RDs on Facebook LIVE Tonight

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Log into Facebook tonight to chat with Rebecca and I! We are taking questions in advance so if you have anything burning please comment below. Otherwise, join us LIVE tonight, ask your questions and have them answered on the spot.

We’re so excited to connect with you!

XOX

 

Overwhelmed by the thought of job hunting? Here’s how I tackled it.

I’ve written about job and program applications over and over, so here are a few you should check out before you dive into this one:

Resume Tips

How Being Human Should Come Out on Your Resume – Part 1

How Being Human Should Come Out on Your Resume – Part 2

Does it Feel Out of Reach? Then Stretch.

So, if you’re fresh out of school, or an old job, and are totally overwhelmed by the thought of diving into job hunting, you are not alone. That shit is exhausting. Whenever I have a break from it for a while (you know, those precious moments in time where you are employed and aren’t eating Cheetos crying over where your next rent payment will come from) I never know quite how to step back into it. I almost have to orient myself to the process again. So if that’s how you’re feeling, you are in the right place! Since I’ve been on a roll with job applications (at the time of writing this), I’m going to share my process with you. This is what I’ve done to stay sane and on task. It could be completelyyyy opposite what you’ve done or what works for you, in which case, continue. You do you.

Steps:

  1. Make a folder for each application in google drive. I then created the following google docs:
    • The Job Posting + Research
    • My Drafted Cover Letter
    • My Resume
    • Q&A – Questions I have for them about the job and “answers” that come to me that could be helpful if they were to interview me.
  2. I used the comment feature to comment on the job description with examples of how I’ve met the criteria. Don’t waste time wording this properly or anything – just start to jog your own memory about what you’ve done that overlap with what they want. Screen Shot 2019-10-25 at 8.18.05 PM
  3. Consider the parts of the job that don’t as naturally suit your experiences and skills. Think hard about them. Ask yourself, “What skills have I used in other jobs that would be helpful if I were to do X?”. Think outside the box a little and think about any possible common ground between the task listed and the experiences you’ve had. Sometimes you have to stretch and bend to make things work – don’t be afraid to do that.
  4. Research the friggen company. Guys, I shouldn’t even have to say it if you’ve gotten this far and are a nutrition professional, but read the company’s mission and vision and familiarize yourself with the work they’ve been doing the past year or so. Doing this will not only help you see commonalities between yourself and the company but will make you seem informed, prepared and INTERESTED in a potential interview.
  5. On paper, I write a list of things I’d love to highlight in my application if I could. I ask myself, “Why am I a good candidate?” and I jot down all my reasons/related experiences. Don’t worry about how big this list gets – you won’t be including all of it but it’s important to do this activity to make sure you don’t forget about something amazing you did a million years ago that is worth mentioning.
  6. Pick 3 things from that list, or make 3 categories from that list. These could be categories of skills, or categories of experiences. These ‘3 things’ become paragraphs. I.e. In one scenario I could choose to discuss my skills in communication, leadership, and partnership, and speak to various job experiences and examples where I’ve demonstrated those lately. In another scenario, I might want to discuss 3 recent experiences that are super related to the job I’m applying to, and speak about my skills within those. I never quite know what approach I prefer.
  7. The structure of your letter is coming along now. On a separate paper (I’m an old-school paper person, can you tell? ;)) I write Intro, P1, P2, P3 and Conclusion down the left-hand side. On the right, I jot the points I really want to make in each paragraph. Doing this keeps you on track and makes sure you won’t accidentally ramble on about something only partially helpful.IMG_7684.jpg
  8. It’s hard to part from everything else on your list in step 5 isn’t it? Don’t worry – now is your chance to pull from that again! I have a ‘highlight of qualifications’ section on the top of my CV. If you do as well, here is your chance to stick in some of those relevant pieces that didn’t quite make the cut in the letter. The dilemma: What if people scan your resume and don’t read the letter? I’m unsure. I keep this in mind even more-so when I’m applying to a company through their HR department, but for smaller-scale organizations, I have a little more faith they’ll take a closer look. (Wishful thinking perhaps?)
  9. Go back to the job description and now highlight every adjective. Notice the language used. The job description might say, “Must be willing to work collaboratively with various stakeholders” and your resume might say, “worked with people in various departments to XYZ..” Change it. Mirror the language as much as you can.
  10. Label your application with your name and what you are applying to. If an employer receives an attachment that says ‘Good Job Application FINAL’, that’s just awkward. Even if you label it with the job title itself, though that’s better, it could get lost in the 50 other applicants who called theirs the same thing.

Well that’s all my rambling for now. If you have any questions please do get in touch. In the meantime, happy hunting!

