It’s January. For some, that means you’re freshly graduated from university and looking to make your first big waves in the industry. Now, faced with the troublesome task of making a decision that will vastly impact your future career – the next big question is, where do you start?
First things first, breathe. We have all been where you are now – but it IS up to you to get the ball rolling, so don’t rest on the laurels of graduating for too long.
You could go and waste years of your life googling “what do to after I graduate?”. Luckily the team here at Dietitian Life has put together a list of our top tips for how to kickstart yourself after university.
Let’s Talk Mentors
The most important thing when looking for a mentor to remember is that your first job is almost definitely not going to be your dream job! Avoid being funnelled into a mentorship in an industry you’re not passionate about – just because your family, friends and colleagues are asking you questions about your plan.
Make your mentorship COUNT! You want to work with someone who aligns with your goals as a Dietitian AND enjoys working with you as a person. This person is going to be your support network for your first year in the field, you want to feel comfortable reaching out to them.
If you’re struggling to find a mentor or unsure what you should be looking for in one, we’ve included a few things to consider when making your choice.
- Find someone who is going to PUSH you!
- Favour the industry you want to work in, not the discipline – and look for someone who can give you advice on working in that field. Think, “would I rather work in private practise or hospitals?” Instead of “I want to work with veterans, heart disease or weight management.”
- Don’t be too picky! Mentors are few and far between
- Don’t be too let down if someone says no. They might not be ready, or might not have time to mentor you but that is not a reflection of your abilities as a dietitian
- Mentoring doesn’t stop at the end of your twelve months, in fact – this is just the beginning!
What About Applying for Jobs and Nailing your Interviews?
Now, you’ve figured out where you want to work, and you’ve started contacting organisations looking for work. A few applications come back negative and you start to think, “how can I improve my chances of standing out from the crowd?”
Why not try out one of our top tips for nailing the employment process? They are:
- Apply for EVERY single job – any experience is a foot in the door
- Focus on writing an application letter than creates a voice of difference. Have you done any extra curricular work that sets you apart from other applicants?
- Make sure you know why you want the job – textbook answers are just not going to cut it when you’re the small fish in the big pond
- Research the organisation, call them and introduce yourself and most importantly, ask for help!
It’s About Determination
We can list out our tips and tricks until the cows come home but really, every single organisation will be slightly different and looking for something different in their future employee.
The best thing you can do for yourself to kick start your career is put your name out there.
So, what are the take-home messages here?
- There is no best place to start… Just start! Apply for jobs, work hard and continue to grow yourself every day
- You might not find full time work to begin with and even if you do, there’s a good chance it’s not going to be the job of your dreams
- Your mentor is going to be your support network, get it right!
Want to learn more? Catch Tyson and Peta’s latest podcast over at this link and sign up for a FREE Dietitian Life membership to get exclusive access to the huge library of clinical advice, and practical dietetic resources.