Friday, June 11, 2021

Have a great weekend

Well, we made it through the week. I hope you made it intact (only got part of my ear chewed off today, but that's all right.) Have a great weekend, and see you on Monday. 

Dashboard... Classroom?

Also in this week's C&EN, a fun article from Bethany Halford on the weird places that Zoom has taken us: 

University of California, Davis, chemistry professor Dean Tantillo brings new meaning to the phrase “zooming around in the car.” The combination of no office space in his house, curious young children, and limited childcare forced Tantillo, who has been teaching remotely this academic year, to log on from the front seat of his car for classes and meetings.

“It’s like being in an airplane, but you’ve got more space,” Tantillo tells Newscripts of his car schooling. He uses a small dry-erase board for teaching and a power inverter to plug his laptop into the car’s cigarette lighter. He also has a small tray that attaches to the steering wheel where he can rest his computer. Most days, Tantillo teaches from his driveway, but sometimes he parks outside the city library for a change of scenery.

Tantillo’s 2-year-old daughter occasionally naps in the backseat while he’s teaching or in a meeting. He says seeing her on screen is a good reminder that being a parent is not easy, particularly with the childcare challenges of the pandemic. “I don’t mind my students knowing that I’m a human,” he says.

Click through for the excellent headshot. The weirdest place I've had a work-related Zoom meeting was my garage (definitely went for the camera-off option.) Readers, where have you done your online meetings? 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

42 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 39 new positions for June 7.

Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company map, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

NYT: job seekers are gathering more power

Via the New York Times, interesting news as to the state of the job market: 

The relationship between American businesses and their employees is undergoing a profound shift: For the first time in a generation, workers are gaining the upper hand.

The change is broader than the pandemic-related signing bonuses at fast-food places. Up and down the wage scale, companies are becoming more willing to pay a little more, to train workers, to take chances on people without traditional qualifications, and to show greater flexibility in where and how people work.

...But the demographic picture is not becoming any more favorable for employers eager to fill positions. Population growth for Americans between ages 20 and 64 turned negative last year for the first time in the nation’s history. The Congressional Budget Office projects that the potential labor force will grow a mere 0.3 percent to 0.4 percent annually for the remainder of the 2020s; the size of the work force rose an average of 0.8 percent a year from 2000 to 2020.

For those of you who have read the blog from the start, this is some old news with some new changes: 

Efforts like the one at I.B.M. are, to some degree, a rediscovery in the value of investing in workers.

“I do think companies need to relearn some things,” said Byron Auguste, chief executive of Opportunity at Work, an organization devoted to encouraging job opportunities for people from all backgrounds. “A lot of companies, after the recessions in 2001 and 2008, dismantled their onboarding and training infrastructure and said that’s a cost we can’t afford.

“But it turns out, you actually do need to develop your own workers and can’t just depend on hiring.”

Turns out! What a shock! Well, I'm glad that some companies are finally learning the lesson that employee recruiting and engagement should not be neglected...

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 8 research/teaching positions

 The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 8 research/teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On June 9, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 5 research/teaching positions

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 339 research/teaching positions and 67 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 3389research/teaching positions and 67 teaching assistant professor positions. We will continue tracking into August 2021. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

In 2020-2021, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On June 2, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 557 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching faculty positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search?  Go to the seventh open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

Postdoctoral position: Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM

From the inbox: 

The Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT) in the Materials Physics and Applications Division (MPA-CINT) at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is seeking candidates for a postdoctoral associate in nanoparticle synthesis and in-situ transmission electron microscopy. Project work involves developing new colloidal syntheses for novel nanocrystalline intermetallics/alloys of transition metals with main group elements for catalytic applications and investigating their structural evolution using in situ electron microscopy. A strong candidate will have experience with organometallic and cluster chemistry, colloidal synthesis, electron microscopy, including environmental and in-situ methods (heating holders, gas flow etc.) Many other characterization facilities are available at CINT. Candidates are expected to collaborate with scientists at different organizations (e.g., National High Magnetic Field Laboratory) to perform cutting-edge materials science research which supports Laboratory missions and maintains Laboratory Excellence in Science and Technology.

The Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies is a national user facility funded by the DOE Office of Science to provide research capabilities in nanoscience to a worldwide community of users. The MPA-CINT group stewards the CINT Gateway facility at LANL, which together with the Core facility at Sandia National Laboratory form the entire CINT user facility. Scientific thrusts in CINT include: Nanophotonics and Optical Nanomaterials; Quantum Materials Systems; Soft, Biological and Composite Nanomaterials; and In-Situ Characterization and Nanomechanics. Additional information on the user facility is available at https://cint.lanl.gov .

