Tag Archives: News

Article: Graduating Into A Bad Job Market–10 Job Search Tips for Recent Grads

By Caroline Ceniza-Levine May 16, 2020

What happens to recent graduates if job supply decreases? –Gabriela, Class of 2020, Masters of International Marketing

If you’re a recent graduate and eyeing the dismal unemployment figures (worst since the Great Depression!), stop doing that. There are more important numbers to track than general job market statistics (I list 10 such numbers here, such as specific news about markets you are interested in). Similarly, Gabriela asks about the fate of recent graduates in general, but I recommend that she focuses on her prospects specifically.

I don’t mean to encourage everyone-for-themselves thinking, but when you’re starting out in your career, the first hire you should be worried about is your own. This ensures that you take on something doable (i.e., land one job) and not something too overwhelming (i.e., saving the world). When you are gainfully employed, you have more bandwidth to contribute–referring leads to others, volunteering with your alma mater to help younger classes, mentoring others, etc.

Whether you are graduating into a bad job market or the best market in years, there is always hiring happening somewhere, and there is a lot you can do to help yourself to get hired. Here are 10 job search tips for recent grads:

1- Get your mindset ready for a job search

Spending too much time belaboring the bad market news doesn’t just take your eye off the other, more helpful data, but it also pries you to expect the worst. Every job search has down moments–your application doesn’t get a response, your networking invite is declined, your interview doesn’t lead to a callback. I don’t know a single candidate who has had a seamlessly positive job search–this is from 20+ years of recruiting, including hiring thousands of interns and recent graduates as Head of Campus Recruiting for a global media company. There will be ups and downs–pandemic or not–so be prepared for some discomfort but be confident that you’ll persevere to a happy outcome.

2- Treat your job search like your first job

If you graduated without an offer in hand, your job search is your first job. Spend the 40 hours a week you would have reported to the office to work on your job search–reading up on your areas of interest, researching specific companies, applying to job opportunities, networking with people, updating your marketing material, etc. There is a lot to do for your job search (here are seven suggestions for items to prepare), so don’t wait too long to get started. You might get complacent and lose the enthusiasm and urgency to land a job. You also might let too much time go by, realize your savings are dwindling (or your parents’ patience is running thin) and then feel like you have to land in a hurry.

3- Control what you can control

Knowing there will be ups and downs, you can’t control for a positive outcome every time, but you can control that you put yourself out there and that you showcased yourself in the best possible light. So instead of focusing on how many companies called you in, focus on how many applications you sent out. Instead of focusing on how many people referred you, focus on the number of people you contacted. You can’t fully control the result, but you can control your effort. Your efforts are the metric that you should track.

4- Go broad with your options

Always have multiple leads in play, especially in a down market where you can’t be sure who is hiring, how many jobs, and how quickly. Companies may have old postings up there where budget has actually disappeared. Or a company may have openings but hasn’t posted anything because they’re so short-staffed because of the pandemic. In a down market, recruiting can be chaotic, so you need to cast a wide net. Go after several industries, multiple companies, even multiple roles. Sure, you might have a dream job at a dream company in mind, and you should go for that. But be open to other possibilities as well.

5- Go deep with your research

While you’re going broad with your options, you still want to go deep with your research and know enough about companies and roles you’re applying for. The best applications are targeted to a specific opportunity–with relevant keywords and examples. The best interviews are when the candidate can position their background to what the company and the job opening require. You need deep research to tailor your job search activity effectively.

6- Be prepared to answer the obvious

Why should I hire you? What do you want? Why do you want to work here? The vetting process will not be easier for you because it’s an entry-level role. Employers still want to know that you are qualified, that you will be enthusiastic about the work, and that you will be enthusiastic about working with them specifically.

7- Lean into your network (yes, you have one!)

Your classmates, your professors, your office of career services, your parents’ connections–you have a significant network. Word-of-mouth referral is significant, even for experienced professionals who have an established track record from previous jobs. As a recent graduate, you don’t have much of a track record (though internships, part-time jobs, and volunteer work do make a difference). Therefore, you want to maximize introductions, referrals, and references that you can get from people who already know, like, and trust you. Remember to reciprocate as you hear of leads and especially when you land!

