I moved down here early August and my main priority was preparing for the RD exam- but I still devoted quite a bit of time to job searching too. There did not seem to be many RD jobs in the area; while El Paso is a large city, it is pretty isolated. There’s not really any nearby towns or counties to look for a job, unlike where I used to live outside of Washington, DC.
Luckily, after about two months of active searching, I was offered a position at Del Sol, which has been fantastic. I’m on a team with four other dietitians for the 350-bed hospital. For now, I am overseeing telemetry (cardiac, mostly) and part of the surgical unit. I’m thankful to have great coworkers who have been so helpful in training me!
Finding a job took time and energy, but it is possible! Here are some tips I found helpful:
- Utilize job search engines– Indeed is my favorite, and it’s how I found my current job! Consider nutritionjobs.com, CareerBuilder, DietianCentral, and foodandnutritionjobs.com. I’m sure there are a ton more out there, but these helped me. On some, you can even sign up for job alerts in your area.
- Network!! I joined my local dietetic association, El Paso Dietetic Association, and brought my contact info. When I made a connection I followed up with them shortly after. Making a good impression to someone, who can pass on your name, could really come in handy. Plus I met a ton of nice RDs in the area!
- Do your research. Look up hospitals, community nutrition centers, and other places that employ RDs and search their websites for any job vacancies, or just contact them directly. You never know! Make sure to check government job listings for positions such as WIC dietitians or nutrition educators.
- Consider telecommuting. Because I am pretty isolated, I opened myself up to an online position, such as a social networking manager, web content contributor, blogger, etc. Craig’s List is surprisingly useful for this kind of job, as well as the LinkedIn job search; however I didn’t always see these types of jobs on the traditional job search engines.
- Put yourself out there. True story: a communications professional from a healthcare company on the other side of the country found THIS blog. He then contacted me to potentially blog for their company! I’ve also networked with RDs and healthcare professionals via Twitter, including an El Paso RD who invited me to join the El Paso Dietetic Association.
- Use your resources. Ask your contacts if they know anyone in the city you plan to work, and if they can pass on your name and contact information. Because I did my internship in the DC and Baltimore areas, I made a TON of contacts that may have been helpful in finding a job. Moving across the country? Not so helpful…
- Use ADA (Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics). Dietetic Practice Groups (found on eatright.org) and their listserves can seriously come in handy. One of the other dietetic interns in my group knew I was moving to El Paso, and she received an email over the listserve advertising for a job out here. She forwarded it to me, and although it didn’t turn out to be a job I was qualified for, I still made a contact with that person and kept in touch.
- Don’t give up! I applied to jobs I wasn’t necessarily qualified for or didn’t think I stood a chance of getting. I know I was turned down for one job because I didn’t speak Spanish, but it was still good practice, and I established more contacts.
**Also: if you are a new RD, don’t be discouraged by older RDs with masters degrees, etc. Market yourself as enthusiastic, easily trained, and equipped with the latest nutritional knowledge. Plus, you’re probably a lot cheaper to hire than a more decorated RD, so chin up!
It may not be a fun process, but when you land a job, it feels so great! Does anyone else have any job-finding tips they’d like to share?