Minimum Job Requirements:

A Ph.D. in Chemistry or Materials Science is required together with a strong background and hands-on experience in the inorganic or organometallic synthesis together with extensive experience with transmission electron microscopy. Excellent written and oral communication skills as demonstrated by writing and/or editing technical journals, papers or proposals. Strong interpersonal and communication skills as demonstrated by experience with public speaking (speaking at conferences, workshop, seminar, etc); experience analyzing and presenting technical information and data to the scientific community. Ability to work creatively and independently on multiple projects as demonstrated by meeting deadlines, goals and requirements.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Experience with environmental transmission electron microscopy, in-situ holders, and direct detection cameras
  • Experience working with catalytic systems
  • Experience with image analysis in a coding language (e.g., Python, Matlab)
  • Ability to obtain a DOE Q clearance, which normally requires U.S. Citizenship

Education: Ph.D. in Chemistry, Materials Science, or closely related fields, completed within the last five years or soon to be completed.

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.

Chemistry Bumper Cars

Check out the latest moves here! 

To submit information, click here or e-mail chembumpercars@gmail.com

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 24 positions

 The Academic Staff Jobs list has 24 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Chemical plant in Switzerland hit by ransomware

From this week's issue of C&EN (article by Rick Mullin): 
The Swiss pharmaceutical services firm Siegfried says it is beginning to ramp up production after ceasing operations at multiple sites in response to a malware attack it detected May 21. Operations at the firm’s Hameln, Germany, site, where it provides fill-and-finish services for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, restarted during the week of May 31. Siegfried says it anticipates a revenue shortfall in the first half of the year as a result of the outage, but it expects to recoup losses by the end of the year.

I don't know what to do about ransomware other than to insist on better IT security practices? Time for the world to fight the online version of the Barbary Wars?  



Thursday, June 3, 2021

Job posting: laboratory technician, Novaloop, Menlo Park, CA

From the inbox: 
We are seeking experienced Laboratory Technicians to help with chemistry research and process operations. We accept local applicants with the status for US employment. Requirement: experience running chemical reactions and processes in a chemistry wet lab.

This is a full-time position in Menlo Park, CA. We accept local applicants with the status for US employment.
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Job posting: Associate or Senior Editor, Nature Reviews Methods Primers, London, UK

From the inbox: 
Closing date: 7th June 2021

Nature Reviews Methods Primers has an exciting vacancy for an Associate or Senior Editor.

Nature Reviews Methods Primers (https://www.nature.com/nrmp/) covers analytical, applied, statistical, theoretical and computational methods used in the life and physical sciences. The journal is aimed at a broad, interdisciplinary audience of researchers at all career stages, providing them with the information to evaluate and apply methods to conduct their research, with a strong focus on enhancing interdisciplinary collaboration and providing guidance, from experts, on reproducibility and open science. The role is busy and varied. This exciting position will work closely with the small, in-house journal team, and liaise directly with the internationally renowned researchers and contributors.

Key tasks include commissioning and editing for all editorial sections, organizing peer-review, and writing PrimeView summaries.

The ideal candidate will have the following key attributes: a relevant chemical sciences degree to PhD level; a demonstrable ability to edit text for sense, clarity, factual correctness and language; experience that indicates a proactive approach and excellent organizational skills. An important aspect of the job is liaising with the scientific community and attending international conferences, so the successful candidate must be dynamic and outgoing, be prepared to travel and have excellent interpersonal skills. Training will be provided, but prior editorial experience may be advantageous.

Full ad here. Best wishes to all interested. 

Postdoctoral position: computational catalysis, Ye Lab, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY

From the inbox: 

A postdoctoral research position in Computational Catalysis is available in the lab of Professor Jingyun Ye. This research focuses on large-scale screening of potential catalysts for CO2 conversion.

The initial appointment is for one year and is renewable upon mutual agreement based on satisfactory performance and funds availability.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • A Ph.D. in computational chemistry, material science, physics or related fields.

