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The Skills You Gain From Blogging

Anyone can start a blog, but not everyone can maintain one.  It’s a challenge…because it requires you to grow and gain skills.

Here are the skill sets that you will hone by diving into this new communication mode:

Teaching Skills

Readers want to learn.  This is the reason that they click on any appealing blog post link.

If they dedicate their time and attention, they should gain a new perspective and/or new information.  This means that a blog post is an educational tool.

Blogging provides the opportunity to provide educational messages that are evidence-based and well-rounded.

Communication Skills

The communication style is completely different in a blog post compared to other informative platforms.

Unlike scientific publications and textbooks, blog posts must be brief, concise, and engaging.  The message needs to be communicated in a short amount of time.

Readers are looking for quick, eye-appealing information.  The use of short sentences, segmentation, and pictures are necessary to convey a message quickly.

Bloggers break a lot of writing rules to write in a conversational manner.

To see what I mean, pay attention to the writing style of the posts you read in-full vs. the ones you don’t.

Marketing Skills

Do not confuse blogging with journaling or writing in a diary.   To maintain a successful blog, posts must be timely, attractive, and directed to the desires of the audience.

Bloggers must create striking blog covers with enticing titles.  They must provide genuine and useful information.  They must know their audience well enough to casually speak to them through their posts.

The number of views, likes, and positive comments are all indicators of the success of a post.  Bloggers also learn to grow their subscriber base and maintain relationship with their followers. All parts of marketing.

Technological Skills

Of course, a blogger must know how to manage their own website and how to post on that website.   They also learn ways to share their posts on a variety of social media platforms.

Successful bloggers often manage an email campaign service  to engage regularly with their subscribers.

Blogging enables them to gain more exposure to new tools and resources online…from creating appealing graphics to scheduling the post…bloggers do it all.

Blogging has become a standard method to communicate and educate…two necessary skills for all nutrition professionals.

Whether you are managing employees, providing care to patients, working with medical teams, or counseling clients…blogging can help you communicate.

Its reach and use has expaned to all areas of the field.  Improve your communication skills…start blogging today.

To get more insights like this, sign up for the Professional Insights newsletter.

Need some one-on-one coaching?  Get professional guidance from Dr. Devon L. Golem.  Email icenp@icenp.org or go to www.icenp.org to learn more and request an exploratory call.

How to Talk to Important People Over the Phone

Prepping for a phone interview? Do you need to schedule an important phone call?

Watch this video or read the article below!

Although we do not talk over the phone as much as we used to, phone calls fulfill a very specific set of communication needs. 

I always recommend that applicants call organizations before they apply. Job applicants should call potential employers and current employees.  Academic or internship applicants should call program directors and current students/interns. 

The more people you talk to, the more information you gain and the more connections you make.

Phone calls are an efficient means of communication and provide the opportunity to build a personal connection. Unlike typed/written communication (e.g. email, text, etc.), phone calls support relationship building through real-time communication. BUT…

Talking over the phone poses a challenge to many people.  We email, text, and message much more than we talk over the phone. The time to contemplate and edit is dramatically reduced when speaking in real-time. So, many are uncomfortable over the phone and prefer emailing.

How do you overcome this challenge?

Whether you are preparing for a phone interview or an important phone meeting, practice is key. The more you talk over the phone the better you will get at it. However, “Perfect practice makes perfect.”

How do you practice perfectly? 

First, you must remember the reason you are talking over the phone instead of emailing: to make a connection. In order to do this, you must convey your personality and character.

Here are six strategies that will help you convey your character and build a connection over the phone. 

6. Prepare

If you are hopelessly dependent on written communication, then compose an outline or email prior to your conversation. There are a few questions to answer when preparing for an important phone call:

  • a.  What do you want to accomplish? Determine the overall goal of this phone call.  Keeping this goal in mind will help you feel more confident and focused. 
  • b.  What are you two going to talk about? Plan the topics or points you want to address. Write them down.
  • c.  What kind of connection are trying to build? Professional? Respectful? Friendly? Brainstorm a list of terms and phrases that convey these adjectives. Thinking of these will help you incorporate them in your speech.
  • d.  How are you going to address this person? Determine whether you are going to use formal or informal (professional or casual) language. For example, how are you going to address this person (e.g. Dr.; Mrs.; Billy)?