8- Measure your progress and course-correct as needed

As you get your job search going, your results are in your efforts–the number of networking outreach attempts, the number of initial interview meetings. However, as your search extends, those initial efforts should yield additional results that track progress–the number of leads that come out of networking, the number of callbacks that come from the initial interviews. Your search should be leading to job offers ultimately, and if you’re finding that you’re sending out applications but not getting called in, or getting one meeting but no more, you need to course correct as needed.

9- Be willing to redo and reconsider

If your search is stuck, you need to change something. If you are getting leads to jobs that don’t interest you, you may need to be clearer about what you’re looking for. Or maybe your LinkedIn or résumé needs to change. If you are getting that first meeting but no callbacks, you need to brush up on your interview technique. Your progress is market feedback on what’s working. Until you have a job, stay open-minded and curious about what changes to your job search technique.

10- Celebrate every win

Keep a journal that documents al the work you’re putting in, and every call and meeting you schedule. Your effort should be celebrated. Small wins along the way, like that networking invite accepted, also count. This is part of measuring progress, but it’s also about building confidence and keeping a positive outlook, both of which are critical in your job search. In a down market, your employer contacts are probably anxious about their own jobs. If you’re a joy to interact with, that’s a competitive advantage.

Article: “The Business of Burps: Scientists Smell Profit in Cow Emissions”

Cattle produce more methane than many large countries. A solution could be an ecological and financial breakthrough–and a Swiss biotech company may be on the cusp.

By Adam Satariano May 1, 2020

LANCASTER, England— Peaches, a brown-and-white Jersey cow weighing 1,200 pounds, was amiably following Edward Towers through a barn on a sunny March morning when the 6-year-old dug in her front hooves.

Mr. Towers, a 28-year-old farmer whose family owns Brades Farm, near Britain’s rugged Lake District, slapped Peaches gently to move her along. She didn’t budge. Already muddy from a morning herding hundreds of cows to a milking session, Mr. Towers leaned all his weight into Peaches’ ample backside, until she finally stepped through a metal gate that would hold her head still for an exam.

Deepashree Kand, a scientist studying animal nutrition, stepped forward with a device about the size of a grocery-store scanner. As David Bowie’s “Changes” played on the radio, Ms. Kand pointed a green laser at the cow’s nostril and waited for Peaches to belch.

Ms. Kand’s employer, a Swiss company called Mootral, is studying whether an altered diet can make cattle burp and fart less methane–one of the most harmful greenhouse gases and a major contributor to climate change. If they were a country, cows would rank as the world’s sixth-largest emitter, ahead of Brazil, Japan and Germany, according to data compiled by Rhodium, a research firm.

It is a well-known problem that has had few promising solutions. But in the last five years, a collection of companies and scientists has been getting closer to what would be an ecological and financial breakthrough: an edible product that would change cows’ digestive chemistry and reduce their emission of methane.

Several companies are pursuing a seaweed-based compound, and a Dutch firm, DSM, is testing a chemical supplement with promising results. Mootral is one of the furthest along. By mixing compounds from garlic, citrus and other additives into a pellet that’s mixed with a cow’s regular diet, the start-up has surprised scientists by significantly and consistently cutting the toxic output of animals like Peaches.

At Brades Farm, Ms. Kand kept her laser steady. Changes in the light beam would measure the methane in Peaches’ burps, which she produced about once every four minutes. Soon, there was a subtle flex in the cow’s neck, and Ms. Kand’s device put out a few readings: 32 to 38 parts per million.

“That’s good,” Ms. Kand said. “A reduction of about 30 percent.”

The drop was consistent with the findings of several peer-reviewed studies of Mootral’s food supplement. Additional trials are underway in the United States and Europe. The product is being tested at dairy and meat farms, including a Dutch farm used by McDonald’s for studying new techniques in its supply chain. The venture capitalist Chris Sacca, who became a billionaire with early bets on Uber and Twitter, has invested.

