Categories
Advice

Career Opportunities for Chemistry Graduates

By Emma Giarracco with Allyson Boyington (Agricultural Industry), Elizabeth Ejzak (ORISE Program), and Kira Walsh (Career Resources)

There are so many careers that chemists can pursue. This page is still under construction and we will be adding more career opportunities! There are also some resources outside of Emory that could help you:

National Labs:

ORISE Program (Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Technology)

The goal of the ORISE program is to connect talented college students and recent graduates to national research institutions. Interning or working full time at national research organizations like the CDC, NIH, EPA, FDA is highly competitive and the ORISE program offers connections and an edge that is key for recruiting and gaining a position in national scientific research.

They offer summer internships for current college students as well as post graduate fellowships. These fellowships are not only great for graduate school applications but also an important step to becoming a full-time employee.

More information can be found at the following link:

https://orise.orau.gov/internships-fellowships/index.html

If you are interested in working specifically at the CDC, check out the Pathways program or additional internship opportunities on the CDC website.

Corteva: Agricultural Industry

Corteva is a research corporation in the agricultural industry that aims to create sustainable solutions for vegetables that help to promote a healthy agricultural ecosystems. Internship projects range from formulation, synthesis and insecticide research. This type of work can be particularly exciting for those interested in seeing the direct biological effects of chemical research.

Categories
Advice

Suggested Timeline

By Emma Giarracco

While students can pursue professional development opportunities at any time and in any order they would like to, you will often reap the most benefits for your time and effort by being intentional with the steps you take and when you choose to take them. Below is a suggested timeline you could work from to help you manage your professional development goals. You can read tips for each of the steps listed below on the other pages of this website.

First year, Fall semester

Set up a Handshake and LinkedIn profile. Familiarize yourself with those tools. Explore the Career Center website.

First year, Spring semester

Put together your resume. Schedule an appointment at the Career Center to have someone look over your resume and give you tips. Attend events and use resources available at the Career Center. Keep your Handshake and LinkedIn profile up to date.

First year, Summer

Explore opportunities by visiting websites (companies or REUs) and keeping notes. A little bit of time investment over the summer will help everything run a little smoother and more efficiently next school year! Here’s a few places to start:

Second year, Fall semester

Explore internship opportunities by visiting companies’ websites, talking with older students, and meeting with a Career Center advisor. Or, if you’re considering doing an REU instead of an internship, visit REU websites, talk with older students and faculty members.

Think about who might be able to write you a letter of recommendation. Once you know where you’ll be applying, ask your letter writers early so they are not writing under a time crunch. Polish your resume. Note deadlines for the internships and/or REUs you’re planning to apply for. Keep your Handshake and LinkedIn profiles up to date.

Second year, Spring semester

Apply to internship and/or REU programs. Prepare for interviews early in the semester. Keep your Handshake and LinkedIn profiles up to date.

Second year, Summer

If you got an REU or internship, congratulations! Represent yourself well and take full advantage of your opportunity! If you didn’t, politely ask your contacts what you could next year to make your application stronger, and decide the best way to spend your summer to set yourself up for success next academic year!

Third and Fourth Years

Continue to network. Send thank you emails to anyone you interviewed, interned, or researched with. Explore a second REU or internship. Be confident and continue to put yourself out there! (…and keep your Handshake and LinkedIn profiles up to date.)

Categories
Advice

Nailing the Interview

By Emma Giarracco

Interviewing well is key for getting into labs, connecting with recruiters, and landing an exciting opportunity. Use the resources below to learn how to best present yourself and improve your skills. The following resources were adapted from the Emory Career Center. http://www.career.emory.edu/preparation/interviews.html

Types of Interviews

General

Usually, these kind of interviews begin with a “Tell me about yourself” prompt. The goal of these kinds of interviews is to learn more about your personality, experiences, as well as your goals and aspirations for the future.

Before these types of interviews practice a candid yet professional elevator speech about who you are and what you are looking for. Use this list of potential interview questions to help prepare.