Preferred Minimum Experience:

  • Familiarity with one or more computational chemistry software; such as CP2K, VASP, ASE, Gaussian, Turbomole, NWChem, QuantumEspresso
  • Experience working with computational study of catalysis, electro-catalysis, photocatalysis, semiconductor
  • Experience working with big data analysis, machine-learning techniques
  • Good experience in 1 or more programming/scripting languages like Python, MATLAB, C/C++/C#
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Job posting: analytical chemistry postdoc, Los Alamos National Laboratories, Los Alamos, NM

From the inbox: 

Q-5 is seeking a postdoctoral applicant for opportunities in high explosives characterization with a focus in analytical chemistry specifically in the areas of chromatography, mass spectrometry, and chemometrics. General areas of interest to our group include aging of plastic bonded explosives, understanding the chemical and physical relationship of polymers, and synthesis/impurity profiling in explosives. Positions will be awarded to candidates demonstrating exceptional talent with a successful collaborative and scientific track record.

Responsibilities for the selected candidate will entail:

  • Developing new chromatographic and chemometric methodologies for analysis of explosives, plastic bonded explosives (PBXs), and polymers
  • Application of these techniques to samples of interest
  • Contribute to internal reports, progress reports to sponsors, or technical publications in peer-reviewed journals, as appropriate to meet program objectives.

Minimum Job Requirements:

  • Ability to work effectively in a team with the ability to apply knowledge to a wide array of technical problems
  • Have a track record of publications and experience presenting at conferences.
  • Ability to obtain a Q clearance, which generally requires US citizenship.
  • Wide array of general analytical chemistry skills
  • Experience with a wide array of chromatography systems which may include: gas chromatography with time of flight mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography with quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry, gel permeation chromatography
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct high precision measurements and data acquisition are essential

Desired Qualifications:

  • Experience with explosive materials through handling or synthesis
  • Multi-dimensional chromatography preferably in liquid chromatography
  • Experience with chemometrics including PCA, PLS-DA, and PLS-R
  • MATLAB, Python, or LABVIEW programming experience are useful for data acquisition and processing

Education:   A PhD in analytical chemistry or closely related field within the last 5 years or soon to be completed.  The candidate must have completed all Ph.D. requirements by commencement of appointment.

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 1 research/teaching position

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 1 research/teaching position. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On June 9, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 5 research/teaching positions

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? This will serve as the first open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 338 research/teaching positions and 67 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 338 research/teaching positions and 67 teaching assistant professor positions. We will continue tracking into August 2021. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

In 2020-2021, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On May 26, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 557 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching faculty positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search?  Go to the seventh open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

Job positing: visiting assitant professor, biochemistry, Connecticut College, New London, CT

From the inbox: 
The Department of Chemistry at Connecticut College seeks applicants for the position of visiting assistant professor for the 2021-22 academic year. Teaching responsibilities include a biochemistry lecture course each semester, with three laboratory sections over the course of the year. The successful candidate should have a PhD in biochemistry or a closely related field and preferably some prior teaching experience at the undergraduate level. This is a benefits eligible position.

Connecticut College is a private, highly selective institution with a demonstrated commitment to outstanding faculty teaching and research. Recognizing that intellectual vitality and diversity are inseparable, the College has embarked on a significantly successful initiative to diversify its faculty, student body, and curriculum. The College seeks creative scholars excited about working in a liberal arts setting, with its strong focus on engaged teaching, participation in shared governance, and active involvement in an institution-wide advancement of diversity. We encourage applications from candidates who share this understanding of the faculty role and will contribute to the diversity of our college community, including members of historically underrepresented groups. AA/EEO

We value the contributions visitors bring to our community and encourage their active engagement with their departments and all aspects of campus life during the course of their appointment. Visiting faculty are eligible to be voting members of the faculty, and their presence is welcome at all faculty meetings. 

To apply, please submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and statement of teaching philosophy to chemsearch@conncoll.edu. Review of applications will begin on May 21 and continue until the position is filled. Questions may be addressed to Tanya Schneider, chair of the Chemistry Department, at tschneid@conncoll.edu.

 Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 21 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 21 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day; back tomorrow

Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C.
Credit: ABC News

Today is Memorial Day in the United States; it's a national holiday.

Back tomorrow.


Friday, May 28, 2021

Have a great weekend

Well, I've been having a relaxing week, having been off for part of it. I hope you have a great weekend, especially if you have a long weekend. We'll be back on Tuesday morning. 

Chemical Activity Barometer up 1.2% in May

From the American Chemistry Council: 
The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), rose 1.2% in May on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis following a 1.0% increase in April. On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer rose 18.6% in May (3MMA).