5. Smile

Typically, you want to project a positive tone. Although the person on the other line cannot see you, smiling can be heard. The activation of these particular orofacial muscles changes your pronunciation and tone. It also releases endorphins which makes you feel more at ease.

When you feel at ease, so does the person on the other line. 

 

4. Pose

 If you are not power-posing yet, then it is time to start. The posture of your body influences your mood and behavior through hormonal fluctuations. 

 When you open up your shoulders and chest, stand tall, and stand proud…then you feel tall and proud. 

While on the phone, try to open up your posture and make yourself as big as possible. So, place your appendages outside the width of your torso. This can mean placing your hands on your hips and the back of your head, standing with feet hip-width apart, or crossing your ankle over your knee when you sit.

 For more information on power-posing, see Dr. Amy Cuddy discuss her research HERE.

3. Look Awesome

For important phone calls, you should feel important. Do not confuse this with dressing in an out-of-the ordinary, uncomfortable business suit. 

Only your opinion of “looking awesome” counts here!

Select an outfit, hairdo, and other accoutrement that makes you feel ‘on top of the world’. 

The better you look, the better you feel….the better you communicate.

 

2. Breathe

If you find yourself gasping for air, then you are not breathing. As innate as this is, without practice, we can improperly alternate speaking with breathing. 

This means that you are not thinking of your conversation in terms of sentences. You cannot breathe at the end of a sentence if you do not know where it is. 

Here is a technique to avoid this:

  • Start a thought with a preface word or phrase “Well…” or “What I was thinking…”
  • Take a deep breath. Loud enough for the other person to hear it. Out and in or in and out.
  • During the breath, think about the sentence you are about to say.
  • Finish the sentence with another breath while you think of the next sentence.

People do not mind hearing you breathe…this actually lets them know that you are still on the line. This breathing pattern will also let you set the pace. 

Once you find your pace, you will not have to think about it. So, practice with friends and family.

1. Get comfortable with silence

You also must practice to avoid filling silence. The need to fill silence with speech leads to jabbering. Providing too much unnecessary information can lead the conversation off topic, off schedule, and can make both parties feel uncomfortable. Not ideal.

If you are preparing for an important phone call, then you may want to ask someone that you are not 100% comfortable with (e.g. a colleague, a family member of a friend, an acquaintance, etc.) to practice with you. 

Do not let them know that practicing bouts of silence is one of your aims. That way, they will say something if your bouts of silence are too long. 

Follow these strategies and soon you will be a pro at connecting over the phone.

For more tips like these, sign up for the Professional Insights newsletter.

To learn more about talking to DI Directors and dietetic interns over the phone, try out the DI Application Crash Course

Why Write a Personal Statement If it is Not Required?

One piece of advice that I give to those about to embark on an application or interview journey is to: write a personal statement. Even if it is not required or requested. 

It can take several hours. And although it can be used to form a letter of application, this is not the main reason that you should write it.

To understand the main reason behind developing a personal statement for yourself, you first need to understand the objectives that you will accomplish while writing it. 

You will:

Identify Your Professional Interests

Your work should revolve around subjects that you are deeply interested in. Writing a personal statement will require that you evaluate yourself and identify your deep interests. Interests evolve so, it is important to reassess prior to making a life change.

Clarify Your Mission

A personal statement contains your purpose and goals. What is it that you want to accomplish overall? What goals do you want to achieve in the near and far future? 

Every stage and change of your career should be contributing to your overall purpose. Do not apply to anything (job, internship, program, etc.) without knowing how it contributes to your purpose and how it helps you achieve your goals. 

Keep in mind, your goals (and maybe even your purpose) will change over time. So, you need to rewrite each time you are about to move to the next stage or start a new chapter.

