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The Best of ACS Industry Matters for Early-Career Chemists

In your first few years working in the chemical industry, you’re learning new processes and how to navigate the workplace, all while thinking about how to advance professionally and reach your long-term career goals.

ACS’s member-only Industry Matters Newsletter delivers exclusive interviews with advice from industry executives, career-boosting tips from ACS Career Consultants, spotlights on fellow early-career chemists like you, and more each week to address the unique questions, challenges, and opportunities you face in the earlier part of your career.

Check out the best of ACS Industry Matters for early-career chemists below, and subscribe to the weekly Industry Matters Newsletter today!


What are the non-technical skills that helped you most throughout your career in industry? Which ones should early-career chemists focus on?

“I would put effective teamwork and communication at the top of the list of critical non-technical skills. Industrial chemistry is a collaborative effort not a solo endeavor…discovering, developing, and manufacturing new products require many different areas of expertise so chemists need to work effectively with other scientists, engineers, safety, and design experts, marketing specialists, and even customers in order to get a product to market. Trying to do ‘your piece’ in isolation is counterproductive.”- Susan Butts, President, Susan B. Butts Consulting

“Being comfortable admitting ‘I don’t know’ is certainly one of the most important skills, though it falls between technical and non-technical.” – Mark E. Jones, Ph.D., Executive External Strategy and Communications Fellow, The Dow Chemical Company

What challenges do women chemists encounter in the work place that men don’t largely experience? What can the chemical industry do to make the workplace more welcoming and rewarding for women?

“A challenge I often hear women share is about making choices in their career. They’re asking questions like: ‘How do I know when to try something new versus sticking to my area of expertise?’ ‘What roles are out there that I might want to try?’ I think many women have these questions and we should be talking to them about what they want and what they hope to achieve earlier in their careers.” - Kathy Shelton, VP & CTO, FMC Corp.

Subscribe to the ACS Industry Matters Newsletter for weekly leadership perspectives from industry executives, and much more.

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