The unadjusted data show a 1.0% increase in May following a 0.9% gain in April. The diffusion index reached 100% in May. The diffusion index marks the number of positive contributors relative to the total number of indicators monitored. The CAB reading for April was revised upward by 0.91 points and the reading for March was revised upward by 0.16 points. The May data are provisional and subject to revision.

"The latest CAB reading is consistent with marked expansion of commerce, trade and industry," said Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC.

In May, production-related indicators were positive. Despite some recent weakness in housing – a reflection of higher interest rates and prices as well as labor and supply-side constraints – trends in construction-related resins and related performance chemistry were solid. Aided by strength in automotive markets, resins and chemistry used in other durable goods were strong. Gains in plastic resins used in packaging and for consumer and institutional applications were positive. Performance chemistry for industry was largely positive. Exports were positive, while equity prices gained, reaching new records. Product and input prices were positive, as were inventory and other supply chain indicators.

 Good news for both chemists and the broader economy. 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

42 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 18 new positions for May 25 and 24 new positions for May 20. 

Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company map, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Job Hunting in Unprecedented Times, by HappyChemist (Part 3)

(This is the third part of a three part series written by HappyChemist, who was hired in industry during the pandemic. It has been lightly edited. Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here - CJ)

Step 3: Virtual On-site Interview

Make sure to set-up your interview space as suggested above and prepare for a very long day! In my experience these can last anywhere from one to three days depending on the format, but most of them were just one very long day and in some cases a half a day. Really it seems to depend on the size of the company, the companies with larger investments into R&D seemed to have longer on-site interviews. No matter the length, bring your lunch (or snacks) and plenty of water! I never had the chance to eat a full lunch so I just always brought several small snacks. Water is a must, you are going to be doing A LOT of talking so you’ll want some sort of drink, just make sure it is spill proof. Organize your desk so that everything is at the reach of your extended arm. Paper, pencils, pens, notepads, post-its, drinks, snacks, tissues—these are all must haves. Make sure to mute, or even better, turn off your phone. 

In my experience no matter the length, the on-site interviews were nearly all formatted the same. The day always started off with me giving a research seminar followed by rolling/rotating interviews (described in more detail below). The seminars ranged in time from 20 min to 45 min with 5-15 minutes allotted for questions after. Most of my seminars were recorded so plan for that just in case, don’t share anything you don’t wish to be recorded. Usually there was a brief introduction, then I shared my screen and gave my presentation, which was then followed with questions. I usually only got 1-2 questions, but most of the interviewers saved their technical questions for their actual interview with me. 

Immediately following the seminar, the rolling/rotating interviews would kickoff. These consisted of back-to-back interviews with a 30–60-minute lunch break in there somewhere. Each interview lasted about 30 minutes with anywhere between 1-3 interviewers at a time. Sometimes I got a small break between each interview but not always, plan in advance for this eventuality. Usually for the interviews I either got one code for the whole day and the interviewers would rotate in and out of the meeting, or I got a meeting code for each separate meeting. If you have different meeting links, mind the time and do not be afraid to say you have to go to another meeting with the next interviewer. Your current interviewer(s) will understand that you have to move on and you do not want to keep the next ones waiting. Just don’t be so focused on watching the time that you come across distracted. 

All the rolling interviews were similar, with each interviewer introducing themselves. After that, the first half of the interview revolves around technical questions from the seminar and the last half focusing more on generic interview questions, several of which you will have already answered in the initial phone and video screens (most common listed above). Just roll with it, even if you are being asked the same question over and over. At the end you will be given time to ask questions, so come prepared for a few. For your own sanity, at the end of the day when you wrap up with the hiring manager don’t forget to ask when you can expect to hear back from them about next steps. When you are done with every single one your interviews, be it by phone or on-site, definitely follow up within 24 hours, thank them for their time. I think this is especially important in completely virtual formats because they aren’t actually getting to meet you face to face. So, any time you get to show off how you’d be as a co-worker is important. 

Tips for following up:

  • DO thank them for their time and remind them of your interest in the position.
  • DO keep it short and to the point. I always strive for five sentences or less. 
  • DO mention something you may have learned about the company or role that you are excited about.
  • DO mention that you are looking forward to hearing from them. 
  • DON’T be surprised if you don’t get a response. It is likely you won’t get one until the day they give you their decision. 

