Gramlich, P, Bodewits, K. Filling in industry skills gaps, Chemistry World.
Bodewits, K. Working from home because of COVID-19? Here are 10 ways to spend your time. Science Careers.
Giltner, D. M., Gramlich, P. How to get research funding from industry. Chemistry World.
Bodewits, K., Gramlich, P. The time, life, and career management workbook for natural and life scientists. eBook.
– How do you get along with your current boss/ colleagues?
Of course, never talk negatively about your ex-colleagues.
You can talk about them in a general sense, as long as you don´t mention names or give revealing details this is fine.
– Why do you leave your current employer?
The challenge with this question is to not talk in any negative way about your old environment while giving a credible motivation for your application. It is not a satisfying answer if you just say that you follow your partner to a new town. In such cases, leave the private part out and tell what you like about the new employer and how you think that your personal development will profit from this step.
– Tell me about your current work, what do you (dis-) like about it?
Do not give any confidential info away, this is a nice question for the employer to see if you can react relaxed yet professional.
This question inquires several things from you at once. Can you explain your work in front of people from other environments or even in front of a lay audience? Up to which level of detail did you go into during your last job and was that appropriate for the position? What fascinated you most, the big instruments, the processes at molecular level, the commercial applications or the interaction with your colleagues? Imagine you talk about your last position, in which you were leading a large team. If you focus too much on the detail level in your description of this leadership position, you´ll give the impression that you couldn´t let go of your scientist´s tasks and didn´t live up to the expectations towards you as a leader. Before beginning with your reply you can ask the interviewer into which direction the answer is supposed to go. Thereby you show that you target your explanations to a specific audience, and don´t just focus on yourself and your own work.
“In an interview with a large producer of vaccines I was asked to explain the product I developed in my last position. Before going into the explanation, I asked about the audience of my explanation, “Am I to imagine your role as technical co-worker in an analytics lab, as pathologist working on the diagnosis or as patient, who speaks with the doctor?” This query of mine came across very positively in the interview and I was told that this was exactly the right approach for the position. In the future job I would also constantly have to adjust to various target audiences.”
Please be extremely careful not to relate to any company secrets or internal info from your old employer. Nobody wants to hire an information leak.
Do you describe the situation predominantly positive or negative?
Do you seek mistakes predominantly with yourself or with others?
– How would your boss/ colleagues describe you?
Always have a few quotes from former colleagues and bosses in mind, which might be relevant for the position you apply for. “A former boss once remarked that it is a pleasure to read my reports, even if they are about the driest of topics.” Or, “My colleague Sarah recently remarked that she admires my interactions with customers, very direct yet always polite.” When you are able to “bring someone into the room”, if you manage to describe your advocate in a credible and authentic way, you can leave a strong impression. Some people find it harder, some easier to put words into the mouth of others than describing themselves directly. Your answer will also allow the interviewers to draw conclusions about you: do you believe the positive judgement about yourself or do you even let this judgement be heard? Each person can find positive examples of remarks about themselves when thinking about it hard enough and in turn bring them across in a credible way if they are authentic examples. Don´t go alone into the interview and rather believe in your best friend Sarah, she surely didn´t just say her compliment without meaning it!
– With which type (personality) of colleagues do you prefer to work together?
– Did you already encounter problems with a boss or colleague?
Bodewits, K. Idealist or pragmatist? For a successful job search, know your priorities. August 2021.
Bodewits, K. Scientists, let’s talk about cash—and the financial realities of career choices. April 2021.
Bodewits, K. Hesitant about virtual networking? Adjust your approach to harness the benefits. Feb 2021.
Bodewits, K. To get most out of your workday, consider your ‘inner clock’. Dec 2020.
Bodewits, K. To get a nonacademic job, you need to learn the jargon. Oct 2020.
Bodewits, K. For job searches in a crisis, concessions and creativity are key. July 2020.
Bodewits, K. When applying for nonacademic jobs, think creatively about your transferable skills. June 2020.
Bodewits, K. Why you should craft multiple plans for your future career. Apr 2020.
Bodewits, K. Three bad reasons to do a postdoc. Feb 2020.
Bodewits, K. Think about career planning throughout grad school—not just at the very end. Nov 2019.
Bodewits, K. Be proud of your resume, wobbles and all. Oct 2019.
Bodewits, K. For career support, tap your network! It’s deeper than you realize. Aug 2019.
Bodewits, K. Share your science with a story. Jun 2019.
Bodewits, K. You’ve accomplished more than you think. Apr 2019.
Nachrichten aus der Chemie
The career columns we write for Nachrichten aus der Chemie are published in German. We are in the process of translating them to English, see the small but growing selection below.
See here the list of the German originals:
The short storys in Labjournal are only available in German
Articles, books and chapters
ScienceMums has a longer history than NaturalScience.Careers:
Philipp Gramlich (co-founder of ScienceMums and NaturalScience.Careers) appears with a founder portrait in Laborjournal (6/2014 S.48-49 Author: Winfried Köppele). In the Süddeutsche Zeitung (08-11-2014) a nice article about ScienceMums written by Tobias Birzer appeared.
Read about us in the monthly journal “Nachrichten aus der Chemie” (Vol. 62, Januar 2014, S104).
You could read about us in the Deutsche Universitätszeitung (DUZ) Europa.
Read about us in Biologie in unserer Zeit (BIUZ). This article has been written by Tobias Birzer.