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KITE Freiburg

Which type of conference delegate are you?

This text has been translated from a German original written by Dr. Eliza Leusmann (published in Nachrichten aus der Chemie (April 2018, p. 4KITE Freiburg46)). The drawings are from Maike Hettinger.



Answer these eight questions in order to prove once more, ‘We´re all individuals- me not!’



1) When do you sign up for a conference?

  1. Whenever my boss tells me to.
  2. … the early bird …
  3. … can bugger off!
  4. Whenever my secretary reminds me to do so.
  5. When rumours that the colleagues will attend go around the institute.
  6. Oops, until when was the registration deadline?


2) Where are you during the talks?

  1. Exactly where I belong- on stage!
  2. I sit in the front third on the left side, centre of row.
  3. Centre-centre, where everyone can see me well.
  4. I wait with my friends in the reception hall. There will be coffee soon, right?
  5. I sit at the back, so people don´t take as much notice if I snore.


3) What do you wear during the conference?

  1. Whatever my wife picked for me.
  2. The up-market red blazer, as always. That will be recognised and remembered.
  3. Ahm, the stuff from yesterday is still fine, I guess.
  4. Jacket and shirt, ironed.
  5. Hoodie and jeans, what else?
  6. My conference pants. Cord trousers, that keep me warm, super-comfy.


4) What do you present to the other participants?

  1. Nothing.
  2. My poster.
  3. My latest results.
  4. Myself.
  5. How to network.
  6. Almost the same as on the last conference, I am just updating it.
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Success does not come by copying others. Image by Pixabay

My Beggars Profile on LinkedIn and how it could be yours too…

“Looking for a Challenging Position”,

Believe me, there is no other LinkedIn headline poorer than this. Unfortunately, I realised this very late. Just like any other job seeker, I fell for this mistake. I thought recruiters will jump on my profile and chase me for available positions.


Well, do you know what’s the problem with these kinds of statements?


The first problem is, you have wasted the space on your LinkedIn headline. Headline space on LinkedIn (the one below your Profile Picture) is there to quickly mention your expertise and attract someone’s (recruiter or decision makers) attention to your profile. You merely have three seconds to catch someone’s attention. This can be done by putting some specific and strategic words there, so that they click on your profile and see what’s in there for them.

The second problem is, it sounds like a beggar. This headline doesn´t focus on the expertise/values that we have to offer but we show plain despair. We think that we will easily get noticed by recruiters. No matter if you have industry experience or not, what matters the most is, . Depict this, not your sheer desperation. By putting such statements, you fall into the category of despos. This is quite a serious issue that many of us fail to see.

What are other keywords in the headline that will make your profile look like a beggar one?


“Available for a new position”

“Available for new project”

“Actively looking for a job”

“Actively looking for a position”

“Immediately available”

“Job seeking”

“Looking for the exciting position”

“Looking for a job”

“Looking for new opportunities”

“Looking for a job”

“Looking for the project”

“Looking for a new challenge”

“Open for talks”

“Open to the new function”

“Open to new opportunities”

“Ready for a new challenge”

“Searching for a job”

“Searching for a new opportunity”

“Seeking new opportunity”

“Seeking for a new position”

“Seeking employment”

“Seeking new opportunities and challenges”


Remember, if recruiter wants you, THEY WILL FIND YOU.…

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Trade fairs for job hunting

Trade fairs are great events, not only for buying or selling equipment, but also for networking and career development. Am I talking about career fairs? No, at the end of this post you´ll know why trade fairs might be better than career fairs for job starters.

I just came back from this year´s Analytica trade fair in Munich, which I am using extensively to network and expand my collaborations. I want to share my thoughts about the trade fair setting, my preparation and my strategy.


Why is a trade fair so useful for job seekers?


Going to a career fair for life scientists can be a tiring experience. A multitude of graduates overcrowds even spacious halls and leads to stress for all attendees, regardless of their role. After queuing for ages, you get to pitch to an HR manager, “Hi, I am Philipp, I graduated…” You finish with the feeling that your poor conversation partner already had to listen to similar messages many, many times that day. “Thanks a lot for your interest in our company, please submit your application via our online platform.” “Can I leave my card…?” “Not necessary, all applicants go through the same process.”

Career fairs are not pointless, they can provide lots of useful information specifically for job starters. But it´s a very difficult setting to leave a lasting impression and to gain meaningful contacts.

Trade fairs, on the other hand, are there to sell and buy goods. What are graduates doing here? Imagine the following scenario.…

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Career options for scientists

Biological age or academic age?

In my office I find the application of a female academic in her early forties. The file feels heavy, 22 pages. Once I see that she is applying for a full professorship, I also know why. Fortunately, there is a table of contents, telling me what to expect at one quick glance.

By now she has been unsuccessfully applying for positions as a professor or team leader for two years. As an example, she has attached a job posting she applied for. She didn´t even get invited for an interview, although she thought she was perfect for the position.

Career options for scientists

I immediately jump to item no. 7, the list of publications, which is still the most important selection criterion in academia. 13 papers, of which she was the primary author on 8. The really big journals, like Nature or Science, are not among them, but the journals in which she has published are definitely respectable. I flip back to the section “Education and academic career”: She had started writing her PhD thesis in 2000. 13 publications in 16 years, that is probably not enough to show for when applying for a full professorship, I think to myself, perhaps even the reason why her application didn’t make the cut. Then I start working my way through the documents. On page 5, I come across the section “Maternity and parental leave”.

She had been on maternity leave for 10 months for each of her two children. In the fine print, I discover the following footnote: “Since 2009, I have been working part-time (65%).” I do the maths: 16 years minus 20 months, 7 years times 0.65.…

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