If you haven’t heard from them on the exact date they said they would follow up, DON’T email them yet. These decisions almost always take longer than planned, so give it an extra 3-7 days and then follow up. The only time you should reach out at or before this time is if you have gotten another offer or something has happened to your resume that might influence their decision to hire you.

Don’t be surprised if some interviewers are less than what you think is professional. At companies I interviewed with there were 1-3 people who were interviewing me while completely distracted. I actually had an interview where the person was actively working in lab, another where they were getting their home security system installed during the interview, one who told me they had another meeting they were attending at the same time, and one who was soothing a screaming child. Roll with it. Though, it can be quite awkward if they are the only person interviewing you. Thankfully, in most cases there were others also present who could run the show. I can forgive the person soothing their child because you cannot plan for that, for all the others with planned distractions…I cannot help but wonder if they were also distracted when they were interviewing my competitors? And if not, how their distractions during my interview played into their rating of me? Unfortunately, I will never know. 

A little unsolicited advice to the interviewers…if you cannot give an interview your full time and attention, do not sit in on it. Let someone who can give their full time and attention do it. To the interviewees: do not take it personally, sometimes s**t really happens.

After 7 months of applying to jobs in industry, I have officially formally accepted a job offer as an organic chemist! Somebody pinch me because I still feel like I’m dreaming. I hope this article was helpful to any of you who are just starting to look for jobs or are struggling in this virtual format. It can be quite stressful, but you are not alone and you can do it. Most of all, remember to be true to yourself, and show them why you are the best person for the job! GOOD LUCK! You are going to need it. 

Thanks to HappyChemist for their work in describing this most unusual of processes. - CJ

Job posting: Research Engineer, Bosch Research, Cambridge, MA

From the inbox, a position with Bosch: 

Job Description

The Research Engineer will develop atomistic computational material tools which are used to develop and improve functional material properties for usage in PEM fuel cells and other Bosch applications such as sensors, semiconductor devices, and coatings. These tools will enable mechanistic understanding of materials at the atomistic level, rapid material screening, elucidation of degradation mechanisms or possible mitigation strategies, and quantitative analysis of process kinetics in polymer and metal materials of interest. To support this activity, he or she may need to perform quantum chemistry, DFT or molecular dynamics simulation of organic materials (polymers and molecules) or inorganic materials (alloys, semiconductors, oxides, etc). 

Primary responsibilities:

  • Research in computational material science studying a wide variety of materials for electrochemical, sensor, semiconductor devices, and coating materials
  • Atomistic method and tool development and quantitative property prediction for existing or hypothetical materials
  • Screen materials for further experimentation, and interpret simulations to provide concrete takeaways for product development
  • Collaboration with experimentalist and modeling partners worldwide

Basic Qualifications

  • PhD from a top university in Materials Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering
  • Direct experience with atomistic simulation tools in high performance computing clusters
  • Direct experience with quantum chemistry, DFT, and/or molecular dynamics

Preferred Qualifications

  • Proficiency for quickly learning new skills or field of study
  • Experience and record of innovation in the atomistic space; particularly in identification of new use cases for atomistic simulation in products
  • Experience in one or more of the following: machine learning for materials; AI hardware; simulated chemical degradation or other kinetic processes; electrochemical property prediction from ab-initio data; electronic transport in organometallic systems
  • Experience with software development and databases; especially fluency in python
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Job Hunting in Unprecedented Times, by HappyChemist (Part 2)

(This is a part of a three part series written by HappyChemist, who was hired in industry during the pandemic. It has been lightly edited. Part 1 is here - CJ

Step 2: Phone and/or Video Screening

I will be discussing phone and video screenings together for the following reasons: (1) they are similar in format and sequence of questions, and (2) both exist to make sure you are who you say you are and if you will be suitable for both the company and the role. The overall format for both is similar, usually starting with an introduction of the role / company, followed by their interview questions, giving you time to ask your own questions at the end. I never had technical questions at this point in the process, and received those only during the second stage of the interviews. 

