chemistry

chemistry

Thursday, 15 June 2017

What bugs recruiters?

Employers have roughly 20-60 seconds to look at your CV.  Here's how not to bug them, according to a recent survey by Reed of 300 employers.

50% said their top bugbear was poor spelling and grammar
33% said the most irritating phrase was "socialising with friends"
40% said they would disregard any CV if it had no cover letter



Employers do have some "likes" too:

91% said a 2 page Word document (I assume that includes a pdf file) is preferred for a CV
50% said that a logical order/relevance is the most important feature in a CV
82% said they're impressed if a candidate follows up their application/expresses further interest.

See the survey for more tips

You can find further information on our website regarding applications and interviews.



Thursday, 8 June 2017

Graduate jobs for chemists and chemical engineers

Still looking for your first graduate job?

Four have come to my attention today for chemists and/or engineers:

1. Process Scientist (12 months), Taytech Environmental Ltd. Deadline 27/6/17
2. Graduate Development Technologist (12 months), Biofilm. Deadline 19/6/17
3. Supply Market Manager (12 months), RD-Graphene.Ltd. Deadline 13/6/17

All the above on the Scotgrad website

Also, Diageo are still looking for graduates for their 3 year graduate training programme - they are keen on Chemical Engineering (or Economics, Maths/Statistics, Business Management) with a 2.1 or above. For further information and to apply, visit www.diageo-careers.com



Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Results - did you get what you wanted?


Got your results yet? I really hope you got the grade you were wanting or needing. Some of you might not have though - in which case, read on.

Getting a lower grade than expected MIGHT feel like a catastrophe right now, but you know what? -  a couple of years after graduation, no-one is in the SLIGHTEST bit interested in what degree classification you got  (this will suck if you got a First).


I too am anxiously waiting to hear about results - my eldest son's degree results come out this week. He says it will almost certainly be a 2.2 (BSc Statistics, University of Glasgow). He has not applied for ANY graduate jobs on the basis that "recruiters all want a 2.1 or above". This is blatantly untrue! 

He does however, lack confidence in himself, and so he procrastinates. No amount of reassurance, encouragement or evidence will shift his blinkered beliefs. If you find yourself in a similar frame of mind, don't sit around waiting to feel confident, just apply for jobs that interest you, and the confidence hopefully follows. Deep down you know you are capable, no matter what the bit of paper says.

If you find yourself in the "disappointed" category on results day, please read the two very informative and confidence boosting posts below from my colleague, Janet Forsyth.
Everything you need to know is there.

Results not what you hoped for Part 1

Results not what you hoped for Part 2

And remember - you can use all the Careers Service facilities for two years after you graduate, so feel free to book an appointment on MyCareerHub if you want to talk through your options.






Friday, 19 May 2017

Industrial Biotechnology in Scotland

IB🔃IB🔃IB🔃IB

Industrial Biotechnology (IB) is defined as a set of cross-disciplinary technologies that use biological resources for producing and processing materials and chemicals - these can be end products in themselves or additives for another end product.  The biological resources can be derived from tissues, enzymes and genes of plants, algae, marine life, fungi and micro-organisms. IB is helping to "Heal the world, feed the world, fuel the world" according to the Biotechnology Innovation Organisation (www.bio.org). Using the adjective "industrial" implies large scale production, but this is not always the case.

Here's a fascinating table (fascinating to me anyway!) of how things used to be manufactured (not nice) and how they can be  manufactured now we're using biotechnology (nicer for both consumer and climate). Both chemists and chemical engineers (as well as microbiologists, physicists, materials scientists, molecular biologists etc) are frequently employed in the sector.

Scotland is home to a number of biotechnology pioneers. See website labiotech.eu/map for Scottish biotech companies. This is actually a great map for all EU countries - there are some biotech companies in places you would not think of looking. For inclusion on this map, the company needs to have a revenue of > $1million and to have its own innovative technology, so there ARE other biotech companies around who are not on this map. For a less exclusive map of Scottish companies, see Scottish Enterprise Chemical Sciences.

