Category: Professional Skills (Page 3 of 4)

What Does Success Look Like To You?

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Success has different meanings to everyone.  Yet, many people use the same general words to describe it.  

It is important that we take the time to ponder our own personal definition of success…to be able to imagine what it looks like and feels like.

Envisioning the end is enough to put the means in motion.

-Dorothea Brande

The benefits of being able to imagine the ‘look and feel’ of success are numerous. But, mainly:

  • You will know exactly what you are working to achieve.  
  • You will be able to determine how to achieve success.
  • You will know when you are experiencing success.

Here is an activity that will help you imagine your personal success: “A Day in the Life of Successful You”

  1. Set aside 20-25 minutes in a quiet place where you can be alone.
  2. Off the cuff, start describing a typical day in your successful life.
    1. You wake up and what do you see? What do you do? Who do you interact with? 
  3. Take time to describe how you feel.
    1. physically
    2. mentally
    3. emotionally
    4. spiritually
  4. Take a mental note of the aspects which are important to you. 
    1. For example: nature? family? money? health? laughter? stability?
  5. Summarize the look and feel of living during this day of success.

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   Many people that I have taken through this activity have recognized that their prior definition of success was too vague and not tangible.  Some have mentioned that they were chasing the wrong definition of success (i.e. money instead of daily happiness). 

    Complete this activity many times to feel more confident in your personal definition of success.  And remember, that all achievements begin as thoughts.

A person can grow only as much as his horizon allows.

-John Powell

Complete this and many more activities in the Developing Your Career Plan course at www.icenp.org

Download the FREE guide: “4 Areas of Focus to Enhance Your Nutrition Career” and get the Professional Insights newsletter.

About the Author:  Devon L. Golem, PhD, RD

Dr. Golem is the founder and CEO of the Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals.   She earned a PhD in Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University and has worked as a registered dietitian in a variety of settings.  Connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter

Join one or both of her LinkedIn Groups: Nutrition Professional Resource Group and Dietetic & Nutrition Students & Interns

Stop. Drop. & Career Plan

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One question I am often asked is:

“How do I know if I should change my career plan?”

  Truth is, asking this question is somewhat of a telltale sign.  A career plan should be revised as your experience, skill set, and mindset are revised.  Here are some general instances when it is time to…

STOP…DROP…and CAREER PLAN

  1. You recognize new barriers.
  2. You developed a new interest.
  3. A new opportunity arose.
  4. Your life or circumstances have changed.
  5. You are generally unhappy with your current job.

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New Barriers.  As you work more in the field and observe the ups and downs, you become more cognizant of barriers that you need to overcome to achieve your goals.  These barriers can include systemic issues such as workload injustice or pay inequalities.  They can also include personal barriers such as weaknesses in technological skills or reduced ability to influence others. 

I know it may sound weird, but identifying new barriers presents a wonderful opportunity for your career.  It means that you are aware and learning.  It reveals new targets for improvement.

  When you recognize new barriers, it is time to revise your career plan.  You can develop goals and plans to overcome these barriers!

 

New Interests. With more exposure to the profession, you will invariably gain new interests.  Your level of interest will range.

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 The higher your level of interest in a new aspect of the field, the greater your need to revise your career plan. 

  You may need to completely revise your career plan to include this new-found interest.  Or, you may have already mentioned this interest, but need to make tweaks to your plan to ensure emphasis.  Either way, time to take out the ole’ career plan.

 

New Opportunities. We cannot always anticipate the future and new opportunities can fall into our laps.

Side Note: Sometimes it seems as if life ‘does not go according to plan’, but often plans aid in the development of situations that lead to new opportunities. 

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Perhaps a new job opportunity or a promotion places you on a new path.  Side jobs and volunteer activities can turn into full-time opportunities.  Deficits or needs at work can turn your focus in a new direction.  These situations may make you want to throw plans to the wind, but…

…flexible plans will help you make the most of new opportunities.