Analyze Your Experience

As mentioned in a previous post, one of the best ways to reveal passion in a field is to discuss experiences you’ve gained in that field. To discuss this in writing, you must do some thinking. 

Which experiences influenced you most? Which accomplishments are you most proud of? Which experiences reveal your dedication and passion? 

 “People do not care about what you know until they know you care.”

Your actions and experiences in a field are the evidence that you care. Prove it to yourself before you set out to prove it to interviewers.

Assess Your Strengths & Limitations

Your personal statement may also include a statement about your strengths and your limitations. To write this, you must assess yourself to not only identify genuine strengths…but also provide evidence. 

In other words, your experiences mentioned above should require specific characteristics, abilities, and/or skills. Of all your strengths, these are the ones that you can easily demonstrate in application papers.

Your limitations change over time…since, of course, you are constantly striving to improve old limitations. You are also gaining exposure to new experiences and situations that may highlight new areas in need of improvement. 

Writing a personal statement allows you to identify your current limitations and develop phrasing that reveals your intention to improve.

Develop Self-Concept Language

Perhaps the most important benefit of writing a personal statement is that it prepares you to represent yourself in your application materials and during your interview.

You may already know all the information in your personal statement without having to write it…but, the process of composing requires that you find the language and phrasing that best expresses your ideas.

So, not only does this process force you to self-conceptualize, but it requires that you articulate this information in a professional and concise manner.

The act of writing a personal statement before you apply or interview to any position will allow you to:

  • represent yourself with confidence
  • reveal your passion for the position, profession, and field
  • explain the alignment of values between you and the organization
  • describe the ways in which the position/organization can help you achieve your goals
  • clarify the way in which you will contribute to the organization

The act of writing a personal statement is so valuable that I often say:

“If you cannot write a personal statement, then you are not ready to apply.”

Learn how to write a personal statement HERE.

Do you need coaching or guidance? Request more information about guidance calls with Dr. Devon L. Golem by using the contact forms at www.icenp.org or email icenp@icenp.org.

The Best Way to Request a Promotion

One way to check your emotion at the door when you ask for a promotion is to develop an elevator speech.  This means stating your claims in less than 30 seconds. 

You’ve heard of an elevator speech to pitch policy to legislators.  Use this same technique to pitch your request to your employer.

The brilliant thing about an elevator speech is that it is brief and concise.  So, you must be able to answer the following questions in one sentence.

  1. What do you want?
  2. Why do you want it?
  3. Why do you deserve it?
  4. What do you want? (again, but in a different manner…see explanation below)
  5. How does the employer benefit from giving it to you?

Example 1

I want to be promoted to operations director with a 7% raise in salary (1). This will allow me to develop and implement a greater number of cost saving initiatives (2).  I saved the organization $20,000 this year by eliminating the need for a part-time assistant (3).  I request to be placed in a position that will provide more autonomy, authority, and time to direct cost saving and profitable programs (4).  Investing in me in this manner will benefit the organizations bottom line by increasing the profit margin (5).

Example 2

I am requesting a travel stipend of $3000 (1).  I will use this stipend to cover professional education expenses (2).  With my help, the pediatric population has doubled and we are providing services to twice as many children as we did one year ago (3).  I want to expand my formal education and earn a certificate in pediatric specialty (4).  This way, the organization we will be able to provide specialty services at a higher reimbursement rate (5).

Example 3

I am asking for a 4% raise (1).  This will allow me to live more comfortably and save for my future (2).  I have become more efficient in my position and can accomplish more work than I could last year (3).  I am requesting a pay raise that is commensurate with my experience and with cost of living (4).  The organization will benefit through higher retention and recruitment (5).

State Your Request Twice

As you can see, you get the opportunity to make your request twice.  The first time will be very concise while the second time tells your employer the value of your request.  Truth is, you should be more concerned about fulfilling those underlying values whether it comes with any specific titles or financial figures. 