In my experience, if a recruiter contacted me, the first interview was a phone interview with the recruiter. If they felt I was a good fit, a video screening call would be set up with the hiring manager who would ultimately decide if I was suitable for the on-site interviews. In some cases, it was the hiring manager who contacted me directly for an interview, when this happened there was no phone interview and we skipped straight to the video screening. Phone interviews are “easier” because you don’t really have to worry about the location you are interviewing from and the calls are on average fifteen minutes long. Though the call is short, you still have to prepare for the potential questions the interviewer will ask. Video screenings with the hiring manger are longer (30–60 min) and require additional preparation, in terms of interview location and attire 

A Few Key Tips for Video Calls (screenings and on-site):

  • DO find a private location, free of distraction, and most importantly…a reliable internet connection!
  • DO make sure you are in a location with ample artificial lighting in front of you. Do not rely on natural lighting, as it looks bad on camera. On that note, be wary of placing yourself in front or on the side of a window, if this is unavoidable, close all blinds. The light should be in front of you, not behind you otherwise it will become the focus and you should be the focus.
  • DO NOT interview in a place where you will have to wear a mask. Find a private, well-lit, location where you can show off those pearly whites. 
  • DO dress up and dress professionally as you would for an in-person interview. This will help keep you in the interview mindset throughout the entire interview. 
  • That being said, DO dress comfortably! Do not wear uncomfortable shoes and clothing, even for a short interview. Uncomfortable clothing can make you come across…well…uncomfortable, which is awkward for everyone. You want to come across relaxed and being comfortable is the first step!
  • DO test your tech, try to do this in the location you will be interviewing from, at least one day before your first interview. Set up a meeting with someone and make sure you have no problems screen sharing and the internet connection is reliable. While you are at it, ensure that your sound isn’t muffled and your video quality isn’t poor, if so, you may want to invest in headphones and/or a web cam to combat these issues. 
  • DO ensure the surroundings that are visible to the interviewers look professional, neat, and reasonably distraction free. 
  • DO have your camera at eye level, this will likely require a stack of books or something to rest your computer on, but ultimately it will allow you to make stronger eye contact and it won’t seem like you are sheepishly looking down through the entire interview…plus no one wants to see up your nose through the whole interview. 
  • DO prepare for common interview questions and strategically place any key talking points on post-it notes in easily visible areas. I like keep them at eye level but if you can’t, just make sure you aren’t looking down too much. I had these, but rarely used them, they did come in handy once or twice though!
  • DO make sure you are in a location you won’t be disturbed by animals, co-workers, or children. Obviously, you cannot plan for everything, but do try to limit the distraction. I interviewed in an office at work and always put an “Interview in progress: Do not disturb” sign on the door because I still had interruptions from co-workers if I didn’t. Make sure to take scheduled noises into account; for example, if the landscaper uses a leaf blower every Monday at 9:30, schedule your interview for another time or find another place to interview.
  • DO come prepared with questions for them and make it an overly long list starting with the most important! It can be awkward if you have none for them when they ask. You will likely not be able to ask every question, but you don’t want to run out of questions awkwardly early. 

Key Questions to come prepared to answer (screenings and on-site):

“Tell me about yourself / past research experience”

Summarize your past research experiences. This is essentially your elevator pitch. Try to do this in 2-3 minutes or less (whatever you do, try not to go on more than 5 minutes here). Do not mess up the elevator pitch! Prepare, rehearse, repeat. 

“Why do you want to work at [insert company name here]?”

Do your research here! I think you would be surprised how many people haven’t thought the answer to this question out. “Because I need a job” isn’t sufficient even if you are thinking that in the back of your mind. I do a deep dive into the company website and find a couple of things that appeal to me that aren’t necessarily cookie cutter answers. 

“Why this role?”

You want to show your passion for the role. I always applied to jobs with a materials focus so I always started with, “My passion is bringing innovation to materials...” and then would lead into highlighting things in the job posting that would allow me to fulfill that passion, and finally would list the skills they are looking for that I have. 

“What are your plans for the future within the company? Do you want to stay in a more technical role or transfer to a more business/managerial role?”

Every company I interviewed at seemed to have two promotion ladders: a technical ladder and a business ladder, so have an idea of which you see yourself climbing. 

“Walk me through how you solve a research problem at work”

They want to make sure you aren’t a lone wolf or too needy, there is a balance, and knowing the point when and when not to ask others allows them to see how willing you are to work on a team and gauge time management skills / ability to meet deadlines. 

“Can you give an example of a conflict you had at work with a co-worker and how you resolved it”

Pretty self-explanatory, but ensure whatever answer you give here shows that you are a pleasant person to work with despite any challenges you may have had with a co-worker. 

I am currently a postdoc and I always had aspirations for industry. However, because I am doing a post doc and have a strong publication record, I was always asked why I was not going into academia. If this is also your situation, come prepared to answer that question. 