  You already recognize that your career plan is flexible and grows with you.  Take full advantage of this opportunity by incorporating it in your plans.

 

qtq80-aCBfTxLife Has Changed. By now, you are seeing a trend.  Life has a way of ‘throwing curve balls’.  Whether expanding your family, relocating, or developing a health issue…flexibility and growth are key.  Revising your career plan will help you determine the ways in which life changes have influenced your values and goals.

Your career plan is not just about working.  It’s about planning for life balance.  It’s about setting up your career to be one avenue in which you can act on your values and purpose.

In other words, your career plan is designed to ensure that your career adds meaning to your life as opposed to distracting you from your life.

 

disappointed_You Are Unhappy.  Whether you work full-time or not, unhappiness at work is not limited to work hours.  It bleeds into all hours of your life.  So, unhappy at work = unhappy in life.  It is time for a change!

But, change does not always come to those who wait.  No, your best bet is to plan for change.  Revitalize your sense of purpose and your plan to get there.  Revise your career plan today.

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COMING SOON! Develop a Career Plan course – Get step-by-step guidance through developing your career plan. Get notified of the course launch and get an exclusive deal.

This course includes an audio/visual lecture module, workbook, and career plan template.  Answer the questions, complete the activities, and see the examples…before you know it, you will have a career plan that sets you up for success.  

To be notified of the course launch (est. December 6th), get on the notification list.

 This course will be worth 5 CPEUs for registered dietetic professionals and certified dietary managers, but is useful for anyone who wants to feel fulfilled in their career.

Want even more? Sign up for the Professional Insights newsletter and get your FREE copy of ‘4 Areas of Focus to Enhance Your Nutrition Career‘.4-areas-that-will-enhance-graphic-6 

Do You Have Implicit Weight Bias?

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    Weight bias…it’s a real problem, especially in the nutrition profession.  The quickest way to ruin a nutritionist-patient relationship is to have negative attitudes or beliefs about weight status.  Talk about a big no-no. 

   But, did you know that a lot of the weight bias out there is implicit?  This means that many people do not even know that they hold any weight bias.  They inadvertently are impartial to individuals with a higher weight profile. 

“Well, how would you know if you have implicit weight bias?” you ask.

   You’re in luck…I am going to share a couple of ways that you can use to identify your level of implicit weight bias. 

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  1. Ask yourself a series of questions:

When looking at someone’s weight appearance, do I make assumptions about…

  • their character? (i.e. lazy, lack willpower, lack self-control, etc.)
  • their health status? (i.e. insulin resistant, systemic inflammation, advanced atherosclerosis, etc.)
  • their lifestyle behaviors? (i.e. unhealthy diet, sedentary, stressed, etc.)

What are the reasons for my beliefs?

Is there evidence to support my beliefs?  Is there evidence that negates my beliefs?

Regardless of my personal beliefs, do I give the same attention, care, and respect to patients of all sizes?

  1. Take this online evaluation

Project Implicit® is a non-profit project-implicit-logoorganization run by researchers interested in all sorts of implicit social thoughts.  Go to their “virtual laboratory”, agree to the consent statement, and select the Weight IAT (Implicit Attitudes Test).  You will answer a few questions and then play a few hand-eye coordination games. 

   If you take some time to answer these questions honestly and take this online test, you may find that you have some implicit weight bias.  Do not be alarmed.  As they say “knowing is half the battle” and you can work to make some changes.

“What can I do about it?” you ask.

  You can increase your awareness and knowledge.  

   To learn more about the different types and effects of weight bias as well as how to address it in your practice, take the Weight Perceptions course.  Quickly earn 2 CPEUs and help create a healthy environment for you and your patients. weightperceptions

Learn more about weight bias to be the best nutrition professional you can be.  Check out the other available courses in the catalog at the Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals (www.icenp.org).