Before an interview, call a friend or family member and ask them to ask you potential interview questions! If they are unsure what to ask, you can provide them with the same list to help them!

Behavioral Based

These interviews focus on your role in specific situations and how you navigated challenging circumstances. Come prepared with a few stories that show your ability to think on your feet, persist, and create novel solutions.

Example questions:

  • Talk about a time when you had to work closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours.
  • Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
  • Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important. How did you eventually overcome that?
  • We all make mistakes we wish we could take back. Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
  • Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure. What was going on, and how did you get through it?
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to think on your feet in order to delicately extricate yourself from a difficult or awkward situation.
  • Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with the situation?
  • Describe a long-term project that you managed. How did you keep everything moving along in a timely manner?
  • Sometimes it’s just not possible to get everything on your to-do list done. Tell me about a time your responsibilities got a little overwhelming. What did you do?
  • Tell me about a time you set a goal for yourself. How did you go about ensuring that you would meet your objective?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to rely on written communication to get your ideas across to your team.

Research-Based

Especially for STEM interviews, this can be the most important kind of interview. The interviewer is looking for a technical understanding of your field, as well as a description of your specific role in the success of the project.

Example questions:

  • Tell me about a successful presentation you gave and why you think it was a hit.
  • Describe a time when you were the resident technical expert. What did you do to make sure everyone was able to understand you?
  • Describe a challenge you encountered in your research project and describe how you worked through it?
  • How did you overcome an unexpected obstacle?
  • Describe a time when you saw some problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it.
  • Give me an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
  • Tell me about a time you were dissatisfied in your work. What could have been done to make it better?

General Tips for Interview

Research the company and role of the job you are seeking. Understand the job description and echo the characteristics listed through your own experiences. Show, don’t tell. Look at the organizations’ mission, values, demographics, and organizational philosophy, as well as what department you will be working in.

Use the Emory Career Center website to make an appointment with a Career Counselor for help finding your voice and telling your story in an interview.

Check list/flow chart

It can be hard to prepare for every possible interview type and question. Use this short checklist to make sure you are ready.

  1. Polish and update resume. Include keywords and adjust experiences to fit the job description
  2. Create and practice a “Tell me about yourself” elevator speech introduction
  3. Ask friends or family for a practice interview. Ask for feedback!
  4. Dress professionally and appropriately. If the interview is virtual, make sure your background is neat and the lighting is flattering. Have a glass of water and pen and paper available.
  5. Be yourself! Smile, relax and be confident!
Categories
Advice

Handshake and LinkedIn for STEM Students

By Emma Giarracco

Handshake and LinkedIn can be an important part of your career journey. Learning what these resources are and using them effectively can help set you apart.

The value of networking

Handshake and LinkedIn are both tools for networking. Networking is beneficial for two main reasons: it allows you to find and connect with people whose career paths inspire you and inform you about opportunities available, it also allows you to build relationships that yield valuable advice and potential job referrals. Oftentimes, networking is seriously underutilized by students interested in STEM because of the traditional personalities research attracts. Going the extra mile to make a connection can help differentate you and an equally qualified and intelligent candidate to land a position you are especially excited about.

LinkedIn: Building a Great Student Profile

Write an informative profile headline

The headline of your profile should be short, memorable and professional. An example might be “Honors student seeking research position.” If you are unsure what to write, check out the profiles of your peers in the same areas as you or recent alumni.

Pick an appropriate photo

A high quality photo is required for LinkedIn. The photo does not have to be professionally taken, but it should be a nice headshot. Emory offers headshots at the career fair each fall. A photo can also be taken by a friend with a clean background and a nice shirt.

Show off your education

Include all your schools, majors/minors, study abroad programs or certificates. LinkedIn is a great way to connect with alumni of shared institutions. Be proud of who you are! LinkedIn is an appropriate platform to list honors, GPA, and/or test scores.