For example, you may request to be promoted from supervisor I to supervisor II. In your mind, this allows you to direct your efforts to different responsibilities that you find more challenging and rewarding. (And, of course, you get paid more for doing this.)

However, your employer may believe you have different motives…such as the prestige of a title change or that you are solely interested in a pay raise.  Or your employer may not be able to change your title or give you a set amount of money. 

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – William Shakespeare

Give your employer the opportunity to meet your needs without “giving it a name”.  They may be able to change your responsibilities and compensation without changing your title.  They may be able to reimburse all your costs associated with professional education without creating a stipend or expense account.

Make sure you are focused on what you really want…not the name of what you want. 

  • Side tip: Notice of the above examples, the last one is the weakest.  This is because it is hard to ask for more money to perform a job that you are already completing.  Let this be a tip for future job offer and promotion negotiations…clarify a specific workload.  That way, when the number of clients you see or accounts you manage or the employees you supervise inherently increases, you will have a justification for a raise or to hire assistance. 

For more tips on professional advancement, sign up for Professional Insights.

For individualized guidance and coaching, request more information using the contact forms at www.icenp.org or email icenp@icenp.org.  You can request a FREE exploratory call.

 

Avoid this Fatal Negotiating Mistake

One of the biggest mistakes that most people make with negotiation occurs when they are negotiating for a promotion or status change.  See if you can relate to the example below.

Mark felt he deserved a raise.  He worked hard and did his job well.  Mark felt that he was more valuable than other employees at the business and knew that he was indispensable…so, he set up a meeting with his boss.

In this meeting, Mark stated his desire for a promotion.  He was direct and concise.

This was good. 

He went on to discuss how he was more valuable than other employees by comparing his work to that of others.  He mentioned that other businesses treated the person in his position better than he was being treated. 

He summed up his meeting by mentioning that he would look for employment elsewhere if he did not get a promotion.

This part was bad and Mark did not get his promotion.

Here is the fatal mistake that Mark made: he let his emotions get the best of him

 

Emotions are involved.  In fact, the process to summon the courage to ask for a raise or promotion comes from hours of proving to yourself that you are worthy. 

It is hard to separate emotions from this self-worth exercise, but you do not have to. 

Here are ways to use these emotions to your advantage. 

  1. Use a Positive Tone

When negotiating for a promotion or status change at work, avoid negative statements.  Do not compare yourself to others.  This is not sibling rivalry.  Instead, discuss your achievements and leave the comparison up to your boss. 

Leave the negative tone out of your justification for your request.  In other words, take the “whiny complainer” tone out of the equation by simply mentioning that you developed your requests based on industry standards.   

Positive presentation gains positive response.

  1. Do Not Complain

  Avoid that urge to complain…even if you are unhappy or feel that you are being undervalued.  A complainer does not win the favor of his/her boss. 

Forget the saying “squeaky wheel gets the oil”.   That wheel does not get a new axle, drive chain adjuster plate, spacer, bearing, or sprocket.  This means that the “squeaky wheel” only gets the aid that will stop it from squeaking at that time. 

Complaining shifts a person out of a positive light (for doing great work) into a negative light.  Burden and hassle are the last things you want your boss to feel when they see you…especially when you are asking them for a favor.

Nobody wants to do a favor for a complainer. 

  1. Remember Your Position

You are not in the position to make demands or threaten.  That’s right, you are asking for a favor when you ask for a promotion.  Your organization does not have to give you a raise or a promotion.  They are not obligated to anything beyond the contract that you signed.

However, it is in their best interest to keep their valued employees happy.  So, show them that you are a valued employee.  Gain their favor. 

Prove to them that you are an amazing employee and that investing in you would bring great benefit. Exchange the demanding tone with a deserving tone and it will be easier to ask for a favor. 

  1. Be a Teacher’s Pet

You began to learn about negotiation in grade school. The teacher’s pet was the person who not only excelled academically, but assisted the teacher in class, led by example, and took small actions to gain praise from the teacher. 

They may not have realized it, but they gained the favor of the teacher. 