Many questions of viability remain. Mootral must prove that its product works on different breeds of cows and in different climates. It has had success in areas with mild weather, like Northern Europe, but is now conducting experiments in hotter locations.

Most urgent, the company must find its place in the coronavirus economy. An investment round that was scheduled to close in March fell apart because of the crisis. The start-up’s business model depends on convincing typically conservative livestock and dairy companies that they will receive credits they can sell in the unpredictable and largely unregulated carbon-offset market for using what is basically Gas-X for cows.

But if Mootral or one of its competitors can withstand the challenges of the coronavirus era and hold up at scale, the result could be one of the simplest and fastest ways to cut a major source of greenhouse-gas emissions.

“It is something, to be honest, that I never expected,” said Gerhard Breves, a longtime livestock researcher in Germany who performed one of the first independent tests of Mootral’s product and is now an unpaid member of its advisory board.

‘An existential threat’

Cows are a digestive miracle. Inside their stomach is an oxygen-free environment with a steady temperature, similar to the fermentation tanks used to make beer. Microbes decompose and ferment materials like cellulose, starch and sugars. Cows can eat just about anything–grass, hay, cornstalks, rapeseed–and turn it into energy for producing milk and meat.

“They could live on wood,” said Mootral’s director of science, Oliver Riede, a molecular biologist who started his career studying vaccines and infection management.

But just as a midnight pizza can come with a gaseous cost, a cow’s digestive system has a way of retaliating. Methane is a main byproduct of the enzymes that help break down the food. The gas can’t be turned into energy, so as it builds up, a cow must burp, sending little puffs of pollution into the atmosphere. (A small amount is released by farting.) Up to 12 percent of a cow’s energy intake from food is lost this way.

There are about 1.4 billion cattle globally, each emitting the equivalent of 1.5 to 2.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, roughly half the output of an average American car.

As awareness of cattle’s environmental impact has reached the mainstream, thanks to compelling media campaigns by environmentalists and Netflix documentaries, the meat and dairy industries have felt the effects. Sales of alternative milks and meat substitutes have soared. Vegetarianism and veganism have spread.

“This is an existential threat,” said Joe Towers, Edard Towers’s older brother, who also works at Brades Farm. “Farmers are keen to improve and show they aren’t the bad guys.”

‘Want to smell it? It smells like fart’

Mootral’s main research lab is at the base of a lush valley, in a former mining region of Wales. The company’s work on cows dates to 2010, when a group of researchers participated in a European Union research effort to explore ways to reduce methane from cattle.

The team, working for a company called Neem Biotech, had studied garlic’s antimicrobial properties in humans. In lab trials, the scientists found that it also reduced methane in cows thanks to allicin, the same strong-smelling compound that’s produced when a garlic clove is cut with a knife. But the company was small and didn’t see a business case for the finding, so the work didn’t go any further.

In 2012, Neem was sold to a life sciences company, Zaluvida, that developed over-the-counter diet and allergy supplements. One product, derived from compounds found in prickly pears, gave people the sensation of feeling full. Another helped with digestion.

Zaluvida’s founder, Thomas Hafner, bought Neem intending to work on drugs for people, but during a review of past research, a colleague found the methane work in a computer file named “Mootral.” It explained how allicin interacted with microbes inside a cow’s stomach.

After becoming rich by manipulating the human digestive tract–he sold the supplements business for about $150 million in 2014–Mr. Hafner saw an opportunity in doing the same with cows. By 2016, he put a team of scientists to work testing different combinations of garlic extracts.

The challenge, they learned, was finding the right balance between delivering the maximum amount of allicin without triggering adverse effects. The chemical targets enzymes in the cow’s gut that create methane. Too much could harm the cow’s ability to process food, or give the milk and meat a garlic flavor.

“The first thing a farmer will ask is, ‘What will this do to my animal?'” said Mr. Riede, the Mootral science director.