Develop a professional summary

A professional summary is a small personal statement similar to the first few paragraphs of a good cover letter. Present your interests, qualifications and professional aspirations and support them with relevant work and extracurriculars.

Fill Skills & Expertise with keywords

These keywords shoudl match the ones in the job listings of positions you are interested in. See the resume section of this website for examples of good key words, or look at the profiles of people who have the kinds of roles you want.

Update your status regularly

This is helpful to build your professional image. Mention projects, articles you find interesting or events your attending to create your digital brand. Recruiters and potential interviewers often read your feed.

Show your connectedness

Join industry and university groups. Emory chemistry has a LinkedIn group that is great for connecting with alumni.

Collect diverse recommendations

Strong profiles are built through having at least one recommendation for each position a person has help. It is most impressive if these recommendations come from people who have directly managed you.

Claim your unique LinkedIn URL

Set your LinkedIn to public and create a unique URL that you can list at the bottom of your resume. Mine is www.linkedin.com/in/emmagiarracco for example.

Share you work

Upload projects you are proud of completing! As long as it is ok with your research mentor, share your poster presentation or post links to any publications.

Handshake

Handshake is an Emory specific career website that allows you to find internships, work-study positions, research opportunities and find out about events that may be interesting to you. Many different companies will hold info sessions for upcoming internships that allow you to connect with the recruiter in a smaller context and learn about the program and what kind of applicants they are looking for. Handshake also allows you to create a profile-using the same suggestions as above-where recruiters can directly message you. The career fair is advertised every year on Handshake and sends reminders so you don’t miss out on important opportunities to land an exciting summer experience.

Connecting with recruiters

Connecting with recruiters is best acheived through authentic, customized and concise communication. Be professional and thoughoutful in the way you reach out. When you message someone, remind him/her/them where you met or expalin why you want to connect. In the message, focus on highlighting the things you have in common or specific aspects of his/her/their experience you want to discuss. Always proofread your message before sending it and keep it short and sweet. After you have connected with someone, learned from them or received mentorship always remember to say thank you!

Categories
Advice

Resume Resources

By Emma Giarracco with Beth White, Emory Career Center

Writing a cohesive, professionally formatted and well-done resume can be challenging! Emory has lots of resources to help. Start by using a template. Like this one!

For competitive applications, resumes are sent through a word processing program and improper formatting will result in an automatic rejection. Using the Emory BBA template is easy and already done correctly!

Once you have your resume properly formatted, make an appointment or submit your resume online to be workshopped at the Emory Career center. Make sure to also review their resources first.

Good resumes…
  • Are tailored to the job and emphasize the most relevant parts of your background
  • Do not include everything you have ever done
  • Include #s, %s and $s when possible (quantify your accomplishments!)
  • Use an easy to read font
  • Prioritize bullets by relevance

Resume Sections

Experience Section:

This section may include:

  • Paid or unpaid internships and work-study positions
  • Part-time or full-time employment
  • Independent study
  • Research
  • Volunteering
  • Extracurriculars (Greek organizations, Professional societies, clubs)

Tailoring the experience section of your resume is the most important part of the application process. Sending the same version of your resume to every position you’re applying for does not work if the roles you are seeking are very different from each other. Tailoring is a result of how your experiences are grouped and how you describe the experiences in relation to your reader’s key needs.

Resume bullets should answer the following questions:

  1. What did you do?
  2. How did you do it?
  3. Why did you do it and what was the outcome?.

Whenever possible use action verbs to describe outcomes and quantify results using numbers.

Here are some words that could help demonstrate the quality of your work and its impact:

  • Effectively
  • Efficiently
  • Excellent
  • Increased
  • Reduced
  • Improved
  • Streamlined
  • Transformed
  • Overhauled
  • Eliminated
Activity Section:

This section of the resume highlights campus and community involvement or leadership roles. Activities include student clubs, volunteering, greek life, athletics, and honor societies. First and second-year students may include high school activities, but juniors and students should keep to collegiate experiences.