 

About the Author:         Devon L. Golem, PhD, RD 

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Dr. Golem is the founder and CEO of the Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals.   She earned a PhD in Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University and has worked as a registered dietitian in a variety of settings.  Connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter

Join one or both of her LinkedIn Groups: Nutrition Professional Resource Group and Dietetic & Nutrition Students & Interns

Download the FREE guide: “4 Areas of Focus to Enhance Your Nutrition Career” and get the Professional Insights newsletter. 

How to Address Concerns About Dietary-Induced Cancer

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If you are a nutrition professional, then you may often find yourself addressing the media-induced health concerns of patients and clients.  With the wealth of nutrition miscommunication out there, it is no wonder that many people are afraid of getting cancer from a variety of food products.

This happens often.  Concerns about qtq80-7YYXI8carcinogenic substances in our food and water are real and should not be trivialized.  However, how do we know if there is enough evidence to justify every concern?

How do we know if a food causes cancer or not?

What do we tell any patient or client who reads these scary claims?

As nutrition professionals, we can reference evidence-based recommendations and evaluate the available research.  But…

Do you ever find that you do not have time to complete a literature review on all the claims that are brought to you?

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Rest assured…there are wonderful resources for you, the nutrition professional, to reference.  Other experts have done the leg work for you.  All you need to do is read then use your judgment and communication skills.

One great resource for the scientific literature on substances that are questioned to cause cancer is the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).  More specifically, their monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans.

iarclogo Take a moment to look at these two examples that are commonly claimed to be cancer causing:

Glyphosate

Carrageenan

Use your professional judgement to determine if there appears to be substantial evidence supporting the claims.  Remember to look at the populations studied, the doses, and duration of exposure, and the size of the effect.

Many people take the presence of evidence to be a cause for alarm.  They do not realize that a great deal of applicable evidence needs to be available before guidelines are developed and recommendations are provided.

For example, observations from studies evaluating effects of herbicides on agricultural workers should not be directly translated to the public.  Obviously, the agricultural workers would have greater exposure for a longer duration.

When warranted, use evidence from sources such as the IARC to deescalate an anxious situation and refocus a patient’s attention back to well-known, unrefuted healthy behaviors.

 The IARC is not the only credible resource, but it is a great place to start.  

To learn about other wonderful professional resources, sign up for Professional Insights newsletter and download a free guide to the ‘4 Areas of Focus to Enhance Your Nutrition Career’.

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Connect with Devon on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

Request to Join one of her LinkedIn Groups:

 

Why Some People Choose Fad Diets Over Nutrition Counseling

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 As nutrition professionals, we consistently learn and lecture that fad diets are not beneficial, could be detrimental, and should not be followed.  And research evidence supports these claims. 

However, the public is not listening.  

     Mainly because this is not what they want to hear.  Part of the reason that fad diets are always going to be so popular is because they provide an answer.  Not necessarily an easy, effective, or healthy answer, but an answer nonetheless.

So, if fad diets appear to provide an answer, then authorities opposing fad diets appear to provide the opposite of an answer…which is a problem. 

qtq80-3aWAurFor example, Suzie wants a weight loss solution.  She comes across the “no white foods” diet which is purported to help her lose weight and be less moody. She also finds a blog written by a dietitian that ripped the “no white foods” diet apart and recommends nutrition counseling for weight management. 

Which way do you think Suzie is going to go?

    Most nutrition professionals will tell you that Suzie picks the “no white foods” diet because she doesn’t care about research evidence and wants an easy fix.  This is true. 

  We are evidence-based practitioners working in a culture where empirical evidence is not prioritized above anecdotal evidence and promises.  The priority to nutrition professionals may be nutritional health while this is not the case for most people looking to fad diets for an answer. 

Although there is validity to this concern, this is only part of the problem…there is another aspect that is often overlooked by nutrition professionals. 

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The main issue involves errors in professionalism and tone.  It’s all in the way in which the nutrition professional presented herself. 

