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ACS Career Consultants: A Valuable Resource For Members

by Rick Ewing, Chair, Committee On Economic & Professional Affairs
October 5, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 39

Credit: Courtesy of Rick Ewing
Picture of Ewing.
Credit: Courtesy of Rick Ewing

One thousand two hundred eighty-four. That’s the combined number of personalized career consulting sessions that occurred at this year’s ACS national meetings in Denver and Boston. Each of those interactions represents an ACS member that had a face-to-face discussion with an ACS career consultant to review a résumé, take part in a mock interview, or receive general career advice. These are personal interactions—included free of charge with ACS membership—that tangibly assist members in finding employment and advancing their careers.

The ACS career consultant program has existed for decades and provides a means for knowledgeable volunteer members from within the ACS community to give back to those who are in need of career advice. Career consultants provide a crucial service at the ACS national meeting career fairs.

Outside the national meeting, a significant number of members interact with career consultants using online resources. The program accommodates these requests using a robust virtual matching platform to ensure that ACS members, regardless of where they are located, can receive career advice whenever they need it. Online consulting tends to be deeper and lengthier, allowing both consultant and client time to really get to know each other.

Over the years, we’ve heard some truly remarkable stories about how these initial discussions have developed into a substantial mentoring relationship, leading to a variety of wonderful outcomes from job placements to salary boosts.

Bar graph about in-person and online career consulting.
Many members have taken advantage of in-person and online career consulting services. NOTE: In-person interactions during spring and fall ACS national meetings. Mock interview and résumé review data not available for 2010 and 2011. a Numbers are through Aug. 31. SOURCE: ACS Career Navigator

At present, the ACS Committee on Economic & Professional Affairs (CEPA) has designated 70 individuals as official ACS career consultants. The consultants receive yearly training on issues job seekers face. They become expert resources on ACS career service offerings through the ACS Career Navigator program. The career consultants use this knowledge to guide clients to other ACS services and programs that further members’ objectives. Each year, a few career consultants are selected to receive a five-year review of their credentials. The rigors of this process ensure that any ACS member using the program for guidance is matched with a knowledgeable consultant.

Career consultants are a resource that any ACS member can use to get advice on all aspects of career development.

Whether consulting is initiated online or on-site, all sessions start with the consultant listening to what the member needs and helping him or her with the best way to reach these objectives. Some clients simply want to chat about career options or receive general advice on job-searching strategies. Others are looking for more specific information, such as a résumé review or becoming more fluent in the best resources to use for finding employment.

Any ACS member interested in receiving career guidance is invited to use the online mentor search to find an available consultant. However, anyone unsure of where to start is encouraged to directly contact the ACS staff who manage this program by e-mailing ACS staff will work with the client to identify which consultant would be the best for this important member-to-member interaction.

ACS members who are looking for a rewarding way to give back to the chemistry enterprise are also invited to apply to become a career consultant. This program is not only a fantastic way for members with a wealth of career experience to give back, but it is also an opportunity for those in their first few years of employment to share the strategies that have worked well for them.

The only common characteristic that makes a good ACS career consultant is a passion for helping others with their careers. Participation could be as small as a few hours every month or as substantial as devoting a few days at each national meeting for consulting sessions—travel cost is provided by the program. Interested individuals are encouraged to apply online.

The program is always in need of passionate members with a philanthropic streak. It also is a fantastic way to build one’s own network and learn more about best practices in job searches and current trends in the economy.

I hope to see many of you online or in person in either of these roles over the coming years.

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.


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