I was recently asked to give a talk at King’s College London about my career so far.
The host of the talk was a new Nutrition company – Nutrition Talent, who are a recruitment and resourcing agency specialising in the provision of flexible, professional nutrition resource. It also offers strategic career development support for those with nutrition expertise.
Nutrition Talent was recently founded by Anna Wheeler and Dr Danielle McCarthy who have over 30 years of nutrition experience between them. Anna has worked mainly within the food industry for large multinationals and Danielle’s experience most recently includes food retail where she was Head of Nutrition at Sainsbury’s.
Together they aim to help connect nutritional professionals with the right organisation to help make evidenced based changes happen. They also offer dedicated, relevant career support to inspire those with nutrition expertise to be the best they can be.
My career talk
The event at Kings was attended by a few hundred students and recent graduates in nutrition and was run with an aim to provide students with some information about the wide range of careers you can end up with when you’re studying nutrition. The Association for Nutrition and the Nutrition Society both had a big part to play in the day and the event was also CPD approved.
I was really impressed with the line up of other speakers as there were representations from industry, retail, education, research, oversees and freelance (me). It’s so important to show the broad range of fields that Nutritionists can cover – we don’t just advise patients on a one to one basis, in fact, I know very few Nutritionists who actually do clinic work.
During my talk I spoke about where I started in my career and focused a lot on the fact that during my degrees, I did a lot of volunteer work. I truly believe that this volunteer work helped me to be in the best position to get my first employed role as part of an NHS team. Whilst at university I volunteered to write articles for a local paper, helped run focus groups at schools and after school clubs, got involved with local wellbeing events and even worked with Bristol City Council doing recipe analysis.
Based on this, one of my main tips for students was to try and get as much experience as you can whilst you’re still learning.
Also check for jobs available: https://uk.jooble.org/jobs-nutritionist and NHS websites.
Using social media as a nutritionist
When preparing for the event, I was asked to talk about my top tips for students as well as some tips for using social media as a nutrition professional. When it comes to social media, it’s really a minefield and I’m far from an expert. However I highlighted during my talk that Nutrition isn’t ever black or white, fact or fiction and that anyone using social media as a nutritionist, should try to remember this. I also highlighted that what you say stays on the internet forever, so try to think, research and double check anything before posting. Lastly I talked about my work with brands and how this meant being extra careful with what you say on social media, for a number of reasons including confidentiality and ensuring you don’t actively ‘promote’ products.
Talking to students about my career is something I’ve done only a handful of times, but I really enjoy doing it. I feel that as a student myself I had so many questions and it’s always nice to help others understand the field they are about to go into and to give them information that may help them to achieve the career they have always wanted. I received some lovely feedback from attendees at the event too, which makes it all the more worth while.
Here are some of my top tips that I offer to students and recent graduates in Nutrition:
- Figure out what aspect of nutrition you ENJOY and find yourself a job for life. Nutrition is SUCH a versatile career.
- Get experience – however you can get in there, get working and get some practical experience that you can add to your CV!
- Join networks & work with experts – there are so many people who have been working in our field for years, or excelling in certain areas.
- Make mistakes – you learn from them (I certainly have!)
- Keep up-to-date on research – exhausting as it is, it’s essential. Don’t just skim the headlines in the media, it won’t tell you much
- “The more I know, the more I realise I don’t know”