Princeton POEM’s Venture Workshop

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These articles by Kathleen McGinn Spring were prepared for the May

22, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

New Skill Set For Job Hunters

Get out there and tell everyone you know that you’re

looking for a job. That is the conventional wisdom, but Robert

Schwartz, owner of ROBELE Career Solutions, says it is no good.

Or at least it does not go nearly far enough.

"You’ve got to get out of your comfort zone," says Schwartz.

Networking at trade shows, association meetings, and among decision

makers, no matter where they gather, is a lot better, in his opinion,

than spreading the word among friends, family, and the delivery


Schwartz speaks on "Professional Career Marketing" on Tuesday,

May 28, at 7:30 p.m. at a meeting of Jobseekers at Trinity Church

in Princeton. The group, organized by Niels Nielsen, owner of

Princeton Management Consultants, provides a free place where the

downsized — and career changers of all kinds — network and

learn effective job search techniques. Call 609-924-2277.

Before forming ROBELE, named for his daughters Robin and Elena,


worked for the Robert Jameson career counseling firm in Princeton.

He was introduced to that company as a client, and stayed on to become

a counselor. His background before that career switch was in chemical

engineering. He holds an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering

from the City College of New York (Class of 1964) and a master’s in

chemical engineering from Cleveland State University. He started his

company in 2000. It has nine employees and locations in Morristown

and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

Schwartz says even seasoned executives, even those with years


in hiring and firing, are ignorant of the essential basics of a


job search. "Some have been downsized," he says. "They’re

good at what they do, but they’re not good at marketing


He identifies some common problem areas:

Switching to a new career. "It’s easy to slide


says Schwartz. Moves to a similar position, in other words, are a

snap compared with taking on a whole new career. But sometimes such

a change is necessary. A surgeon, he gives as an example, may have

suffered nerve damage that makes operating impossible. Or, more


a telecommunication middle manager may find there are simply no


in his field. It then becomes a matter, he says, of not only


transferable skills, but of leveraging them to gain entry into a new


Taking the first job that comes down the pike. Some


jump at any offer, and while this will put food on the table, Schwartz

says it is not a good long-term strategy. Neither, in his opinion,

is accepting less money than the former job paid. He does admit,


that "it’s supply and demand." Sometimes an executive in a

field going through major downsizing is facing so much competition

that he might have to consider a cut in compensation. Still,


it’s not a good idea."

Failing to manage a job interview. Lots of interviewers

are terrible at their jobs, says Schwartz. So it is up to the


job hunter to take over, and to make sure the interviewer knows about

the ways in which he would contribute to the company’s success.


stories, he suggests, is an excellent way to do this. Everyone


a good story, and it is up to the job hunter to leave the interviewer

with several, each illustrating how he handled tough situations or

contributed to successful outcomes at his former jobs.

Flubbing networking opportunities. Few people are good

at working a room, says Schwartz. It is not necessary to speak to

everyone, but it is necessary to seek out and speak with decision

makers. When doing so, he implores, avoid the Big Mistake. "Never

ask for a job!" he exclaims. Make friends, establish connections,

and then, before saying good-bye, ask if the person with whom you

are speaking knows anyone you should talk to. Then go talk to that

person, and get more names.

Being spooked by lay-offs. XYZ Corp. has announced that

it is laying off 16,000 employees this quarter, and axing a few


more later in the year. Does this mean you should forget about


XYZ for a job? Absolutely not, says Schwartz. For one thing, the


still needs to hire for some positions, but, aware that cost-cutting

is roundly applauded by Wall Street, will not be eager to publicize

that fact. For another thing, when heads begin to roll, many of the

best people in the company will head for the exits. They will have

to be replaced, though, again, this fact will not be publicized.

Not keeping up with the business news. Someone is always

making money, Schwartz observes. Study the business news to find out

niches where the economy is strong. Also take note of any major


changes. New CEOs and vice presidents often like to bring in their

own teams, and may be looking for good people.

Considering the Internet the Holy Grail. Everyone now

looks for jobs on the Internet, and that, says Schwartz, is why so

few find them there. Classified ads are over-used too. By all means,

check out both, but make them a small part of your search strategy.

Blowing the negotiation. "Make the sale before you

close the deal," says Schwartz. It is a terrible idea, he


to bring up salary, benefits, or vacation before an offer is made.

Once an employer does commit to hiring you, drive for the best deal

you can, making sure to do research beforehand to determine what a

person with your experience is now commanding.

Job searches are now taking three to four months for those who

work hard at formulating and following through on a job search plan,

says Schwartz. The economy isn’t what it was three years ago, but,

he says, there are still good opportunities for those with good skills

and the good sense to market those skills effectively.

Top Of Page
Princeton POEM’s Venture Workshop

Organic electronics can include anything from flat panel

displays and next generation smart cards to organic solar cells and

large arrays of organic sensors and actuators. In Princeton, the


child for this technology is the Universal Display Corporation, which

incubated at Princeton University starting in 1994 and is now on



The Center for Photonics and Optoelectronic Materials (POEM) is


a full day venture workshop on this technology on Tuesday, May 28,

from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Princeton University’s Friend Center on

Olden Avenue. Cost: $100. Venture capitalists, angels, and the


and technology business communities are invited, and a limited number

of spaces are open to the public, but preregistration is required.

Go to the website ( or call Barbara Varga

at 609-258-2553. For additional information contact Joe


at E-mail: The co-hosts are the Princeton


Institute and the Princeton University Office of Licensing and



Among the opening speakers are Amy Gutmann, provost of Princeton

University, James C. Sturm, POEM director, and Adam M.


president & CEO of Prosperity New Jersey.

Steve Forrest, the electrical engineering professor whose


electronic (OLED) research was responsible for the founding of


Display Corporation, will speak on "Organic OptoElectronics:


Underpinning Promising Applications."

Julie Brown, representing University Display Corporation, will

discuss "Organic Light Emitting Devices: Today for Displays,


for Lighting." Markus Schwambera of AIXTRON AG will tell

about his company’s new OLED production system, now being tested at

Universal Display.

Robert Tulis will discuss DARPA’s plans for how U.S. Special

Forces can use OLED technology.

After lunch, Sigurd Wagner, a faculty member at Princeton


will tell about "diagnostic pajamas" and giant blankets that

can identify faults on an airplane’s skin, followed by two other


who work with large area electronics.

To add a note of financial reality to the technology fantasizing,

Dan Gordon of PricewaterhouseCoopers will make some predictions

about how OLED can be commercialized. Sid Rosenblatt of Global

Photonic Energy Corporation will consider the knotty problem of


Just when will an IPO window open? In science and in finance, timing

is everything.

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