Have you just received your degree in chemistry or a related discipline? Don't know if you want to continue and write a Ph.D. dissertation? Want to get out into the "real world" and find a job? Need chemistry-related career advice? If you are asking yourself any of these or other questions regarding chemistry in Germany, you might want to check out Chemiekarriere.DE, a new career service for young scientists.

The Web site was launched 2 months ago as a subsidiary of Chemie.DE, a renowned information service about chemistry. So if one service already exists, why is there a need for another Web portal? Although Chemie.DE has been a quite successful service, the organization has recognized the need for a portal specifically for youngsters, says Stefan Knecht, CEO of Chemie.DE and manager for the Chemiekarriere portal. "We are trying to be of interest to both job seekers and employers.

The chemistry job market in Germany has been almost nonexistent for the last couple of years, but the situation has now changed quite a bit: Chemists are in demand, especially in fast-growing fields such as biotechnologies or the pharmaceutical industry. Actually, not enough young people study chemistry today, so employers have a hard time finding qualified employees. And young scientists need some career advice before their transition into the job market." Chemiekarriere.DE also offers jobs and advice for chemical-technical assistants.

Knecht thinks the service is most useful to smaller companies. "It is of tremendous value for small- and medium-sized enterprises. Every chemist knows BASF, Bayer, and other leading companies. But the smaller, lesser known companies also create plenty of jobs and offer interesting careers. The service gives them a chance to introduce themselves to potential employees. If Chemiekarriere proves to be successful in the long run, in the future we will have to think about offering this service in English, too. The discussion about the European and maybe global job market has begun, and some companies might want to find employees on an international basis."

So what does Chemiekarriere.DE actually offer its potential users? The site's design is simple and easy to navigate. The site has six basic categories: career tips, job profiles, company profiles, a database of job seekers, a job search tool, and an employee search tool. A site map lists these categories and their subcategories. "It is well structured," finds Joachim Röhrs, a chemist at the University of Dresden who is currently completing his Ph.D. dissertation.

The career advice and job profile sections are fed mainly by two other providers. The Handelsblatt's Junge Karriere provides information on how to write a good application and discusses other helpful tricks. "We wanted to focus on our core business, which is information about chemistry and the chemical industry," says Knecht. Job profiles are provided by the Bundesanstalt für Arbeit.

Of most value for job-seeking chemists seem to be the company profiles. "All renowned companies and plenty of other names from the chemical industry are listed here, and in most cases, there's even a link to open jobs. That definitely saves a lot of time browsing on the Web and searching the sites individually," says Röhrs.

The site also offers a list of career events and much more helpful information. But what probably draws most attention to the site are the job postings. And there are not only regular jobs to find, but also internship offers and proposed master's or Ph.D. thesis themes. Currently, about one-third of all positions offered directly on the site are Ph.D. positions at different universities, so the site is well worth a look for those who have decided in the academic career path, too. If you don't find the job you want, you can still post your profile so a potential employer might find you through Chemiekarriere. This requires registration, though: "We want to make sure that everyone posts only on a serious basis, so we have included this short registration process," explains Knecht.

The career service is free for all job seekers, whereas companies have to pay for advertisements and posting their job openings on the site. And given the current opportunities on the job market, job seekers should take the time to register.