How To Reach C&ENACS Membership Number


August 5, 2002
Volume 80, Number 31
CENEAR 80 31 p. 47
ISSN 0009-2347



Members should feel that ACS is a tremendous resource for their entire careers--not just for when they are looking for a job but also for career development and seeking other opportunities.
In my Presidential Message (C&EN, Jan. 7, page 2), I ranked career services and professional development among the most important programs that ACS could provide individual members. In the wake of news that the unemployment rate for chemists has surged to 3.3%--the steepest one-year climb in the history of the survey (see page 37)--it's even more important to underscore immediate ways that ACS can help you with your career and to describe a vision for the ways that we might improve those services for the future.

Since its beginnings, the member-oriented Department of Career Services (DCS) has provided career development assistance to tens of thousands of chemists and chemical engineers. All the programs are geared to meeting the specific needs of chemical professionals. I want you to know that ACS is a tremendous resource for an entire career--not just for when you are looking for a job.

* The granddaddy of these programs is NECH (the National Employment Clearing House), which functions as an on-site career center where job seekers and employers can meet for interviews at national and regional meetings. After perhaps its largest overhaul in its 65-year history, NECH has been reborn as an online, fully computerized, and Internet-accessible database. The new way of doing business at NECH includes direct access to résumés and positions, a private e-mail system, and interview scheduling--beginning on the first day of the registration period (which ends Aug. 14.) Now job seekers and employers can communicate with each other and establish their interview schedules well before the start of a national meeting. Visit the Web at

* Another vital career development resource is the Career Consultants Program, which provides individualized, year-round career guidance to ACS members delivered by a corps of more than 64 volunteer career consultants. Requests for consultants are climbing rapidly. The caseload in 2001 was twice that of the year before and is keeping that pace in 2002. Your help is needed. Members interested in volunteering to serve as career consultants are invited to contact DCS either by telephone at (800) 227-5558 ext. 6210 or by e-mail at careers@

* DCS has also recently upgraded its Web presence at Looking for statistics on salaries and employment rates? Need some key information on where chemists are going to work, how the market is changing, and how those changes might affect chemists? It is all presented here. The site now provides dynamic content, updating new feature stories and "Did You Know?" areas on a weekly basis. New technology allows readers to participate in polls about career-related issues and view the results in real time, as well as more easily access DCS information to find and access resources such as DCS's library of timely publications about chemists and the chemical workplace. Among the most popular titles are "The Interview Handbook," "Tips on Résumé Preparation," and "Targeting the Job Market."

* The ACS Salary Comparator, which allows members to electronically evaluate their salaries in relation to other members in their own employment situation, is also housed at Introduced last year, the comparator allows members to examine any employment situation within the scope of ACS salary surveys, including new graduates' starting salaries.

In addition, Chemical & Engineering News Classifieds (in print and online) and, an online ACS recruitment and career site, are other vital resources. The sites are committed to offering advanced technology and specialized content to help chemists manage their careers more effectively. For more information, visit and

The 21st century requires a new menu of career service offerings. I believe there are a number of steps ACS can take to strengthen our members' job security. For example, along with our partners in industry and academia, the society must focus on intensive retraining programs and career tutorials. These programs should be offered in such a way that cost is not a barrier to participation. With the further application of Internet capabilities, these services will become even more accessible.

I would further urge exploration into a process I have proposed by which all ACS members could be anonymously registered and their skills and knowledge noted to facilitate both job-seeking and hiring efforts. Instead of chemical professionals having to look for new positions after five or six years, jobs should seek them! We should provide members with the awareness that they are valued and other opportunities are open to them in the chemical field.

Members should feel that ACS is a tremendous resource for their entire careers--not just for when they are looking for a job but also for career development and seeking other opportunities.

The services are there. Use them!

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


Chemical & Engineering News
Copyright © 2002 American Chemical Society

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