Suzie would choose the fad diet over the dietitian’s sound advice because she does not perceive the dietitian to be the expert in this scenario.  Instead the dietitian that tore apart this fad diet comes off very negative. 

This emotional negativity overwhelmed the sound advice.  

So, how do we address fad diets without compromising our ethics?

  To be perceived as the primary experts, nutrition professionals need to maintain positive sentiments and remain empathetic.  We do not need to compromise our ethics in order to recognize the motives, skills, and preferences of our patients. 

   As opposed to discouraging the use of fad diets, find commonalities and encourage healthy behavior change.  Strong discouragement of fad diets should be reserved for times of nutritional risk.  Let’s face it…most people can maintain nutritional health and avoid white-colored foods. 

   In other words, we need to use fad diets as a tool.  The simplest way to make the best out of fad diets is to find common ground and work from there. 

To learn about the positive aspects of fad diets, read: Why Some Nutrition Professionals Do Not Discourage Fad Diets.

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For more professional strategies, sign up for Professional Insights newsletter and download a free guide to the ‘4 Areas of Focus to Enhance Your Nutrition Career’.

 

 

The Author: Devon L. Golem, PhD, RD

DSC_2591-Edit Dr. Golem earned a PhD in Nutritional Science with an emphasis in Exercise Science from Rutgers University.  As the founder of the Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals, she is dedicated to helping nutrition professionals become their best.

Connect with Devon on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Request to Join one of her LinkedIn Groups:

Why Some Nutrition Professionals Do NOT Discourage Fad Diets

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There are over 6000 fad diets published online and a review of these has revealed some themes that nutrition professionals would appreciate:

  1. The Importance of Dietimportant

Fad diets have done our field a favor by supporting the notion that diet influences many aspects of life.  Compared to those who would never think of changing their diet to feel better, people who reach to fad diets are contemplating the connection between diet and body.  The authors of fad diets undeniably connect dietary intake with physiology…although the devil is in the details.  Be aware of this broad perspective and use this connection to help your patients.

  1. Dietary Awarenessqtq80-b4zoEq

All fad diets require that followers be aware of the food they are consuming.  Many who try fad diets become aware of their previous eating patterns, their specific food choices, and alternative choices available to them.  This is a great opportunity for nutrition professionals to encourage further awareness and increase dietary knowledge.

  1. Behavior Changeqtq80-9fcHdT

In one way or another, fad diets have dietary limitations and allowances.  Whether it be specific foods that need to be avoided or times in which consumption can occur, followers are learning skills related to dietary behavior change.  Some of these diets are extremely difficult to follow, but aside from the specific details, followers are gaining experience with behavior change, even if it is only temporary.

  1. Dietary Planningqtq80-ErzHLs

Many fad diets require a lot of planning to maintain compliance.  This provides the followers with practice developing grocery lists, looking up menus before eating out, and planning alternatives when eating away from home.  Fad diet followers often learn to use planning as a technique to overcome barriers to behavior change.  Again, these are all desirable skills that will come in handy when working to make dietary changes for life.

It is time to eliminate the notion that nutrition professionals are negative nay-sayers that will not work around the preferences of their patients.  Progressive nutrition professionals recognize that not everything is in black or white.  Do not choose righteousness over relationships.  Try to see things from the perspective of fad diet followers and help them build on the skills that they have already acquired.

 

For more professional strategies, sign up for Professional Insights newsletter and download a free guide to the ‘4 Areas of Focus to Enhance Your Nutrition Career’.

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The Author: Devon L. Golem, PhD, RD

DSC_2591-Edit Dr. Golem earned a PhD in Nutritional Science with an emphasis in Exercise Science from Rutgers University.  As the founder of the Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals, she is dedicated to helping nutrition professionals become their best.