This means that the teacher:

  • was acutely aware of the benefits of having the student in the class;
  • would question their own teaching methods if this student did not perform well; and
  • would grant special requests made by this student.

Your boss is your teacher.  Stay behind that fine line between gaining favor and kissing butt…you do not want to bribe, befriend, or annoy. 

You want your boss to think of adjectives such as dependable, trustworthy, and advanced each time they think of you. 

Follow these tips to avoid letting your emotions get the best of you.  Yes, you will be upset if you do not get what you want.  But, you will reduce your risk of getting it if you share this with your superiors by comparing, complaining, demanding, and threatening.

You are not a spoiled child.  You are a valuable professional.  Don’t force your boss to make this distinction. 

For more tips and advice, sign up for the Professional Insights newsletter HERE

Need individualized career guidance?  Request to set-up an exploratory phone call to determine exactly what you need.  Request more information at icenp@icenp.org. Read more at www.icenp.org.  

Mission Statement Deconstructed: How & Why

The mission statement of any organization tells you about their values and purpose.  It is a great way to learn about the institution. 

This is particularly useful when you are considering a position (of any kind) within that organization.  Whether applying to be a pupil or an employee, evaluating the mission statement will serve you well. 

By gaining a deep understanding of the mission statement, you will not only gain a better understanding of the organization, but you will be better prepared to apply.  Your application materials and interview vernacular will reveal that “you did your research and liked what you saw”.

Every mission statement contains certain components, regardless of the type of institution.  Answer the following questions to deconstruct the mission statement of an organization that you are interested in.

Who is the institution serving? – Customers

Typically, external customers, organizations often have a group of people that they set out to help.  One question to ask yourself when identifying these customers is “Do I want to serve this group?”.

What does the institution provide? – Products/Services

How do they serve their customers?  The mission statement will indicate the main services and/or products that this institution provides.  Whether this is education from a University or food products from a manufacturer, the mission statement will reveal how this organization fulfills their purpose.

Where does the institution contribute? – Market

The mission statement typically refers to a geographic location in which the institution functions.  Local community to global market, find out the reach of this institution.

What are the major concerns of the institution?

Is there a concern for survival, growth, profitability?  Is the institution committed to financial soundness and sustainability?  Or maybe the institution is concerned about equality or fair trade.  Concerns are values that you may share with the institution.

What is the institution’s philosophy?

The mission statement will reveal the beliefs and values of the organization.  It may indicate the ethical priorities and aspirations.  It is important to consider these and determine if you agree with this philosophy. 

What is the unique competence of this institution? – Self-concept

This statement should reveal the unique, competitive advantage of this organization.  How is it different from other institutions that serve similar customers with similar services/products?  How does this institution feel that they stand out from others?  This provides great insight into how the leaders view this organization.

Is there a concern for public image? If so, what is it?

Does the institution address social or environmental concerns?  Does it respond to community concerns?  Which ones?  Does this appeal to you?

Is there a concern for employees?

Employees (a.k.a. internal customers) are the pillars in which all institutions stand.  Does this institution show it in their mission statement?  Does this statement reveal that employees are a valued asset?

This is very important to consider if looking for employment within the organization.

Give it a try with the mission statement of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at http://www.eatrightpro.org/resources/about-us/academy-vision-and-mission.  Compare your answers.

Customers – Members;

Services – research, education, and advocacy;

Market – American/US;

Concerns – communicating the expertise of its members;

Philosophy – nutritional well-being, public health, food conservation, professional leadership;

Unique – largest organization of food and nutrition professionals;

Public Image – advocates of public health, empower nutrition leaders;

Concerns for Employees – no mention of paid employees, but a concern for the advancement of the internal customer (i.e. the members).

For more great content, sign up for 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

 

Exploring Your Options: 5 tips for diving into the next stage of your career

One of the biggest issues in most of my professional advising sessions is the reluctance to seek out multiple options. Contrary to popular belief, having many options is the lesser of the evils when it comes to making life-changing, career decisions.  It provides broader perspective and enables individuals to seriously consider exciting new options.

