Profile: Lynn Sullivan, Chemist (B.S., 1999), Account Manager for Aerotek, Inc.
Chemists on the job market may be all too familiar with the process by which staffing companies work with recruiters to connect employers with job candidates.
But has it crossed your mind that it takes someone who has firsthand experience in the chemical industry to know who will be a good fit for the job?
Lynn Sullivan serves as an account manager for Aerotek, which provides recruiting and staffing services in the Atlanta metro area. Prior to her account management role with Aerotek, Lynn worked as a chemist for seven years. For more than four years now, Lynn has been working to help the scientific and healthcare industries find hiring solutions.
Although she started off as a biology/pre-med major at Delta State University, she decided that wasn’t the career path that she wanted and made the switch, receiving her bachelor’s degree in chemistry. After graduation, she landed an industry job, where she worked in quality control and eventually moved into R&D.
While working as a manager in an R&D department, Lynn was responsible for hiring technicians to work in the lab. She used a staffing company to help her identify job candidates, which led her to consider a career switch into the field.
“I thought it would be a great fit for me because I could stay in the sciences but work more with people,” Lynn explained.
Day to day, you can find Lynn calling companies, meeting with customers and working with recruiters to identify candidates for the companies’ needs. One of her favorite parts of the job is building relationships with people in a variety of scientific fields.
Lynn strongly believes that her degree and prior experience in the scientific industry helped prepare her current role. She doesn’t miss working in a lab—after seven years at the bench, she realized it wasn’t her passion. But her current job requires her to visit labs often and learn about the research at various companies—so she still feels very connected with the scientific world.
For those interested in a career like Lynn’s, she said there’s no industry-specific experience required. However, it’s important to make sure you don’t want to work in a lab environment and are willing to go into more of a sales position within the science community.
Lynn said working for a staffing company requires an interest in sales because “we are selling our staffing solutions to employers, whether it’s to meet a temporary, cyclical or more permanent solution.”
The obvious question to ask a person who works in scientific staffing is: What advice to you have to chemists on the job market today? Here’s what Lynn had to say:
“Two things that are important for chemists looking for jobs: networking and their resume. Networking is key to helping people find employment. When networking, you want to make sure you have a clean, professional resume. Chemists often forget to include laboratory skills, and that’s what will catch the eye of an employer or recruiter.
“For new graduates in Chemistry, it’s important to not only include any undergraduate research or internships, but to speak specifically about what your role was in the laboratory, and what equipment or techniques you utilized.”
In her spare time, Lynn is an active member of the American Chemical Society, and is currently the Chair Elect for the Georgia Local Section. In the past, Lynn served as committee chair of the Women’s Chemist Committee for the local chapter.
When asked why she has chosen to be involved in ACS, Lynn said she initially got plugged in for networking purposes and to meet new people in her area with a chemistry background.
“Organizations like ACS allow you the chance to meet chemists with a variety of backgrounds and to stay current with new research and industry trends,” Lynn said. “It also gives me the chance to volunteer by educating and promoting the field of chemistry to others.”
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