Job Hunting Advice
career as a professional chemist begins with your first job. You should
begin your job hunt about a year before graduation by assembling a list
of companies you would like to work for and people at each company to
contact. The summer before your final year is a good time to start. Plan
to visit a local library to obtain information on potential employers.
Also read at least one good book on job hunting techniques.
To obtain advice in your job hunt, consult with people at your campus
placement center. Most placement centers arrange on-campus interviews
with corporate recruiters visiting your school. They can also provide
guidance in writing your resume and cover letter. In addition, they can
provide counseling and moral support. Also discuss your job hunting and
career concerns with professors, particularly faculty advisors.
Finding a job is seldom easy. Disappointment is common in job hunting.
Competition is stiff and so you should not become discouraged if you do
not succeed in getting a particular position. You must expect to apply
for many positions to win a few interviews. Not every interview will
result in getting a job offer.
Begin looking for job leads after you have decided what type (or types) of
job you want, what type of working environment you prefer, and what your
geographic limitations (if any) are. You can identify job leads by:
- Checking with
your campus placement office to determine what corporate
recruiters will be visiting campuses and when. Your placement
office will have publications such as "The Job Choices Annual"
which provides information on many companies, what types of job
openings they have, and the personnel manager's name and
with family, friends, and faculty members for the names and
telephone numbers of professionals in the field of chemistry you
are interested in or working for companies you might want to
work for. Don't neglect recent chemistry graduates from your
school. In addition to job leads, they can provide helpful,
up-to-date job-hunting tips.
newspapers, telephone "Yellow Pages," and chambers of commerce
listings for possible job leads.
- Checking the
Internet. There are many job sites listed on the Internet, and
you can locate many of these sites by typing a keyword such as
"employment" on your search engine. Don't neglect the home pages
of companies you would like to work for. These provide useful
information on the company and its products. Many company home
pages also list job openings. Job opening information is also
available on the home pages of professional organizations such
as the ACS. Some publications such as the "National Business
Employment Weekly" have helpful articles on job-hunting topics
on their websites.
- Visiting your
library and reviewing publications such as "Peterson's Guide,"
"Dun and Bradstreet," "The Thomas Register," and "Moody's
Industries" for general descriptions of various corporations.
Also, consult books on writing resumes and cover letters and
employment interviewing while you are in the library.
- Accessing the
ACS website. The Younger Chemists
Committee web page are particularly useful to job hunters.
in other job-hunting related activities at ACS meetings. These
include mock interviews, resume consultations with ACS experts,
and workshops and symposia on job-hunting topics.
- Taking out an
advertisement in the "Situations Wanted" section of Chemical &
Engineering News or other industry-specific publications. ACS offers reduced rates to members and
- Consult your
college or university counseling center or website to find job
banks, resume writing, interviewing, and networking assistance.
It is best to prepare your resume during the summer before your senior
year. You'll have more leisure consider what types of jobs you would
like and to assemble the information on your qualifications and
accomplishments. You can also request permission of the individuals you
would like to list as references. Your resume is the first example
prospective employers have of your communications skills. So it should
be well-organized and well-written. Your resume should outline your
experience, interests, abilities, and goals and should emphasize your
accomplishments. Limit your resume to one page but make it as
comprehensive as possible. You can list publications and references on a
second page. Reference books at your library or placement office can
provide models of resume content and format. Your format should
contribute to the clarity and readability of your resume.
If you are uncertain about year career goals, prepare a separate resume
tailored for each career goal. For example, you might prepare one
version for the petrochemical industry and one for the pharmaceutical
industry. The resume you target to pharmaceutical industry could
emphasize your interest in biochemistry and the biochemistry courses you
took. Your second resume could emphasize courses more relevant to the
petrochemical industry such as physical chemistry and catalysis
Your cover letter should be more than just a note saying, "Here is my
resume." Also it shouldn't be just a restatement of what is in your
resume. Your resume tells what you are: a graduating chemistry student
with certain experience, abilities, and accomplishments. Your cover
letter should tell employers who you are through both its content and
tone. It should demonstrate that you are a productive,
accomplishment-oriented individual with good written communications
skills. Like your resume, it should be one page long.
Your resume and cover letter will get you an employment interview; they
won't get you a job offer. The critical step in getting a job offer is
the employment interview. Expect some nervousness and anxiety as you
approach this critical step in your job hunt. Preparation and practice
can reduce your concerns. Begin preparing by reviewing your resume
thoroughly so you will not need to refer to it during your interview.
Any successful job search entails an extensive examination of self,
employer, and the market. Job candidates should always research
information about prospective companies before any interview. Recruiters
are most impressed with candidates who have some prior knowledge of the
company. Ironically, this research is most commonly ignored or omitted
by candidates when preparing for an interview. Do not allow the
resources found in the data file below to limit you. It is not an
exhaustive list of all resources available. However, it is a list widely
used by chemists, chemical engineers, and counselors to seek out
information on career-related topics.
Note: Most resources in this section are provided by the
American Chemical Society.