Allicin is volatile, and the team struggled at first to come up with a consistent blend that would work across members of a herd of cattle. In the lab, researchers used bacteria from the stomachs of sheep–members, like cows, of the ruminant family–to see how certain combinations would change methane levels.

What Does Covid-19 Do to Your Brain?

By Megan Molteni April 15, 2020

Scientists are racing to figure out why some patients also develop neurological ailments like confusion, stroke, seizure, or loss of smell.

During the third week of March, as the pandemic coronavirus that causes Covid-19 was beginning to grip the city of Detroit, an ambulance sped through its streets to Henry Ford Hospital. Inside, a 58-year-old airline worker struggled to understand what was happening to her. Like hundreds of other Covid-19 patients flooding the city’s emergency rooms, the woman had a fever, cough, and aching muscles. But something else was happening too–something that had made her suddenly disoriented, unable to remember anything but her name.

Doctors at Henry Ford tested the woman for Covid-19, and she came back positive. They also ordered CT and MRI scans. The images showed a brain aflame, its folds swelling against the patient’s skull. On the computer screen, white lesions dotted the gray cross-sectioned landscape–each one filled with dead and dying neurons in regions that normally relay sensory signals, regulate alertness, and access memories. On the screen they appeared white. But in the electrical grid of the patient’s brain, those areas had gone dark.

Her doctors diagnosed a dangerous condition called acute necrotizing hemorrhagic encephalopathy, or ANE, which they detailed in the journal Radiology last month. It’s a rare complication known to occasionally accompany influenza and other viral infections, though usually in children. With the flu, scientists believe such brain damage is caused not so much by the virus itself but by squalls of inflammation-inducing molecules called cytokines, which are sometimes produced in excess by the body’s immune system during an infection. Scientists are still trying to figure out if the same is true for Covid-19, or if the coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 is actually invading the nervous system directly. It’s an open question, the answer to which could have wide-ranging implications for how doctors diagnose and treat Covid-19 patients.

By now you’re probably familiar with the typical hallmarks of Covid-19, the disease that has so far killed more than 125,000 people around the world: fever, cough, difficulty breathing. But stories of other, stranger symptoms–headaches, confusion, seizures, tingling and numbness, the loss of smell or taste–have been bubbling up from the frontlines for weeks. Published data on how frequently the disease manifests in these types of neurological symptoms is still sparse, and experts say they likely occur in a minority of the 2 million officially tallied Covid-19 infections worldwide. But for physicians, they are important because some of these new symptoms may require a different line of treatment, one designed for the brain rather than the body.

“The medicines we use to treat any infection have very different penetrations into the central nervous system,” says S. Andrew Josephson, a neurologist at UC San Francisco. Most drugs can’t pass through the blood-brain barrier, a living border wall around the brain. If the coronavirus is breaching the blood-brain barrier and infecting neurons, that could make it harder to find effective treatments.

Right now, many doctors are trying a two-pronged approach. The first is finding antiviral drugs that can knock back how fast SARS-CoV-2 replicates. They often combine that with steroids, to prevent the immune system from going overboard and producing inflammation that can be damaging on its own. If doctors knew people had coronavirus in their brains, that would alter the equation. Unlike the lungs, the brain can’t be put on a ventilator.

Medical students join the fight against COVID-19

As coronavirus patients surge, medical students rushed into practice to fight pandemic

by Kelly Cannon April 1, 2020

The United States health care system is mobilizing to triage a public health emergency that is rapidly taking members of its workforce out of the ranks.

Grim projections from the country’s leading health officials over the weekend emphasized the toll the novel coronavirus could have on the U.S. healthcare workforce, one that is buckling under a surge in demand and an inadequate supply of protective gear that is endangering the lives of front-line responders.

At a White House coronavirus task force press briefing Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said it is possible that 100,000 to 200,000 people in the U.S. will die from the novel coronavirus.

Amid an alarming rise in cases in California where hospitalizations have doubled and ICU admissions have tripled in recent days, Gov. Gavin Newsom launched an initiative Monday aimed at increasing the ranks of the state’s health care workforce in advance of an expected surge in coronavirus patients.

