I always thought that I would figure out what I wanted to do with life after I finished college. Nutrition was fascinating and I loved learning about it… I just wasn’t sure what to do with that knowledge.
I finished college and still had no idea.
One thing I really wish I had done during college is skim job descriptions and get an idea of what I might like to do and what skills would be expected. If I had known I would be so interested in private practice, I would have made a greater effort to connect with RDs in private practice. I might have spent more time talking with professors learning about their experiences.
This is your chance, students!
Learn all you can right now, not just about the NCP and citric acid cycle and mineral functions in metabolism. Learn about what it takes to be a great dietitian, supervisor, and nutrition services director.
It’s hard, I know. Sometimes you just want to get through the next assignment, the last day of observations, and that speech you have coming up. But all those things take on new meaning when you know how you will be using those skills in the future.
Take 10 minutes today and look over some RD job descriptions and find out the following things:
What kind of jobs are available for RDs in your area/area you want to live?
What skills do they require that you do not yet have? How can you get them?
What is the pay range for RDs in your target area?
What can you do right now to make yourself more marketable?
If you have a part-time job while you are in school, see if you can maximize your opportunities there and take advantage of learning experiences. Don’t think you can?
As a student I worked as a TA and learned about learning disabilities, class planning, paperwork organization, how to simplify and explain concepts, and how to use online learning management systems (such as Moodle).
I worked at a candy factory and learned about management styles, marketing, planning, forecasting, and team development.
I worked at a business office and learned about health insurance, billing, marketing, hiring and training, customer service, working under pressure, communicating across disciplines, conflict resolution, employee motivation, event planning, and even a bit of poster designing 🙂
Every job has something you can learn from, and every job has something to be learned! Start with a job description for RDs and see how what you are currently doing prepares you for that, and find out ways that you can gain more skills to be more prepared for a job in your field.
Best of luck to you!