Connect with Devon on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Request to Join one of her LinkedIn Groups:

How a Fruit Can Help You Manage Your Time

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          Ever find yourself pulled in too many directions? If you are a person who has too many tasks to complete in too little time, you are not alone.  Many people feel the stress of multiple deadlines and the overwhelming feeling of information over-consumption.  I am going to tell you about one time-management technique that is going to bring calm to your over-stressed schedule.

What technique could be so useful? you ask. 

The Pomodoro Technique

   Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980’s, this technique is named after one of our favorite fruits.   That’s right…Pomodoro means tomato in Italian.  It is possible that Cirillo explains his reasoning for using a tomato in his books, but all you need to know is that each tomato represents 25 minutes of uninterrupted time.

The steps of the technique:

  1. Decide on one task that you need to complete.
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes.
  3. Work on that task for the duration of the 25 minutes without any interruptions or interference.
  4. Mark where you are in the task when the 25-minute alarm rings.
  5. Take a 5-minute break.
  6. Decide whether you are going to move on to another task or complete another Pomodoro with the same task.
  7. After 4 consecutive Pomodoros take a longer break (~15-30 minutes).

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Manage Tasks

       The purpose of the technique is to break down your tasks into manageable pieces while taking small breaks often to improve productivity.  The more you use the technique, the easier it is for you to determine how many Pomodoros a task typically takes…which allows you to schedule your time more efficiently. 

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   The ability to schedule work accurately allows for the ability to take advantage of free time.  This technique is one of the best to promote work-life balance.

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    This technique also helps you maintain focus and limit the distractions that have seemed to take over all of our lives.  Turn off your ringer, close your email, lock your door and spend a minimum of 25-minutes on an important task.  It is amazing what you can do when you are focused. 

   Nutrition professionals are not known for being disorganized or inefficient.  However, many of us are overachievers and over-commit.  Using this technique will change the way you view your schedule and your work. 

Give it a try and see the benefits today. 

To read more, visit the official Pomodoro technique website: http://cirillocompany.de/pages/pomodoro-technique/

For more professional strategies, sign up for the Professional Insights newsletter.

The Author: Devon L. Golem, PhD, RD

DSC_2591-Edit Dr. Golem earned a PhD in Nutritional Science with an emphasis in Exercise Science from Rutgers University.  As the founder of the Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals, she is dedicated to helping nutrition professionals become their best.  

Connect with Devon on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Request to Join one of her LinkedIn Groups:  

Getting Your Raise

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The information that you need to know to get a raise can also be used to negotiate your starting salary.  Keep in mind that the higher your starting salary, the more you make in general.

But, say you were hired at a fair wage and think it is time for a raise.  Or maybe it has been a long time since your last raise…here are the steps you need to take before approaching your employer.

1. Determine the raise schedule.qtq80-ZclwJb

Many companies and organizations have a salary schedule that includes a plan for promotion and raises.  If your desire for a raise does not align with this schedule, chances are you will be sore out of luck.

This is something to identify right away.  Speak to your supervisor or HR representative and get this information.  Typically, this schedule aligns with performance reviews, but not always.  Find it out and ask for a raise at the appropriate time.

2. Complete background research.qtq80-sOgzlN

There are many external factors that influence the probability of a raise.  Do some background research to gain information about the field/profession, market, and your employer.

Go online and find answers to the following questions:

  • What is the salary range for your profession at your experience level?
  • What is the status of the overall market? (Good? Bad? Stable?)
  • What is the financial status of your employer/company? (Growing? Declining? Stable?)
  • What is the salary of similar professionals working for similar employers?

There are a lot of online resources including the Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as private companies that create personalize salary reports for a fee (e.g. salary.com, payscale.com, glassdoor.com, etc.).

3. Get to know yourself.qtq80-zB3WgZ

It is important that you know where you have been, where you are, and where you want to be.  Answer the following questions to start learning more about yourself.