“If you’re a nursing school student, a medical school student, we need you,” Gov. Newsom said at a press conference Monday.

The newly created California Health Corps will recruit health care providers, including medical students nearing completion of their studies, to address what the governor called the “human capital surge” that the state will need to ensure an adequate workforce is available to assist in the state’s pandemic response.

Medical students nationwide, just months away from becoming resident doctors, are eager to alleviate the pressure on health care professionals by joining the fight.

“There’s a large group of resilient people out there who are ready to go on the front lines and help,” said Lizzie Andrews, a fourth-year medical student at Texas A&M who will start her residency at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in June.

“We’ve been preparing for this for all four years and that’s what we want to do–we want to help people,” Andrews said. “That’s why we got into medicine in the first place.”

Here’s Exactly Where We’re At With Vaccines and Treatments for COVID-19

Written by Shawn Radcliffe on March 26, 2020 for Healthline.com

  • Scientists around the world are working on potential treatments and vaccines for the coronavirus disease known as COVID-19.
  • Several companies are working on antiviral drugs, some of which are already in use against other illnesses, to treat people who already have COVID-19.
  • Other companies are working on vaccines that could be used as a preventative measure against the disease.
  • It will probably take months, if not more than a year, for a drug or vaccine to complete clinical trials and be available to the public.

With COVID-19 cases worldwide passing the 200,000 mark and continuing to grow, scientists are pushing forward with efforts to develop vaccines and treatments to slow the pandemic and lessen its damage.

Some of the earliest treatments will likely be drugs that are already approved for other conditions or have been tested on other viruses.

“People are looking into whether existing antivirals might work or whether new drugs could be developed to try to tackle the virus,” said Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, a professor at the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.

The antiviral drugs were a topic of a March 18 White House briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak.

President Trump said he is pushing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to eliminate barriers to get treatments to people with coronavirus.

The president went as far as to say the anti-malaria drug chloroquine would be available soon.

However, FDA officials said it could still be a year before any drugs are made available for coronavirus treatment because the agency needs to make sure the medications are safe for this particular use and what the proper dosage should be.

Indeed, there’s only so much that vaccine and drug development can be sped up, even with improvements in genetic sequencing and other technologies.

“Even though technological advances allow us to do certain things more quickly,” Lee told Healthline, “we still have to rely on social distancing, contact tracing, self-isolation, and other measures.”

Why is nutrition so hard to study?

Is dairy good or bad for health? Is cholesterol evil? Does red meat kill or cure? Is the ketogenic diet a godsend or a health hazard? Can the vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or raw food diet extend disease-free life?

Written by Tim Newman February 24, 2020

Nutrition is wrapped in multiple confusions. Why is it so hard to determine whether a food is good or bad for health?

In medical science, proving any theory is difficult. The science of nutrition is no different, but it also has some unique challenges. In this feature, we outline just some of these stumbling blocks.

Despite the many issues that nutrition scientists face, understanding which foods benefit or harm health is essential work.

Also the public is growing increasingly interested in finding ways to boost health through diet. Obesity and diabetes are now highly prevalent, and both have nutritional risk factors. This has sharpened general interest further.

All areas of scientific research fare the following issues to a greater or lesser degree, but because nutrition is so high on people’s agenda, the problems appear magnified.

Although the water is muddy and difficult to traverse, there have been substantial victories in the field of nutrition research. For instance, scientists have determined that vitamin C prevents scurvy, that beriberi develops due to a thiamine deficiency, and that vitamin D deficiency causes rickets.

In all of these cases, there is a link between a particular compound and a specific condition. However, the picture is rarely so clear-cut. This is especially true when investigating conditions wherein multiple factors are at play, such as obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, or heart disease.

Also, nutrition-related conditions have changed over time: The most common threats to health used to be deficiencies, whereas in Western countries today, overeating tends to be the primary concern.

Understanding the role of food in health and disease is essential and deserves attention. In this feature, we discuss some of the reasons that nutrition research seems to be so indecisive, difficult, and downright confusing.