articles, proposals, and so on.
Since you’ve proven you can do it, you can
describe yourself in terms of your new field. To
continue with our example, you’re not “a chemist
who likes to write,” you are a “technical writer with
a background in chemistry.” Just by switching the
order, you will change others’ first impression of
you and also reinforce how you think of yourself.
Describing yourself this way will also make you
start feeling like a technical writer.
Online Educational Resources
UACS Webinars: http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/events.html
UTed Talks: new.ted.com/talks
Ui TunesU: i TunesU
UYou Tube EDU: You Tube.com/edu
Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
Now that you have your new description, add
a sentence or two describing what you are looking
for, in order to create an “elevator speech.” This is
a short description of who you are, what you can
do, and what you are looking for. It’s the answer
to “tell me about yourself,” customized to the specific situation. You never know who you are going
to meet, so you should always have a succinct description of yourself and your goals ready, updating it as your skills and desires change throughout
U ; Edx.org: Medicinal Chemistry: The Molecular Basis of Drug
Discovery (Search for course on the Web site.)
Then it’s time to revise the rest of your professional identity to match your new description. This includes reorganizing
your written documents, lists of skill sets, and professional
whether you know how to do something. The best way to
show that is by having done it already. Review your existing
accomplishments, and see if you can reword them to emphasize the new field.
Refresh Your Resume
Unlike the resume you use in academia, where a single version of your curriculum vitae suffices, your industrial resume
must be customized each time you apply for a new job.
Once you have created the library version of your resume,
when applying for a new job you can just make a copy and delete the least relevant items, then reorder and edit the remain-ing ones to match the requirements of the new position.
Especially when you are shifting directions, your resume
must be edited to showcase your transferrable skills using the
terminology of the new field. During your research into career
possibilities, you learned the terminology, not only what they
do, but what it’s called. Job titles and functions change over
time—ads today are for software developers or engineers, not
programmers—but you can use current job advertisements as
resources for proper terminology.
For example, if you are moving from a computational
chemistry postdoc into software development, you would
highlight your coding skills and programming languages, not
quantum mechanical methods development.
Put yourself into the mindset of a hiring manager in
the new field, and then reorganize the information on your
resume to appeal to such an individual. Expand your accomplishments in the new field, while shortening or eliminating
items related to lab-based activities.
In addition to your resume, you need to edit your
LinkedIn profile to make sure it’s telling a consistent story. Not
only should the data match your resume exactly, but it should
be obvious how this new direction is the logical next step based
on your career path to date.
Build Your Expertise
Most of this reorganization will take place in the list of
professional accomplishments under each of your job headings. All jobs should be listed in reverse chronological order,
usually under the heading “Professional Experience.” For each
position, include the job title, employer, dates of employment
(month and year), and the city and state in which you worked.
Under each position, list at most six bulleted items—your
most significant accomplishments while in that position.
Ideally, you will create a “library” version of your resume that includes all your significant accomplishments—
maybe many more than six. Now is the time to make sure all
your accomplishments in the new field are both listed and
placed earlier in the listing. A potential employer won’t care
whether you got paid or not, he or she will only care about
If you want to really strengthen your position, take a class in
the new field at your university or a community college. These
days, there are all kinds of online educational opportunities
as well; many of them are free, and some offer certificates.
Join the relevant professional society and attend their meetings, seminars, and workshops. Even better, volunteer to
help organize an activity. This will provide you not only with
experience in how things work in the new field, but also with
valuable connections with other professionals. These activities
could be listed in a “Continuing Education” or “Professional
Activities” section of your resume, and they show that you really are committed to this new area, putting in time and effort
to grow your skills in the new direction.
Seek out, or create, practical experience in the area you
have chosen. Can you find a project that will give you real-world experience in your new field? For example, if you really
GPC june 2016.indd 7
7/18/16 10:06 AM