you can help write his next patent, or ask your university’s
technical transfer office if you can help search for prior art. By
doing something in your new sphere, you build both experience and confidence. You will be that much closer to becoming
an intellectual property specialist with a background in analytical chemistry, not a chemist who once helped write a patent.
While seeking experience, make a conscious effort to
expand your network. Seek out friends of friends to ask for
information, ideas, and introductions to your new area. New
contacts are more likely to see you in a new light than are old
friends who have already categorized you.
Rethink Your References
Once you’ve updated the way you see yourself and revised
your resume and other documentation, you need others who
will talk about you in this new light. Who do you currently
list as references, and what is their relationship with you? Is
your undergraduate research adviser going to be able to sell
potential employers on your skills in technical writing, or is
she only going to talk about how great you are at fixing the
GC/MS? Perhaps you want to use someone else, with whom
you have worked on something more closely related to your
Change is scary, but it’s also exciting. Be positive. Focus on the
reasons you are moving TO the new field, not all the problems
you had with the old one. You know you will be successful in
this new direction, because you’ve already done some of it.
You just have to make sure the rest of the world knows what
you want, and sees what you can do. n
Lisa M. Balbes, Ph.D., has been a
freelance technical writer and editor
at Balbes Consultants LLC for almost
25 years. She is also the author of
Nontraditional Careers for Chemists:
New Formulas for Chemistry Careers
(Oxford University Press).
Learn the first steps
towards mapping out
your career plans and
how ACS’s new
ChemIDP can help!
PLANNING YOUR CAREER
Sunday, August 21, 2:00 – 4:00 PM
Pennsylvania Convention Center
Free Refreshments and