  • What is your current salary?
  • What is your final desired salary range for this position?
  • How many years of experience do you have in this position?
  • What percentage increase was your last raise? When did this take place?
  • What is the lowest acceptable percentage for your raise? What is the highest appropriate percentage for your raise?  (Come up with a desired raise range.)
  • If not money, what else would you accept as a raise? (more time off? work remotely? stock options?)

(Keep in  mind that a percentage increase is referring to the percentage of your salary.  For example, if you made $50,000 and received a 5% raise, you would then earn $52,500.)

4. Determine the reasons you deserve a raise.qtq80-ZGX5kj

If you cannot justify receiving a raise, then you do not deserve one.

Time passing by is not a good reason to earn a raise.  Your actions and achievements during that time is more important.  Be ready to justify your value to your employer by answering these questions:

  • How was your last performance review? (If you did not have one, review yourself.)
  • How did you address any issues identified in your last performance review?
  • Since your last raise, what were the major achievements that warrant another raise? (More responsibility? projects? awards? certifications? training?)
    • What have you done to save your employer more money?
    • What have you done to make your employer more money?
  • What are your strengths? (Be prepared to mention a specific example for each.)
  • How did your strengths contribute to your employer/company since your last raise?

Higher pay comes to those who know what to ask for, when to ask for it, and why they are asking.  If you can positively address each of these areas, then you can get your raise.

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Most employers recognize the need to acknowledge great employees.  This is not a time to threaten your employer and give them an ultimatum.  (If you are at that point, then a raise may not be what you are really looking for.).

If you feel that you are performing above your pay grade, then prove it to your employer and be prepared to compromise!

 

D Golem at Podium with FlagDevon L. Golem, PhD, RD is the founder of the Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals.  She has spent over a decade providing education and career guidance to nutrition students, interns, and professionals.

Connect with Devon on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Is it time to revise your career plan?  Click here to learn more.

 

How Your Job is Getting in the Way of Your Promotion

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Any organization is happy to have employees that follow direction, work hard, and do their jobs well.   Whether entry-level or middle management, employees that do their jobs well are usually rewarded in job stability, gratefulness, and sometimes monetary bonuses.  But, they may be passed up when it comes to promotions.

Why?

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It’s because they are doing their job (and possibly even the job of others).  They are looking at the status quo, the day-to-day tasks, resolving problems as they arise, managing employees and the systems in place.

 

This all sounds wonderful.  So, why no promotion?

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Well, think of it from the perspective of the head executives.  Why reward a job well done by moving an employee to a new position? Why fill an upper management position with an employee who does so well in middle management? In other words, demonstrating the current position perfectly does not reveal potential for a higher position.

Wait…aren’t exemplary employees demonstrating a lot of the skills and characteristics needed for upward movement? 

qtq80-VYqH68Yes, most exemplary employees demonstrate confidence, great communication skills, and the ability to motivate others to work well.  These are needed for all leaders.  But, they are missing one quality necessary for a pay raise and a corner office: insight.

Employees are being overlooked for high-end promotions because they are not demonstrating insight.  They are too wrapped up in the small picture and are not considering the future, financial plans, and business strategy of the organization.

To get promoted to the top, one must demonstrate that they can do the top job.

True leaders take a step back from their day-to-day responsibilities and focus on the direction the organization is moving and the strategies to get it there.  Employees that get promoted understand all of this as well as their role in advancing the organization.

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To get the promotion, go beyond you and your job.  Examine the organization, the financial goals, the business strategies, the external and internal environments, and your role in helping the organization meet its financial goals.  Demonstrate that all your other qualities and skills are accompanied with business insight and you will get promoted!

For more guidance, consider the Developing Your Career Plan online course (worth 5 CPEUs).  Incorporate promotions into your career plan.

D Golem at Podium with FlagDevon L. Golem, PhD, RD is the founder of the Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals.  She has spent over a decade providing education and career guidance to nutrition students, interns, and professionals.