Whether applying to academic or internship programs or setting out to find a new job, here are 5 principles to keep in mind when embarking on a new chapter in your career.

  1. Know all your options

If you are looking to make a change in your career, then know your options.   Avoid the pitfall of focusing solely on one option because it is convenient and/or easy. 

If you are ready to make a change, then make sure it is a good one.  Search for all opportunities that may be available to you and learn more.  The more flexible you are, the more options you will have. 

Learn about all of them.

  1. Prioritize your options from ideal to livable.

Once you have a great big list of options, then prioritize them.  Select a few factors that you can rank objectively for each option and create some criteria.  Also, listen to your intuition and learn to trust your gut feelings. 

Eliminate any option that ranks below the “livable” designation.  Your final list of possible options should only be filled with plausible options.

  1. Apply to all the options on your list.

Do not limit yourself, especially if the only cost is effort.  If you want to learn more about eight job positions, then apply to all eight. 

If you want to increase your chances of getting accepted into a graduate or internship program, then apply to all those that meet your criteria.

If you are serious about changing, then you will spend the effort and money needed to increase your odds of success.

  1. Accept Interview Invitations

Whether you are leaning towards a position or not, if you are asked to interview…say “YES”.   Always accept the invitation to interview. 

The interview process is a time to learn more about the position, institution, culture, and environment.  Not only are the interviewers going to learn about you, but you will learn all about them and more.  You may even learn a little bit more about yourself.

 Even if you are not strongly considering a position, complete the interview for practice and exposure.  If this is a plausible option, then give yourself and them a chance.  You might just learn something that will change your view.

  1. Open Your Mind

Do not be bogged down by fear or preconceived notions.  To find your best match, you need to reassess your thoughts about each option after you learn, apply, and interview.  New information may sway your opinion.

Also, avoid “scaring” yourself out of a great opportunity.  Fear of moving and fear of failure tend to be the most common reasons that some people do not even learn about all the opportunities available to them.

You will only be able to succeed in change that you believe you can make.  Don’t let barriers stop you from realizing your dreams.  Try to find others who have made these types of choices. People have moved their families all over the world to make great strides in their life and career.

Recognize that everyone has barriers but those that open their mind to all their options…succeed.   

For more guidance, consider the Developing Your Career Plan course or the DI Application Crash Course.

 

 

Why Get Cozy With Your DPD Director

There are many reasons to “get cozy” with your Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) Director.  When I say “get cozy”, I mean to build a comfortable yet professional relationship with her/him.

There are many ways that a DPD Director can positively influence your life.  Make sure that you take full advantage of this resource while you have it.  This person can prove to be valuable to you NOW & LATER.

Here are some of the ways in which she/he can do that:

A Reference

The most common reason that most dietetic students try to get on the good side of the DPD Director is to secure a positive reference letter.  But, if you build the relationship well, then you will find that a letter of recommendation is just the tip of the iceberg.

Course Guidance

Usually, your DPD Director is one of your professors.  He/she teaches a few courses in the program and oversees the nutrition curriculum throughout the entire program.  In other words, they work with the other faculty members to make sure that you are learning everything that you need to learn at this point in your academic career.

They can explain all the concepts from life-cycle nutrition to nutritional biochemistry and food service management.  They know it so well that it seems almost like common knowledge.  If you need help in a nutrition course and are not getting the help you need from your instructor, you need to tell your DPD Director.  Not only will they address this with the instructor, but they will help you understand what you need to know.

Program Guidance

The DPD Director should be able to give you all the information you need to know about the dietetics program that you are enrolled in.  From course requirements and your academic schedule to the global learning objectives that you should achieve by the end of the program.

It’s not all about what you need to do to complete the program.  It is also about what you should get out of the program.

Career Guidance

Ignore the old saying “Those who can’t do teach.”  That does not apply in this field.  Your DPD Director is a registered dietetic professional who has gained a ton of experience in the field.  Some of them still work in the field on the side.