Skill Section

This section is often included to help employers easily pinpoint areas of expertise. This section can include software skills, foreign language, laboratory skills (spectrophotometry, PCR and Gel Electrophoresis for example), multimedia skills (Adobe Premiere, FinalCut Pro), and social media skills. This section can also include interests that can be facilitate small talk at the beginning of an interview or creating a personal connection

Here are examples of some action verbs you could use to describe skills:

  • chaired
  • orchestrated
  • programmed
  • established
  • spearheaded
  • expanded
  • improved
  • merged
  • regulated
  • shaped
  • acquired

These verbs were taken from this resource that has 185 total examples!

Top 10 Attributes Employers Seek on a Candidates Resume

  1. Problem-solving skills
  2. Ability to work in a team
  3. Strong work ethic
  4. Analytical/quantitative skills
  5. Written communication skills
  6. Leadership
  7. Verbal communication skills
  8. Initiative
  9. Detail-oriented
  10. Technical skills

Source: Job Outlook 2021, National Association of Colleges and Employers

Example resume:

Categories
Advice

REU, Internships, Shadowing, and Studying Abroad: What is the difference?

By Emma Giarracco with Antonio Brathwaite (REUs) and Michael McCormick (Study Abroad)

There are a few experiences that are the most common for Emory students to pursue before graduating. You may have heard about some or all of these experiences but not be certain what the differences are between these options. This article gives a quick overview.

REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates):

REUs are federally funded research experiences lead by the NSF (National Science Foundation). They usually provide a small stipend and housing funds. International students are not traditionally eligible for REUs because of federal funding citizenship requirements, although some schools have funding specifically for international students. REUs are both competitive and prestigious and are often used as recruiting opportunities for graduate programs.

Most REUs are targeted to rising juniors and seniors though there are a few opportunities for rising sophomores. REU applications require two to three letters of recommendation as well as a statement of interest. Other application questions include relevant experiences, future career plans, or any attributes that may distinguish you from other applicants. A resume and transcript upload are also required. Applications open as early as December 1 and most deadlines will be in February or early March. A competitive applicant will begin preparation no later than the fall for the following summer. .

Internships:

An internship is a professional learning experience that offers meaningful, practical work as a learning experience. Internships can be paid or unpaid (the U.S. Department of Labor has strict standards that unpaid internships must meet for the benefit of the trainee.) Many chemistry internships are available in research and development in industry. These opportunities are best found by going to the careers section of a specific company and applying online. Handshake and LinkedIn are also useful for connecting with alumni to better understand an industry or discovering more internship opportunities.

Shadowing:

Shadowing is the opportunity to observe a professional in their work environment. At Emory, it is most commonly used to refer to learning about pre-health careers by observing practitioners like doctors of dentists. The Emory Career Center offers career discovery days that are advertised via an email blast at the beginning of each semester. Career discovery days offer the opportunity to shadow a professional in a wide variety of fields. The pre-health advising office also offers the opportunity to connect with healthcare professionals in the Atlanta area for shadowing opportunities. Many health shadowing opportunities require participants to be a student, so it can be important to explore while you are enrolled at Emory.

Studying Abroad:

Study abroad is a formal educational experience that takes place primarily in a different country than a scholar’s home institution. Participants benefit from specific coursework and from exposure to a new or less familiar cultural context and, often, language. There are many study abroad opportunities at Emory. The Emory Department of Chemistry offers a unique summer study abroad experience for 6 weeks in Siena, Italy (pictured in this post’s cover photo.) The program focuses on the application of chemistry to art, the food and wine industry, and architecture — both in and out of the laboratory and classroom. The program also offers the opportunity to travel around Tuscany, seeing historic cities such as San Gimignano and Florence while also studying at the historic University of Siena (one of the oldest universities in Italy, founded in 1240). From visiting art museums to learning about the chemistry of paints in the process of art restoration, the program offers an immersive cultural experience and a new perspective on chemistry. Program participants take 3 Chemistry courses for a total of 8 credit hours.