career advice would I offer under- graduate chemistry majors today? As an ACS career consultant, I help chemists
at all stages of their careers with their job searches.
Students pursuing a career in chemistry in
today’s job market need to be prepared and flexible,
because there is little job security, whether you
work for industry, government, small business, or
Be prepared by keeping your résumé up to date. Be ready to give
people your “elevator speech” — what your interests are and what
you have to offer — in three minutes or less. You may have only the
time between two floors in an elevator to get your points across to
someone whom you meet at a networking reception.
Networking is an important skill to develop both before and after
you have a job. Set a personal goal of meeting at least two new people at every event you attend. Attending events on campus and
also in your ACS local section provides valuable networking
It is important to follow your passion. Be assured that chemistry is
still considered a “central science.” Chemists will play a critical role
in solving the multidisciplinary and global problems of energy, the
environment, and shortages of water, food, and natural resources.
However, with the downturn in the economy and ideal jobs more
scarce than ever, it may become necessary to be more flexible and
think “outside the box” to find your next job.
Your chemistry major prepares you to pursue a variety of career
options. Consider not only traditional careers in chemistry but also
non-traditional careers where you can apply your knowledge of
chemistry. People trained in the analytical reasoning of science can
compete well in many different arenas, including regulatory affairs,
public policy, patent law, business development, marketing and sales,
criminology, toxicology, and information management, to name just
a few. Pharmaceuticals and biotech were hot areas a few years ago,
but now energy research is getting more funding and offers new
chemistry career opportunities.
In planning your job search, remember to: 1) consider your personal values and strengths; 2) learn about the job market and current
trends; and 3) check out the ACS Careers website at
www.acs.org/careers for more information on career advice and
I wish you all the best as you pursue a challenging career in
Marinda;Li;Wu received her B.S. cum laude with Distinction in Chemistry from the
Ohio State University and her Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of Illinois.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Chemical Society and
works on “Science is Fun!” in her spare time.