Finishing a dietetics degree is stressful. Be it a Bachelors or Masters, there remains a constant chatter amongst both students and staff about the difficulty of finding a job.
There are several hundreds of dietitians that graduate each year. Of the ~6000 APD’s in Australia, countless dietitians are out of work, looking for new jobs or returning from leave. Large hospitals offer 1-4 positions each year. You don’t have the business skills to run a private practice nor the time to learn them and industry rarely realises the value of dietitians. In the end, is it all worth it?
There can be no doubt that finding a graduate job is an arduous task. But there are many steps you can take to put yourself in prime position to get not just any graduate job, but the job that could shape your career.
It sounds explanatory enough – but this is the most vital step to guaranteeing a grad job. Volunteering your time shows loyalty, willingness to sacrifice and compromise, tenacity and is another valuable opportunity to display your value to an organisation.
Ask and you shall receive
Talking to authority figures in dietetics can be confronting, after all, they are your prospective employers. The first and most efficient step to an opportunity is a ‘hello’ whether it be in person, email or on Linkedin. If you don’t overcome your nerves and push the questions you want answered, they will remain a mystery and chances will continue to elude you.
You could spend 3 hours a week adding respected dietitians on Linkedin and researching organisational gaps and value adds. Messaging these ideas alone contains tremendous value. 50% might not have the time, 30% will take interest and 20% will offer you a chance because it is exactly what they’re after.
Challenge yourself. Don’t just complete the routine tasks – add your own value. Ask for more responsibilities, identify the organisational problems and create the solutions. Go above and beyond the tasks of an average volunteer.
Sure, you might fail once or twice. But just like riding a bike, falling off is how we improve and learn to ride with ease. Your leadership, initiative, evaluation and prioritisation are all skills that improve tremendously, let alone the new projects to showcase on your CV and experiences you’ve had that university and placement cannot teach you.
Placement is what you make it
Clinical, community, aged care and industry placements provided throughout university are incredible opportunities. By all means, put your head down and work to the best of your ability, but what is life if you don’t look up and smell the roses? Placements are just as much an opportunity to improve your skills as they are to network. Get to know people, connect with them on a level that’s deeper than just another student. What are the organisations values and how can you add something no one else could?
You need to volunteer
You will volunteer at places you don’t always enjoy. Unfortunately, that’s part of the journey. Again, it showcases your ability to sacrifice and work hard – rewarding outcomes are always going to be a challenge!
Don’t be afraid to juggle several volunteer positions, they aren’t full time jobs. Experiences in diverse areas of work will open incredible doors and facilitate the discovery of your “why” – the ultimate drive to a career you will love. You will discover incredible work places and role models; have learned invaluable skills and best of all, the confidence that you have much more experience and employability than the standard graduate.
Juggling volunteering alongside work and relationships isn’t easy, however, it is always worth it. Despite volunteering outcomes, you will have an incredible platform to build upon. Eventually the stars will align – you will love your work and the workplace will be glad to hire you for your sacrifices and skill.
Where are you going to volunteer first?