(Thanks to HappyChemist for their thoughts, and stay tuned on Wednesday for part 3!)

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 338 research/teaching positions and 67 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 338 research/teaching positions and 67 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

In 2020-2021, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On May 26, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 557 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching faculty positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search?  Go to the seventh open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 19 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 19 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Job Hunting in Unprecedented Times, by HappyChemist (Part 1)

(This is a part of a three part series written by HappyChemist hired in industry during the pandemic. It has been lightly edited - CJ) 

Interviewing for chemical industry positions in the midst of a global pandemic has been anything but easy. As companies transition to completely virtual interview formats, they are able to interview more candidates than usual, while saving a lot of money in the process. With fewer open PhD level positions, competition is extremely high! Fear not, the goal of this article is to provide some advice for those in the midst of their job search and insight into this completely virtual process from someone who has recently been through it.

In most cases the virtual interview process goes as follows:

Step 1: Apply → Step 2: Phone and/or Video Screening → Step 3: Virtual On-site Interview → Offer?

Alright, let’s walk through each step…

Step 1: Apply

My approach was to start with a quality over quantity mindset in my application process. I set myself a “desperation date” and before this date, I would take my time to tailor the materials within each application (resume and cover letter) to the position, highlighting the parts of my career / skills I thought they would be most interested in based off of the posting. 
 
Once the “desperation date” arrived, I would ramp up production and just apply, apply, apply with a more generalized resume and cover letter. The idea being that by this point the materials would be of the highest quality possible and I could just churn them out, simply changing the company name, date, and role applied for in the cover letter between applications. I could also select from several top-notch cover letters tailored to different types of work, pharmaceutical research job? Tailor my pharmaceutical cover letter. Materials research job? Tailor my materials letter. Easy peasy. 

Unexpectedly and excitingly, I managed to get a job just a few days before my desperation date. In all, it was a 6-month long process, in that time I applied to sixteen companies and for some I applied to several different jobs within the company. Eleven of these companies called me to schedule a phone (or video) interview, that’s a 69% success rate. Not bad! I attribute this to my materials being flexible to tailoring, allowing them to pass through the HR filters and make it into the hands of the recruiters. 
I also used my resources—if I knew someone at the company, I emailed them and asked for advice and/or a referral. If I didn’t know anyone at the company but was really interested the position, I looked for talent acquisition/recruiters for that company on LinkedIn and sent them a message telling them I would love a chance to tell them how my skillset fits within the role. I got interviews at every place I did this with, as well as several I didn’t. 

A few key tips for your job applications:
  • DO have your resume and cover letters proof read! Don’t be shy. Every proof will only make your resume and cover letter stronger.
  • DO be direct in your cover letter. For example, write “I am well suited for x role for y and z reasons”, don’t write “I think I will be well-suited for x role…”
  • DO put together clear, concise, consistent, and attractive materials to help you stand out. Your resume should be 1-3 pages (three pages max, two pages preferred), and aim for a one-page cover letter. There should be consistency between documents in terms of general aesthetics, letterhead, etc. 
  • DO submit your documents as a PDF, do not leave your fate up to the conversion Gods! The only time I wouldn’t submit as a PDF is if they recommend you submit your resume as a word document. As an avid Mac user, I personally would still submit my resume as a PDF. 
  • DON’T half-[donkey - redacted for corporate browsers - CJ] it. This is your first shot to showcase your attention to detail, so do it!
Thanks to HappyChemist for their work, and stay tuned on Tuesday for part 2! 

House members raise concerns about Chemical Safety Board staffing

Via NJ.com, this article: 
Ongoing staffing problems have Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. and other members of the powerful committee he chairs worried that the independent government agency that investigates chemical accidents isn’t up to the job.

They’re concerned about the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, recently described by U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., as the “nation’s premier investigating agency when it comes to industrial chemical accidents.”

Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday asked Katherine Lemos, the last remaining member of the five-person board, to explain whether a lack of staffing and board members has interfered with how the chemical safety board operates.

“We are concerned about recent reports indicating that both persistent and emergent issues may be undermining the CSB’s ability to protect American communities and workers,” wrote the lawmakers, whose committee oversees the chemical safety board.

It is a disappointment that, failing to eliminate the agency, the previous Administration succeeded at damaging it by failing to appoint board members. Here's hoping things come back for them.