DPD Directors are on the cusp of pre-professionals and professionals.  They get to see the field from a wider perspective than most practitioners.  Mainly because they continually learn about the field with their students in mind.

You will definitely want to get their advice on your career and the options available to you.  Ask them about the different positions, roles, and responsibilities of dietetic professionals.  You will be surprised what a good DPD Director will tell you.

Networking

DPD Directors have a lot of connections.  Not only do they know other directors and dietetic professionals from all over the world.  They also know successful graduates of your DPD Program as well as local dietetic professionals.  A good DPD Director knows how to network and is a great role model.

So, the next time he/she encourages you to attend a meeting or join a professional organization or connect with them on LinkedIn…do not hesitate.  Follow suit.

Perspective

Through courses and conversations, your DPD Director can help expand your view of the field.  DPD Directors receive notifications of opportunities for their students (volunteer and paid).  They are usually asked to provide services to the community and may need your help.

Talk to them about their experiences and let them know you are interested in gaining more exposure.  Ask them to help you get a better idea of all the different facets of the field.  From laboratory research to community outreach to clinical field experience…the DPD Director is in the know.

Future Employment

DPD Directors are often the first people who are approached when employers are looking for applicants.  If they get to know you, then you might be the first person to pop in their head when they hear of a potential position for you.

Not only will you ensure a great reference by building your relationship with your DPD Director, you will also gain a potential employer.  The DPD Director is often involved in the search for instructors (whether full-time or adjunct), laboratory managers, and research assistants.

Some become employers outside of academia. Take me, for instance.  I am the CEO of the Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals.  The students that built a relationship with me, while I was their DPD Director, are on my shortlist for employment opportunities within the Institute.

 

DI Applications

Of course your DPD Director can provide you information on the dietetic internship  (DI) application process.  She/he may also have served on many DI Selection Committees.  This means that they have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly applications.  This is definitely one person with which you will want to discuss your DI application.

If you want to learn even more insider tips on DI Applications and/or get one-on-one guidance, click HERE.  Or go to www.icenp.org and look at the services for Pre-Professionals.

The DI Application Crash Course is about to launch!  Learn the insider strategies that many applicants don’t know.

How to Look Your Best on LinkedIn

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LinkedIn can be an amazing tool for professional growth and networking.  To get the most out of it, you need to make sure that you are using it correctly.

The first aspect to address is the way you present yourself to others on this platform.  That means optimizing your photo, name, and title.

Remember, LinkedIn is different from other social media sites.

It is professional, not personal.  Instead of connecting with your family and friends, you are connecting with experts, mentors, colleagues, potential employers/employees, potential customers, and advisees in the field.

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A 2-4 second glance is all you get when one of these people decides whether to connect, accept, or converse with you.

Here are a few tips to present yourself well on LinkedIn.

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Smile for Your Close Up

  • You must have a picture.
    • Similar to selling furniture online…you get more hits with pics.
  • Go solo.
    • Do not include other people in your profile picture.  That’s too social for this site.
  • Look professional.
    • Comb your hair, wear appropriate clothing, face the camera, and make sure your picture is well lit.
    • “Selfie poses” do not fly here.  Avoid taking the photo on an angle.
  • SMILE.
    • You are trying to connect with people here.  Psycho-killer stares and disgruntled facial gestures do not say “connect with me”.
  • Close up, but not too close.
    • Avoid full-body photos.  It is important that people can see your face. But, don’t let your face fill the area.
    • Center yourself in the photo so that your head has space on both sides of it.
    • The bottom of the photo should be somewhere between your waist and your shoulders. The top of the photo should be above your head.

 

“What’s in a Name?” A lot more than you think.

  • Included post-nominal letters with your last name
    • Let people see your credentials as soon as they read your name.
    • Do not include credentials that you have not yet earned.
      • Interns should avoid “pre-RDN” or “RDN”.
      • Graduate students should avoid including the degree with their last name until they have earned it.
  • Do not include a formal first name and a nickname.
    • ex. Wentworth (Wenny) Miller
    • Select which you want to use for your professional network.

