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ACS Services For Unemployed Members Are Extensive

by Thomas H. Lane, ACS President and recently retired chemist
July 6, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 27

Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography

Unemployed? Worried about becoming unemployed? You can count on ACS. The society serves its members—all of them—no matter their current employment status. The number and variety of available programs, products, and services are amazing, and I don't think our membership really knows about the breadth of services available. In this Comment, I would like to highlight some of the services ACS provides specifically for unemployed members.

The most obvious ACS membership expense is the dues. But unemployed members do not have to pay dues. In fact, if you have been a member in good standing for at least one year and become unemployed, you can get a dues waiver for up to two years. Contact or call (800) 333-9511 or (614) 447-3776 and report your change in status. Once this has been done, a wide variety of services become available to you at reduced rates.

Networking. The best way to find a new job as a chemist is to talk to other chemists and to people who hire chemists. And where can you find these people? At ACS meetings! Go to for information.

• National meetings. ACS hosts two national meetings each year. Unemployed members can register for free. Meetings will be held in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 16–20; in San Francisco on March 21–25, 2010; and in Boston on Aug. 22–26, 2010. All events will offer a full program of career services.

• Regional meetings. Registration is greatly discounted. Not only can you network with other chemists but most regional meetings also have free career workshops, individual résumé reviews, and career advice. This fall, regional meetings are slated for Hartford, Conn.; Iowa City; and El Paso, Texas.

Continuing Education. Unemployed ACS members get 50% discounts on a variety of courses. Visit for information. Offerings include the following:

• ACS ProSpectives Conferences. These courses focus on discovery, development, and production of pharmaceuticals and therapeutics.

• ACS Short Courses. These cover technical topics in areas such as biological/pharmaceutical/medicinal chemistry, chromatography, engineering, spectrometry, and management/business/professional development.

• ACS Webcast Short Courses. The same high-quality instruction found in ACS Short Courses is available online. The online course catalog covers a wide variety of topics and skill levels.
In addition, unemployed members can buy one online course in either of the following programs and get three other courses in the same program free.1

• ACS Harvard Online Business Courses. These self-paced courses offer practical advice and how-to instruction in 42 distinct soft skills, including delegating, goal setting, persuading others, presentation skills, team leadership, and team management.

• ACS Leadership Development System. Online courses cover topics such as managing projects effectively, running productive meetings, fostering innovation, coaching and feedback, collaborating with others, and leading change. In addition, all four-hour facilitated leadership courses are only $25 each for unemployed members.

Career Resources. These are free to all members. Go to for information.

• ACS Career Consultants. If you need someone to offer advice or give an unbiased opinion, ACS career consultants are trained ACS members who volunteer their time to help with résumés, interviews, job searches, and negotiating offers.

• InterviewStream. This online tool lets members practice answering interview questions and uses a webcam to record responses. Your recordings can then be viewed online, sent to a career consultant for constructive criticism, or posted online for potential employers to see.

• ACS Salary Comparator. When the time comes to negotiate your next job offer, this tool provides valuable data on median salaries and can help frame your negotiations.

• ACS Network. To reach a wider audience, sign up for the society's social network at When you join, you can search for colleagues with similar interests, join discussions, and ask questions—all online.

• Additional resources. Listen to monthly Careers Industry Forum teleconferences and read the weekly "ACS Careers Blog."

If you're unemployed, it is not a good time to drop your ACS membership. If anything, it is a time to become even more involved, leverage all your resources, and find that next perfect opportunity.

And it's not a bad idea to take advantage of these services while you are employed. Preparation is the best defense, and ACS is the place to prepare yourself to be the best chemist you can be.

With regard to my retirement, I volunteered to retire after an incredible 35-year career at Dow Corning. I am now a scientist emeritus with the company, and I'm looking at the products and services that ACS offers as I plan the next phase of my career. I will be looking for you online and at our meetings.



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