I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR GPA; Some advice for dietitian new grads/students
It is no secret that I have been hiring an inordinate amount of dietitians in the last 12 months. And the most recent new grads seem to be very interested in telling me what their GPA is. Look, I get it if you are putting it in your resume but then mentioning it again in your application letter, and referring to it as if it is the be-all-and-end-all doesn’t interest me.
To me, the high GPA of a new grad actually scares me away a little.
I literally do not care. As long as you graduated as a dietitian, that is enough of a qualification for me. To me, the high GPA of a new grad actually scares me away a little. Makes me feel unsure. As the stereotype is that those with a high GPA often can’t talk to people well, are stress heads, can’t relate to the average person, and have trouble building rapport (although every new grad seems to think they have “exceptional rapport building skills”). This is a big issue if you plan on working in private practice. Obviously though if you have a top GPA and you are also highly personable, have the same values as us, then I will hire you in a heartbeat.
GPA may be important for hospital work – with many large hospitals even doing application cut-offs at ridiculous GPA levels. But for private practice, for MY private practice, I could not give a f***.
It is no secret that universities do not prepare students for private practice (however some are starting to try) so you need to take it on yourself to learn. Instead of doing that all-nighter reading text books to get a HD, seek work experience. Even if you don’t want to work in private practice, get work experience. Often times it will be developing resources, doing data entry, work shadowing, or similar. But these seemingly mundane things allow you to develop not only skills in the delivery of information, but also give you insight into what it is actually like in private practice. What is involved, what dietitians struggle with, the admin side (which uni’s continuously neglect), and in the end you will be a step ahead of your classmates (your competition for graduate jobs) as it shows employers a commitment to learning outside of university.
What to focus on
Instead on focusing on your GPA, focus on being a good person, focus on being able to talk about clinical intricacies in laymen’s terms, be able to relate to everyone and be able to find common ground with every single person you talk to. Learn and understand what it might be like walking in your client’s shoes, know where they will be eating, what their lifestyle is like, what challenges they may face, and overall maintain a non-judgmental mind-frame throughout. Be open about making mistakes, having failures, and not being perfect. Be able to adapt your communication level and style to an individual, their body language, what they are saying and what they have experienced. Without this, you will not be very successful in private practice.
My interviews are just a chat, me figuring out who you are as a person, figuring out if you will fit within the company culture and if we can help you achieve your personal and career goals. I let the conversation roam. I can pick up whether you are telling me what I want to hear, whether you are being careful with your words, being overly diplomatic, if you are being completely yourself.
My best advice I could possibly give, and it is cliché AF, is to be yourself.
Be completely honest the whole time, DO NOT BE AFRAID to show who you are as a person. If you are genuine, that gives us both the best idea about whether we would work well together. Private practice (at least mine) is not about cookie cutters, we don’t have anyone that is the “same” as another person. We are all so different, have different strengths, weaknesses, experiences, styles, but all have the same core purpose and outlook; all fit our organisational culture.
Do not go for all jobs
I know all new grads want jobs, but trust me, accepting a role you aren’t keen on/with someone you don’t like/an organisations you don’t like or being offered a job based on the “fake” person you presented at the interview will end very badly for all. It will not be worth it. I know you are shaking your head right now telling yourself “but even if it sucks or if it is for a small time, I will have experience”, but trust me it will not be worth it.
Definitely apply for jobs all over the country, but ONLY if you are willing and able to move. Don’t apply for a job, go through an interview, get to the contract stage and don’t accept it because you no longer want to move. Sure it is better if you do that, than move then move back within a month. But save everyone’s time and be confident in taking the job if you are offered it. I have offered people jobs mid-way through an interview – sometimes you just know – so be prepared for that. You don’t want to end up on someones blacklist.
Things to remember if you want to get a job in private practice (or mine in particular):
- Your GPA means nothing to me. Show me you are a genuine person. That you are honest, open, and care about others. Do that, and you are half way to impressing me.
- Drive, determination, willingness to work, communication skills (verbal, non-verbal, written, speed, language), self-awareness (internal and external), and that X factor that makes you you, are all other things I, we, look for.
P.P.S Sign up for a Dietitian Life membership this year. We have tons of dietetic resources and practical tools to support dietitians like you get better results and achieve your goals!
SIDE NOTE: Another gripe I have, is that dietitians are listing their placement as “Work History” in LinkedIn or in your resume. If you said it was “Clinical placement” fine. But if you tell me or list that you worked at these places, that is nothing but a bold-faced lie. EVERY dietitian does placement. Every dietitian that is hiring you knows you completed placement and what it entails, don’t forget that we did it to ?. Be honest, and don’t stretch the truth. It doesn’t take the savviest person to see through it. So stop it!
Managing Director | Sports Dietitian