By Kate Agnew, DC Communications Assistant

Strategy is not a skill you can afford to defer learning until you’re an established dietetics professional. In fact, you’ll need to understand the value of a strategy – and map one out for yourself – early on, while you’re still in Uni. Then, you’ll need to continually refine it as you (hopefully) move up the career ladder.

I know – I am a recent graduate, and went through the job search myself. Luckily, I landed career opportunities that are both challenging and fulfilling. I hope you’ll be able to benefit from what I learned along the way.

When you’re devising your career strategy, try these 6 techniques that worked for me:

1. Find your WHY: Your WHY is the reason you want to be a dietitian; the thing that keeps you going every day and the uniqueness that you bring to the profession. Credit goes to a number of my mentors who made me realise the power of discovering your WHY. You will then use this to determine your mission as a dietitian and it will help to uncover who to align yourself with.

2. Connect with dietitians who inspire you: I was once told that you should have a number of mentors in addition to your official mentor for APD status. I now understand how helpful this really is! Your mentors are there to provide insight, challenge you, brainstorm with you and even learn from you (it’s a two way street). With the explosion of social media, it’s easier to find out about what other dietitians are passionate about and then approach them to be part of what you bring to the profession.

3. Explore: You will quickly learn that there are niche and novel ways of approaching dietetics and countless opportunities to upskill. Have a long, hard look at what other dietitians, or even health professionals, are doing and find some answers to where you think you can make a difference.

4. Discover novel areas of work: from industry positions to communications, and of course the traditional positions in hospitals and clinics, the possibilities are endless. I was once told that if you cannot find a job, consider making your own job. Given that nutrition is constantly evolving and is a key component in many domains of life, the magic happens when you can think outside the box and translate your work to novel areas.

5. Be prepared to do a less-desirable job: Sometimes we have to do this in order to show a potential employer our skill set, our uniqueness and our potential. The beginning of a new job or internship may involve tasks like marketing or writing rather than direct patient/ client care, but this often opens doors to further opportunities. Remember your WHY and bring positive life to each situation; you will get there.

6. Consider starting your own business: entrepreneurship is an amazing opportunity for both personal and professional growth. Be prepared to learn about business and technology, bounce ideas around with your colleagues or university peers and consider getting a business coach. There are more new graduates starting their own private practices; it takes time but if you do it with passion and pride, you will gain momentum.