Tips for Finding your First Job as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Finding your first job as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can be challenging and overwhelming. This blog post walks you through some success tips for finding your first job and becoming the nutrition boss that you were meant to be!

You did it! You jumped through all the hoops required to become a Registered Dietitian. You’re ready to enter the workforce with vigour, but there’s only one thing stopping you… where do you actually find your first job? 

We’ve all been there… Sifting through Indeed, looking for jobs that require 10,000 years of prior experience, wondering how in the world you’ll get hired, correct? Well today, I want to talk about some important steps to consider while you’re on the hunt, which will help you to find your first job as a Registered Dietitian. 

Capitalize on your past connections. Although I don’t have a study to back this up, the majority of my dietitian friends and colleagues have gotten jobs through someone that they knew prior. Whether that means that they did a placement with the organization, or they knew someone who worked there, having a foot in the door is a huge asset. Most of the time, when companies are looking to hire, they don’t want to sift through an enormous pile of anonymous resumes. They want someone who can be vouched for by a colleague that they already trust. For them, this helps to lower the risk that the new employee might not work out and increases their chance of success. 

Knowing that, do everything you can to maintain your relationships. Connect with past preceptors or mentors and make sure that they know you are looking for a job. If they’ve had a positive experience with you, you will be top of mind when they hear of an entry-level position. 

Reach out to someone who is doing something you're interested in. In episode three of The Dietitian Project, Micah Siva (RD) got her job with Buzzfeed by reaching out to someone on LinkedIn. On a whim, she decided to send a message to one of their recipe video developers. And guess what? A few months later, they had an opening for a freelancer and they contacted her! Micah was top of mind for them since she had built that connection. Although opportunities may not happen right away, make sure you are planting as many seeds as possible. 

Utilize your online presence to your advantage. Having a professional online presence can be a huge asset when you’re looking to find your first job. Establishing yourself with an online blog, website, LinkedIn page or Instagram account will help to demonstrate the passion you have for the field, in addition to showcasing your communication skills. If you have a professional blog or social media account as a nutrition expert, make sure to put that on your resume. Anything you can do to help you stand out (that still maintains your professionalism, of course) will help you. 

Check out unconventional job boards. I’ll let you in on a little secret from something I’ve learned throughout my career. For HR reasons, companies are sometimes required to post a job online even if they already have a candidate for it. So that means that some of the jobs you are spending hours of your life applying for have already been filled! I’m not saying don’t apply for these jobs, because you definitely still should. If a candidate doesn’t work out or doesn’t want the job, the employer might turn to their Indeed applications. Or, the organization may not have someone in mind and they’re looking for a fresh candidate. But what I’m saying is, don’t put all your eggs into the “Indeed basket”. Rely on the connections you already have and broaden your search beyond just Indeed. 

A few resources and job boards that have been really helpful for me in my career as a freelance dietitian have been: LinkedIn, Upwork and People Per Hour. 

Create your own job. You DO NOT have to pursue the conventional route of getting a “real” 9-5 job right off the bat. If you feel like entrepreneurship (whether that be running a private practice or becoming a nutrition writer/recipe developer, etc.) might be for you, then I urge you to think seriously about it. There are many dietitians out there who are absolutely killing it with their own businesses. That’s the beauty of this profession - you can make it what you want! 

If you’re looking for help figuring out exactly how to start that incredible nutrition business of your dreams, reach out to me. My business coaching services are designed to help amazing people like you achieve their career goals. 

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