 

Your Formal Title

The title needs to reveal your position(s) and your field in as few words as possible.  Many people struggle with this and I can relate as my title is a mouthful.

  • Try to use 10 words or less
  • Reveal your position and field
    • Including information about where you hold this position is mostly optional.
      • Dietetics student at Fantastic University
      • Dietetic intern and graduate candidate at University of the Best
      • Clinical Dietitian at Some Children’s Hospital
      • Assistant Professor of Nutrition at Adonis University
    • But, you may need to include other information if your title is nondescript
      • Director  (of what?)
      • Student (of what?)
      • Instructor (of what?)
      • Program Director (of what program?)

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Use these tips to communicate your professional confidence in a couple of seconds.  You will be amazed at the effect that small changes like this will have on your ability to network on LinkedIn.

 

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. 

Why Dietetic Students & Interns Should Become Addicted to LinkedIn

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If you are a dietetic student or intern and are not using your LinkedIn account regularly, then it is time to start. There are numerous benefits to using this unique media site. It may not be as entertaining as the other social media sites, but it is one of the best ways to learn about your profession online.

You need to develop your LI profile and start using LI daily to:

  1. linkedin-logoBuild Your Network

You’ve been told a million times that you should harness the power of networking. But, what does that really mean? 

Well, if you download the LinkedIn app to your phone, visit it often, and get active…then you will find out. The more you connect with those in your field, the easier it becomes to grow your career.

Connecting means more than just clicking the ‘invite’ and/or ‘accept’ buttons.

  • Read profiles
  • Write messages
  • Read articles and posts
  • Comment and share. 
  • Join groups. 
  • Find mentors and peers.
  • Reach out to individuals. 

You will know that you are networking well when you feel like you are not caught up in the web that is our field, but are part of it.

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2. Gain Exposure to the Field

Due to the diversity of the nutrition field, there is a lot of information coming from a lot of sources. By reading posts on LinkedIn, you will be able to start seeing patterns:

  • What topics, skills, and interests are important to the experts in the field?
  • The difference in the information provided from credible and non-credible sources in the field.
  • The perspectives, challenges, and victories experienced by those in the field.
  • The jobs and career pathways of those in the field.

There is a concentrated source of dietetic professionals on LinkedIn. It is almost silly to pass up the opportunity to learn from thousands and stick to the few that you have met in-person.

Once you gain enough exposure, you start to recognize that you are just one person in a huge web of people with common goals and interests.

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3. Gain Access to Resources

Many professionals in the field use LI to learn about resources available to them. Part of being a professional is to constantly grow and learn. By connecting with those in the field, you can create a network that reveals all sorts of resources.

These resources can include: relationships, information, products, courses, and opportunities to work, volunteer, and get involved.

Most posts will have links at the bottom that will tell you how to gain access to these resources. Without reading the posts on the home feed or the group discussion pages, you will not learn about these resources. BUT, others will.

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4. Learn About Opportunities

Mentors, advisors, and even companies that design products to help you…they all post on LI. They count on LI to be on media source in which they can reach out to you and offer their services.

Don’t be the person who did not know about the latest and greatest tool for your tool belt. S
tart getting busy on LI today!

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GROUP TO JOIN – Here is agroup thatis specifically designed for you: Dietetic & Nutrition Students & Interns. If you are not already a member, request to join today!

 

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CONNECTION TO MAKE – Also, if not already, feel free to reach out and connect with me, Dr. G. I love meeting future professionals in the field and I always want to hear how I can help you succeed.  I am connected to tens of thousands of professionals in the field. Connecting to me makes you one step from connecting to them.

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RESOURCES TO KNOW – DI Application Crash Course. I am getting ready to launch an online, self-paced course that provides insider tips and strategies to get you matched with a DI. Get an edge on the other applicants and make your application shine. Sign up here to get notified when the course is available and get an exclusive discount.

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