Whether you’re fairly new to your nutrition career, or are seeking out more senior nutritionist roles, these are our top 5 pieces of advice to help guide you along the way:
- Expectation management: It is important to manage your expectations when it comes to your first role and career progression. Career paths are wonderful things, they take you to all sorts of places and you learn and experience lots of different things along the way. Try to think of your career as a journey to enjoy, not just a destination. Discovery is an essential part of your career. Being able to adapt, learn and re-position yourself will serve you very well for a long and successful career.
- Be strategic: Think strategically about your career. Have a go at a career development plan. Take time to consider what areas you may want to get into and what experiences you would like to build into your career path. How can you build relevant experience into your existing role and whilst delivering your current objectives learn new skills and connect with new people that will help you move in the direction you have planned? What personal ambitions, interests and responsibilities do you have outside of work? Travel, volunteering, family life; it’s important to think about how to integrate these into your plan.
- Peer support: Get it, give it. Ask for advice and share your concerns. Often the difficulties we face in a role have been successfully tackled by others. We are lucky to have a lovely community of nutritionists who are happy to support each other. Reach out and ask for advice and consider what reflections you have had on your experiences that could be shared with others.
- How will you continue to learn? This is a common interview question, and it is also vital to consider when you are within a role. There will come a time when you don’t know the answer to a particular question. Great sources of information exist, but so do many poor sources. Make sure you know which to access and who to ask and always ensure your work is evidence-based. Ensuring you keep up with your continuing professional development (CPD) is vital at all stages of your nutrition career and will build your nutrition expertise.
- Flair, originality and enthusiasm: Excite your colleagues, clients or your potential new manager. Demonstrate your passion and your ideas. This will show confidence and engage those around you. If there is a particular project you would like to be involved with, even if it is outside of the current scope of your role, offer to work on it on top of your day job. You will gain relevant experience and others will note your enthusiasm.