Scotland even has a national plan for industrial biotechnology and is blazing a trail on many fronts, eg:
  • Cellucomp was Scotland's first biorefinery plant, turning vegetable waste into high-performance household materials.
  • Celtic Renewables is another - they produce environmentally and commercially-sustainable biobutanol from the liquid effluent produced by the £4 billion malt whisky industry.
  • Then there's Marine Biopolymers Ltd (MBL). Their focus is on extracting high-value components from brown seaweed. It's used in food and pharmaceuticals, but also industrial applications areas as well, where the use of natural polymers is growing fast.
The BioIndustry Association has a member directory (search on biotechnology) with over UK 300 biotech companies details listed.

The UK Science Parks Association is also a good place to start when trying to find potential employers (search on members). Biotechnology companies are usually quite small and so tend to group together at Science Parks (11 listed for Scotland and well over 100 in UK).

For other ways of finding potential employers, see previous posts on Chemistry employers and Chemical Engineering employers.













Friday, 12 May 2017

Placements - getting the most out of them

Are you about to go on an industrial placement or study abroad as part of your MChem or MChemEng? You'll be pretty excited no doubt, and looking forward to:
  • experience of a new city/country/culture and working environment
  • the chance to see how industry or another university works, and to try out new roles there
  • working in varied, multi-disciplinary teams
  • meeting people who could play a significant role in your career and beginning to build a professional  network
  • the opportunity to learn new skills and develop existing skills
With that last point in mind, when you come to applying for graduate jobs, it's easy to forget what you achieved during your placement. If you develop and record your skills while you are away, then around graduation, you will have a full written record of what you have to offer employers for your applications. This will give you a huge advantage over those lesser mortals who have not done this essential preparation. What's the best way to do this?

Chemists - The Undergraduate Skills Record forms part of the Royal Society of Chemistry's (RSC) Continuing Professional Development (CPD) framework. The RSC say this recording tool "is the first step in achieving your full potential and demonstrates to an employer your commitment to chemistry, as well as starting you on the path (usually about 5 years) to becoming a Chartered Chemist or Scientist (CChem/CSci)", 

Chemists - Registered Scientist (RSci) via RSC/Science Council. Alternatively, undergraduate chemists can work towards RSci accreditation during their industrial placement. You submit your application immediately after completing the year and gain the title soon after this, all shiny and new to put on your CV when applying for graduate jobs. RSci is a lower level than chartership obviously, but it can count towards your CChem portfolio of evidence in your later career. 

It might help you to compare the professional accreditations available through the RSC/Science Council - RSciTech/RSci/CSci/CChem. The Undergraduate Skills Record above can also be used to help you record your evidence for RSci. The RSci application form is delightfully straightforward if you complete it  WITHIN SIX MONTHS of your placement. If you wait SEVEN MONTHS + though, it's a different story;  a toe-curling, palpitation-inducing form awaits you. 

Chemical Engineers - MyCareerPath provides competency profiles  - Chemical Engineering undergraduates would choose Chartered Chemical Engineer usually, but there are other profiles that you may be more interested in. You then create plans, add evidence of competences and generate reports to start you on the path to becoming a Chartered Chemical Engineer. 


So, as well as being handy go-to documents for job applications, these records start you on your formal CPD. You will need to detail all your CPD during the first few years of your graduate career anyway if you want to become chartered in the future.

Whichever method you use, assess your competences before you start your placement then revisit your profile regularly to reflect on your progress and add evidence. When writing your supporting evidence, try to make it varied and powerful. You can find a list of 'power' verbs here. If you use strong action verbs like these, your experiences will sound more specific and more interesting than if you used  more passive verbs.

NB - It's a great idea for any student, home or away, to keep these records. Staying in Edinburgh and undertaking your independent university project here also gives you an ideal opportunity to reflect on your skills development.