Connect with Devon on LinkedIn.

 

Your Dietetics Career Plan

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Its best to think of a career plan as a continually evolving structure.   Our perspective and goals change as we gain experience over time.  We need to continually evaluate our values and skills.  Developing a career plan every couple of years is a way to explore available options and make desirable life changes.

The following is a summary of the five main components of a career plan.

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  1. A self-assessment

We need to learn about ourselves and the ways in which we have changed over time.  Developing a new career plan allows for this by beginning with a self-assessment.  Answer questions such as:

  • Which aspects of dietetics/nutrition interest me the most?
  • What skills have I acquired over the past few years?
  • What do I value most in my life?
  • How could my career address my top values?

 

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  1. Determining career goals

At this step, we will determine 2 to 4 career goals.  This is an extension of our self-assessment and includes visualizing the future.  Where do we want to be in 2 years from now? 5 years from now? and 10 years from now?

One easy way to do this is to imagine a typical day in our future.

  • How will I describe to friends and family what I do for a living?
  • Who will I work with?
  • How much time will I spend working?
  • What will my role be at work? (Will I be an administrator or an employee, a leader or a follower, overseeing or enacting?)
  • What will I love about my job?
  • How much money will I earn? (What kind of lifestyle will I be able to afford?)
  • How much responsibility will I have? (A lot, moderate amounts, or very little?)

Completing a small job search is helpful in expanding our perspective.  Even if we are not currently looking for a job, this kind of search helps us recognize unique opportunities.  After contemplation about the information we collected, we can develop our career goals.  Here are some examples:

  • Career Goal 1: My career will allow for work-life balance which means that I will never work more than 40 hours per week, have flexibility to tend to family, have all major holidays off, and have 4 or more weeks of paid vacation per year.
  • Career Goal 2: I will specialize in diabetes management.

 

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  1. A gap analysis

After we determine our goals, we need to determine the gap between ‘where we are’ and ‘where we want to be.’  This will help us determine education, experience, and skills needed to meet our goals.

  1. Complete an online search and interview a few role models to determine the education, experience, and skill criteria needed to meet your goals.
  2. Rate your current level for each of these criteria.
    1. Here is an example:
      1. I want to be an expert in diabetes management.
        1. I need formal/certification training, 1500 hours of experience working with patients with diabetes, and honed nutrition counseling skills.
        2. I do not have formal training (CDE). I have ~50 hours of experience.  I am new to nutrition counseling and would rate my skills as low.

 

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  1. Identifying needs

Apply the results from the gap analysis to identify training and experience needs.  We may need more exposure to a particular clientele.  We may need more education.  We may need more leadership experience or to hone our communication skills.  Review your gap analysis and identify at least 3 needs to work on.

Remember that we need support in order to grow.  Some of our needs will include time, monetary support, and social support.  Always ask employers for assistance to improve your professional expertise.  Presenting them with a plan and a list of ways in which they will benefit are useful negotiating tactics.

 

  1. Developing a plan

Finally, we will use all the gathered information to develop a plan of action.  Now that we know our needs, we will find ways to meet those needs.  We will research the steps it takes, the resources, and the pathway that is best suited for us.

Answer the following questions to help develop a plan.

  • How do I get certified as a diabetes educator?
  • How much does it cost? How much time does it take? What steps are required?
  • Where can I find the time, money, and self-guided experience to complete the certification?
  • Who will support me during my growth period?
  • How can I include this in my CDR Personal Development Plan?

Start planning today to obtain your dream career tomorrow!

 

Get help with your career plan.  Take the Developing Your Career Plan online course (5 CPEUs) and/or request information about one-on-one coaching (icenp@icenp.org).

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORD Golem at Podium with Flag

Devon L. Golem, PhD, RD is the founder of the Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals.  She has spent over a decade providing education and career guidance to nutrition students, interns, and professionals.

Connect with Devon on LinkedIn.

 

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