It’s O’dark:30 and I am heading out to a flight to San Francisco. This evening and the rest of the weekend I’ll be conducting training for volunteer career consultants and presenters on the West Coast. In this time of economic woes, ACS is stepping up efforts to serve members through career management and development programs, and ACS volunteers are heeding the call to service by volunteering to help.
As I climb into the shuttle van, I choose my seat carefully. My fellow passengers are asleep, some snoring, others perched with poise and one woman mouth agape. The only light in the cab is from the drivers GPS which is stuck on an announcement that “You have arrived”. I know that can’t be true though. This trip is just beginning. President Obama announced last night that we are in for a bumpy ride as the nations of the world cue up their solutions for economic recovery. He cautioned that a full recovery will take several years. My trip today will not take that long. After a six-hour flight to San Diego, I’ll switch planes for a quick trip up the coast of California.
On the other end of the flight, eighteen ACS volunteers are waiting at a hotel in downtown San Francisco to receive the training that they need to present our workshops on finding a job, writing a resume and interviewing. These workshops are essential to many of our members who now find themselves out of a job after being at the same employers for the last decade or so because the world as we all knew it, have changed. When the baby boomer generation first gained employment, the job search process was paper-based, and most resumes were formatted and typed on clunky machines that sputtered letters onto a page with mechanical hammers. The most recent ACS Starting Salary Survey indicates that the top way for people to find jobs in industry is by using electronic databases like the ACS Careers Jobs Database. Number two is through networking, but even that has changed. For awhile the key phrase in hiring was, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Sure, networking still involves meeting people and finding commonalities, but the methodology has been transformed by changes in technology and culture and it is very definitely “what you know” about technology and culture that will find you gainful employment. Electronic networking tools like the ACS Network and LinkedIn are becoming more prevalent, and people need to know how to use these tools to be competitive. The third most common way to find a job in US industry is through employment services. ACS has recently started a partnership with Kelly Services as a way to bridge that gap. Kelly is now placing job listings from their clients in the ACS Jobs Database as a service to ACS members. We teach all of these techniques and more to our volunteers, so that they can in turn teach them to you. ACS members have an advantage over many others who are seeking a job. They can obtain free career consulting services through the ACS Careers Jobs Database after registering and verifying their membership in the Society.
For members concerned about the cost of membership, it should be noted that ACS offers a dues waiver for up to two years for ACS members in good standing who have been a member of ACS for at least one year. For more information on this waiver and the services available to unemployed ACS members, contact ACS Member Services or see the online summary of services.
The driver has pulled up to the terminal and it is time to wake my compadres. I am actually surprised that they were able to sleep so well considering the volume of our driver’s radio. It is tuned to a disco station that specializes in tunes that are bumpin’, bumpin’ to keep your speakers thumpin’, thumpin’. One man’s disco is sometimes another’s lullaby.
I quickly claim my bags and make my way through the gate and on to the plane. Security took longer than I thought. It seems that the analysis of my CAT scan required the evaluation of a specialist from Mumbai. On the plane I find a seat and stow my luggage. It’s been a bumpy ride so far, but I expect smoother travel once our wheels leave the ground.
As you prepare to re-enter the job market, be aware that your professional membership Society, ACS offers many tools to aide in your search and that people are standing by to help.
David Harwell is the Assistant Director for Career Development and Diversity Programs at the American Chemical Society.