The ACS Career Day took place in Houston on Saturday, March 7th. This year’s career event was hosted by members of the ACS National team and provided a wealth of career advice and networking opportunities. The morning kicked off with a series of workshops designed to get attendees thinking about how they can prepare for interviews and demonstrate their value to an employer.
Dr. Samina Azad started with a presentation on "Getting the Interview", asking the question of how you distinguish yourself from a list of great candidates. The answer? Do your research! Understand the company and be prepared to discuss how you fit their needs, as well as how you could contribute to company growth. Dr. Azad also noted that when interviewers ask, "Why do you want to work for us?", it’s not just small talk, it's a serious question. Make sure you have a good answer that shows your understanding of the company and doesn’t just say how convenient the job would be for you.
Dr. Amanda Brown gave an excellent workshop talking about the importance of transferrable "soft" skills and how to both inventory your existing skill set as well as plan for future development. As she pointed out, your current skill set is what gets you in the door but it’s where you grow from there that makes the biggest difference to your career.
After a brief coffee break, Jahari Soward presented a great breakdown of how to start building your professional network. Who needs to network? Everyone! Shy or introverted people can consider talking to other quiet people at events or setting a personal goal to make a specific number of new connections. Remember that networking shouldn't just be about asking for a job but about building relationships that are productive and positive for both parties. A final suggestion was to have a 30 second elevator speech ready for on-the-spot or impromptu networking.
The final program session was the Ask a Recruiter panel where attendees had the opportunity to ask two professional recruiters about the finer details of candidate recruitment and the hiring process. Attendees were then offered the opportunity to practice their networking skills over lunch and attend one-on-one meetings with ACS Career Consultants throughout the afternoon. Thanks to the ACS National team for putting on a wonderful event, and particular thanks to everyone who attended. We hope the information presented helps you take the next step in your career!
Did you know that ACS members have access to a professional career development program to help build individual career plans? Check out different career paths and set personal growth goals at https://chemidp.acs.org. Members can also take advantage of personal career consulting as part of their member benefits. Find out more at https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/careers/personal-career-consulting.html.