Networking as a dietetic student can be a powerful way to build relationships. These connections can help you to get jobs or opportunities in the future, in addition to providing you with valuable guidance and mentorship. This article walks you through some tips for ways you can effectively network as a dietetic student.
I'm not going to lie.. the term "networking" makes me feel just a little bit cringe-y. Anyone with me on that? When I think "networking", I automatically think of an awkward forced interaction in which a business card or two are exchanged.
But, as I've learned and grown in my career, I've learned the true value of having an amazing network in a way that feels super genuine (and with no business card exchanging required 😅).
So, first of all, why is networking important?
It sets you apart - building strong relationships is one of the best ways to further your career. When you apply for a job in the future (or now depending on where you're at) you want to do everything you can to make sure that your resume is not just "another one" in a big stack of similar documents. Having a personal relationship with someone is one of the best ways to get your foot in the door.
It leads to opportunities - hands down, this is one of the most important part of networking. The opportunity may not be immediate, but you never know where it could lead long-term.
It makes you a better practitioner and person - learning from one another is one of the best ways to grow as a professional and a person.
Here are a few tips I have for ways to network in a genuine way while you're a student...
Reach out on LinkedIn/Instagram - if you see an RD doing something awesome that inspires you, REACH OUT. Don't be afraid to send them a DM or a message and say that you love what they're doing and that it inspires you to do something similar one day. This will usually lead into a further conversation where you might have the opportunity to ask a few questions and get to know each other better! If they don't respond, no biggie! Brush it off and don't let it discourage you.
Keep in touch with past preceptors/mentors - in most cases, your best opportunity for getting that "first job" is going to be somewhere where you've worked before and you already have a foot in the door (so long as you left a good impression!). Make sure to nurture these relationships, send an email once in a while to check in and see how they're doing. This will ensure that you are top of mind for them in case an opportunity comes up in the future.
Lead with value - ALWAYS lead with value when it comes to networking. DO NOT approach networking as if you're trying to get something out of it. This is super transparent and doesn't always go over well. Reach out, express genuine interest in someone's role or career path and maybe even offer to help them out! I've said this to a few of my student coaching clients - my hunch is that there are a TON of entrepreneur RDs out there who would love help with their social media, blog writing, etc.
Are you a student who wants more career and personal development content just like this? Make sure to join The Dietitian Project private student Facebook group!