Thursday, 11 May 2017

Two interesting vacancies for graduate chemists

Why pick out two, when there are hundreds of chemistry vacancies out there? Because the recruiters contacted U of E School of Chemistry directly about them. They want YOU!

One is a Senior Scientist (minimum Bachelors)  at GSK in Stevenage - working on Green Chemistry. ie ensuring that reagents and methods are as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible in the manufacture of drugs.  I know this is an area of real interest to some of you. Deadline June 16th.

The other is a Formulation Chemist (minimum Bachelors) at Syngenta in Bracknell. The successful candidate will provide support for a portfolio of formulation projects, by conducting research and evaluation of novel formulation techniques for new and established active ingredients. No deadline given, so better apply ASAP if you are interested.




Friday, 28 April 2017

Where do Edinburgh chemists and engineers get jobs? - find out from Linkedin

If I could get a job where "mucking about on Linkedin to put off doing the things on my to-do list" was the primary responsibility, I would be at the very top of the career ladder.

Linkedin's VERY useful though, for finding out where Edinburgh chemists and chemical engineers are working or have worked in the past, thus adding to your knowledge from our own DLHE destination data (both 1 year's worth  AND three years' worth). 

I found the following information by searching The University of Edinburgh Student & Alumni Database. If you have a Linkedin profile, you can search it. If you don't have a profile, it's high time you did!


Table 1.  Top 24 employers of University of Edinburgh chemistry graduates on Linkedin

Employer

No. employed
GSK
33
AstraZeneca
19
EY
13
Shell
13
University of Strathclyde
13
Diageo
13
PwC
12
Novartis
12
Imperial College London
12
Johnson Matthey
12
Pfizer
11
University of Glasgow
11
RBS
11
UCL
11
University of Oxford
11
Procter & Gamble
10
Almac Group
10
City of Edinburgh Council
10
Syngenta
10
Charles River Laboratories
10
University of Bath
10
BP
9
British Army
9
Accenture
8




Table 2. Top 24 employers of University of Edinburgh chemical engineering graduates on Linkedin

Employer
No. employed

BP
28
Shell
16
Wood Group
13
Diageo
12
ExxonMobil
11
Xodus Group
10
Maersk Oil
9
Atkins
9
GSK
8
ConocoPhillips
8
Jacobs
8
Procter & Gamble
7
EUSA
7
INEOS Grangemouth
7
INEOS
6
Amec Foster Wheeler
6
Genesis Oil and Gas Consultants
6
Total
5
EnQuest
5
Accenture
4
Unilever
4
Marathon Oil Corporation
4
Wood Mackenzie
3
Aspen Technology
3

Some caveats here;

1. The University of Edinburgh is a huge employer of its own graduates but it is automatically screened out of searches.
2. Since I searched the Student & Alumni database, EUSA is a common employer.
3. These are people who have a Linkedin profile - are they more likely to be working in a commercial environment, are they more likely to be using their degree directly - who knows?  I suspect your average public sector worker is less likely to have a profile.
4. The database spans graduations from 1900 onward. Restricting the search to the last 5 years would no doubt give a very different picture. For example, in Table 3 below, for Chemical Engineers of 2010-2017, fewer than half of the Top 24 are Oil & Gas related employers (compared to two-thirds from the open-date search depicted in Table 2). The newer kids on the block included John Crane, Reckitt Benckiser, BASF, North British Distillery Company, Intel Corporation, Petronas, Johnson & Johnson & Energika.


Table 3. Top 24 employers of University of Edinburgh chemical engineering graduates on Linkedin (who attended university 2010-2017)

Employer
No. employed
BP
13
Diageo
9
EUSA
7
Xodus Group
6
Atkins
6
Wood Group
6
Accenture
4
Shell
4
ExxonMobil
4
John Crane
3
GSK
3
BASF
3
Reckitt Benckiser
3
ConocoPhillips
3
Jacobs
3
Imperial College London
3
INEOS Grangemouth
3
Amec Foster Wheeler
3
North British Distillery Company Ltd.
2
PETRONAS
2
Intel Corporation
1
ENERGIKA SRL
1
The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
1
Iowa State University
1



Thursday, 27 April 2017

Job titles OUT, Skill set IN

If you have no idea what job you want when you graduate, it really doesn't matter according to a recent BBC report. Forget about specific job titles like analytical chemist or process engineer,. Instead, think about the skills you want to use and the problems you want to solve and work upwards from there.

