I’m happy to report that I have officially started my career earlier this month as a clinical dietitian at Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, TX, part of HCA Healthcare!
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?
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Tagged dietetic internship, dietitian, El Paso, employment, hiring dietitians, job finding tips, job search, network, nutrition, nutrition jobs, RD exam, RD job
It’s official: I have graduated from my internship! I apologize that it’s taken some time to update my blog, but I have good reason for the delay! Right after graduation I had to tie up a bunch of loose ends, pack up all my possessions, and drive across the country from Annapolis, MD to El Paso, TX.
Now that I am getting all settled in my new home, I am prepping for potential interviews and beginning to study for the RD exam. Any advice from RDs who recently took the exam is much appreciated!
All in all this internship was a great experience to enhance me personally and professionally. It exposed me to all different areas in dietetics. Although my short term goals might be more traditional (most likely a clinical inpatient or outpatient position), I plan to use my IT skills gained in my internship to maintain a website and social media platforms. Some of my long term goals include going back to school, community work, writing, and ideally some involvement in policy and legislation. Without the exposure from this particular internship, I am not sure I would be aware of all of my options!
Thank you for following my blog- although the internship is over, I will continue to provide updates until I am finally a Registered Dietitian!
It’s weird to think I only have a few rotations left in the remaining 3 months, mainly in foodservice. But right now…it’s officially CRUNCHTIME!!!
It seemed as though I was comfortably going through the first few months of the internship without a ton of outside work. Not going to lie- I thought the entire year would be this busy, so the fact that its busy getting close to the end is OK by me (I don’t mean to whine!) However for the past few weeks I have been very busy working on several homework assignments for my pediatric rotation, a nutrition education research paper for FSNE, an American Dietetic Association FNCE abstract, a Maryland Dietetic Association Annual Meeting abstract, portfolio milestones, my pediatric case study, preparations for another week at FSNE, answering emails from current students applying to the internship, and occasionally scouting for jobs in El Paso (my next destination in July). I’m managing it all ok, but it feels like I have so many things going on in regards to the internship alone, plus a ton of big changes in my personal life…
While this is all going on, I (somehow) managed to squeeze in time to get married earlier this month! Once I find any spare time to do the necessary steps, my name will officially be Christina Sielbeck Vimini. The timing wasn’t exactly ideal in the busiest part of the internship, but you gotta do what you gotta do 🙂 In fact, I even had a preceptor who said she had a baby during her internship!
Excited for tomorrow’s class day on job searching and resume building. Now…back to working on my case study featuring the Ketogenic Diet for management of epilepsy.
Happy New Year! I hope everyone has had a good start to 2011. Have you made any good resolutions?
With the New Year comes big news for me. On a personal note, I just became engaged! Ordinarily, this would be all fine and well, but this commitment will have a significant impact on my career. You see, my fiancé is in the Army and will be moving to El Paso, TX, in March. Therefore, I will be joining him once I graduate from my dietetic internship (University of Maryland, College Park) at the end of June. I assume that after a few years we will have to move to another place, as well. Luckily I grew up in a military home (Coast Guard, baby) so it won’t be totally new. Plus I will get the opportunity to experience different jobs in dietetics and see how the profession differs in various geographic regions in the United States.
My Future Home in far West Texas...no, not Juarez!
I love the DC-metro area and all it offers to young professionals. Maybe someday I will be able to return to Maryland! However, I looked into the El Paso area a bit and it seems like a pretty large city with several hospitals, including a VA- I had the fortune of spending time at the Baltimore VA earlier in my internship- see here and here. Also, with it’s extremely close proximity to Mexico (Ciudad Juarez just over a fence) there is a large Mexican/Hispanic population as well. I better start recalling my three years of high school Spanish…or maybe ask for Rosetta Stone for graduation! I am excited to see what the future holds.