Job Interview Tips for the #FutureRDN

Today, more than half of RDNs have master's degrees. And, in today's competitive job environment, it can be difficult to stand out. Here are a few interview tips for soon-to-be RDNs, recent graduates and dietitians looking for a career change.

Measure Your Accomplishments

Your resume is the best place to show off everything you've done over the course of your education and career. Using numbers to describe your experience shows off your business chops. Include descriptions such as, "Managed a $500,000 foodservice budget for the largest school system in Georgia." Or, "Delivered three nutrition-focused presentations over six months to more than 150 hospital staff including physicians, nurses and occupational therapists." Be descriptive and measure your success.

Know What to Expect

When you land an interview, be sure to ask the hiring manager as many questions about the day of your interview as possible. Get directions on where to park and how to find the interview location. Ask for the names of who you'll be meeting with and if you need to bring anything specific with you. Some job interviews now include going out to eat with future coworkers, as well as writing and personality tests.

Dress for Success

Whether you're interviewing for a job at a small health department or a prestigious food company, professionalism is key. Keep your clothing simple and conservative with muted colors and minimal jewelry. Try your clothes on the week before the interview to ensure everything fits well. An interview for a nutrition position is not necessarily the best time to show off your new statement necklace or flashy heels. Instead, let your personality and work experience shine.

Do Your Research

Once you secure an interview, do some background research on the organization where you'll be interviewing and the people you expect to speak with that day. For example, if you're interviewing at a local hospital, find out what community the hospital typically serves and what health conditions are most prevalent in that county. And, be sure you're aware of the latest trends and issues in the dietetics industry. Find a way to weave in recent nutrition news. If you're interviewing for a clinical position, speak about the latest research article you read on fiber and tube feedings. If you're hoping to work in the food industry, discuss the top trends you noticed at last year's Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo™.

Bring a Prop

As a dietetics student or recent graduate, you've created materials, submitted research and delivered presentations. These materials make great talking points for an interview. If you have a piece of work to show off, such as a handout on gluten-free diets for patients, bring it with you to the interview and find a way to weave it into the conversation.

Google Yourself

Future employers often check candidates' social media profiles including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you have a blog or have written guest articles online, the hiring manager may ask you about them during the interview. Make sure your online presence is appropriate and professional.

Equipped with these tips, future RDNs can approach their next job interview confidently. Show off your passion for nutrition, and good luck!

Lindsay Arnett, MS, RD, LD
Lindsay Arnett, MS, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian and communications and pediatric nutrition professional in Boston. Connect with her on Twitter.