For example, you might say: I want to use my analytical skills + I am interested in renewable energy + I don't want to be an engineer. Sadly, it doesn't mean that a relevant job title will then suddenly drop from the sky, but it might mean that when you do see a range of jobs advertised, some of your mental boxes will get ticked. You can then open yourself up to a wider range of possibilities. This must be more fruitful than restricting yourself to one job title, such as Sustainability Associate in a well-known management consultancy.

This also opens up the notion of a portfolio career, which can be made up of several different jobs or disparate projects /micro-jobs with one employer. Positions like these will be more prevalent in the next decade. For example, both Cisco and MasterCard have “internal mobility platforms” that allow employees to cherry-pick projects to fill specific gaps for the company rather than staying in a more structured role. This happens in public service too - eg the Civil Service/Scottish Government actively encourage staff to rotate round different divisions every 2-5 years, and try out new roles to develop their potential.See BBC Next Generation article for more details

If you feel you would benefit from discussing this further, then book a careers appointment on MCH. Or, you could try out some of our interactive web-based programs to get you thinking about what you want for the future.







Thursday, 30 March 2017

Should you ask for interview feedback?

Yes!

I know the urge might be to leg it and never speak to the wild-eyed, foaming-at-the-mouth, sweaty-palmed panel of interviewers again (ooh sorry that was you?). But hold on, they know something you don't, namely

A. Why you were rejected OR
B. Why you were offered the job.

Whichever one it is, it is good to know their thoughts: If you were rejected, you can improve on your performance for your next interview. If you were offered the job and you accepted, you can find out what they liked about you (and do that some more) and/or what concerns they might have had about you (and improve on this).

Sometimes employers are reluctant to be too candid via the written word but will give you more useful information over the phone. If so, write it down as they speak, because within a week or so you will have forgotten much of what they said. Keeping a note of any feedback could be useful to you, not just in the short term, but also when you are changing jobs throughout your career.

The Vault guide to asking for interview feedback gives some useful tips on the subject.




Thursday, 23 March 2017

Who are the worlds top 50 chemical companies?


I exposed the chasms in my knowledge recently when I read the 2016 list of the World's top 50 chemical companies (based on sales). I hadn't heard of 20 of them. In my defence, some of these are headquartered in South Korea or Japan. They're international though, so it's a poor defence.

The list makes really interesting reading; BASF are currently topping the chart at Number 1, but for how long? The upcoming Dow - Du Pont merger will almost certainly knock them off the top. Negotiations on this are still chuntering away, taking longer than expected due to the EU "antitrust regulators" complaining that a merger would strangle competition in crop protection. Certainly would.

The only UK-headquartered company in the chart is our very own Johnson Matthey, coming in at 47. The catalyst and fine chemicals maker recently bought MIOX, which makes on-site bleach generators for water treatment. They are also collaborating with Domainex to provide small-molecule drug discovery and development services in the U.K, so JM seem to be on a roll.

One country that's never really been on my radar as a hotbed of the chemical industry is Austria. Seems I was wrong - Borealis appears at No. 37 and a quick Google search alerted me to the fact there are many chemical companies in Austria, with several multinationals having a presence there.
You might incur repetitive strain injury applying for some of the jobs though - eg the Chemieverfahrenstechniker für den Fünf-Schichtbetrieb currently advertised at Borealis.

I was expecting the USA to dominate the chart, but happily Europe, USA and the far East have about a third each of the available slots. Sixteen of the world's top chemical companies are in Europe. Better get applying before Brexit - who knows what will happen in two years time?