XOX

My TOP 10 Starving-student-money-savers

In all seriousness all my life I’ve been pinching pennies. Financial stability has always been a dream, and just not in the mix for my mixed up family. At the time of writing this, I am on the cusp of breaking out of that, but for the time being I’m still pretty stuck in it so I thought I’d share some of the wisdom I’ve acquired. (When you make penny-pinching sound wisdom-ess it’s less painful, right? ;))

These are my tips & tricks for money saving on the journey to RD. The good, the bad, and the ugly, but 100% honest.

  1. Shopped at No Frills. No frills, no BS, no brand name, no fancy shit – just food. That’s all I ever needed – just food. I mean, I was tempted to shop with sunglasses on because that gawd-awful yellow is friggin’ BLINDING, but it was worth it to save tonnnns of money on food.
  2. Shopped the ‘Naturally Imperfect’ produce. This was readily available at No Frills but I know many grocery chains are jumping on board the imperfect produce train. And why not?! It tastes the same, costs a FRACTION of the price, and helps save the world, so like win-win-win, right?twinsfisch-uSPjZzYwXO4-unsplash
  3. Ate lots of beans. Beans are a much cheaper protein than most meats so I started playing with them in new recipes and ended up with much smaller grocery bills. Great tip: When I would make pulled pork I’d mix cooked red lentils in with the BBQ sauce. Cooked red lentils go down practically to mush so when I mixed it in with the meat and the sauce the overall texture of pulled pork wasn’t very compromised, it literally tasted NO different, and it gave me about twice the portion.
  4. Used a friend’s Netflix. Those who actually pay for Netflix are angels. Especially since the price got jacked up – thanks pals.
  5. Walked everywhere. I mean this was in part because I didn’t have a car, but I also skipped out on public transit a fair bit. Long story short if it was a 30 minute walk or less (and like a 2 second ride), I was walking. (Even with armloads of stuff in crazy heat…)IMG-8043
  6. Traveled only with carry-ons and wore a ridiculous # of layers in airports. Do I have any friends fans out there?
  7. Used Uber pool. Never have I ever had a bad encounter with a fellow pool-er. Even the non-chatty ones would give you a little half sided smile like, ‘Hey man, so you’re poor as shit too? Cool.’
  8. Went to events with free food, just for the food. _efpUkvS_400x400
  9. Got GF bread coupons
  10. Never bought coffee out. Ever. This is true even to this day. If you ever see me with a store bought coffee in my hands know that is out of PURE desperation and you should probably steer clear of me because I am likely to crumble at any moment.

 

Unemployed Life

Unemployed life. The bright side: sleeping in, staying out, and eating whatever whenever (no meal prep – woo!).  The dark side: Hardly being able to sleep from financial stress, avoiding friends in order to avoid bar tabs, and eating half-assed scrappy things because you can’t afford shit.

I’ve flipped and flopped into both sides. For many, this period comes right after grad – so if that’s you, stay chill – we’ve all been there! For me, it happened in between my first and second job. That must be easier because I would have saved money from the first job right? Mm nope. It was a part-time job so saving wasn’t really an option.

Let me take you on my unemployment journey, to shed some light on the dark side and talk about what most of us don’t – financial struggle and distress.

Firstly, Applying for jobs is a full-time job.

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A colleague of mine said this to me once and I kind of chuckled, half agreeing, and half thinking, “yeah, that’s cute”. Real talk: That is true AF. Most of my time ‘off’ (2 months) was spent in front of my computer. Scanning job ads every single day, searching out hiring managers and associates on LinkedIn, prioritizing applications based on their due date, and constantly re-wording EVERY SINGLE WORD of my resumes and cover letters to try to fit the mold created by a job description. That shit is exhausting. It took way more time than I imagined.

The time flew by.

Likely due to the point above, it did not at all feel like I had so much time off. I expected to be bored and stir crazy but somehow I kept busy – a happy busy as in I always had something to work on but could also ditch it and do fun stuff [almost] whenever I wanted to without guilt. So don’t assume time will drag on if you’re in this boat – still treat your time preciously and make space for what matters.

I needed creative ways to save money.

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The first time I wrote the sentence above it accidently said “I needed creative ways to spend money”. LOL what a joke. Anyhow, pinching pennies was nothing new to me after being a student for so long, but I actually came up with a couple new tricks.

  1. Buy bags of wine instead of bottles. Seriously, you can save over a bottle of wine by doing this! As in, by buying a bag you get a free bottle! HELLO.
  2. Instead of buying a new nightstand, a suitcase will do. LOL. To be honest, that suitcase still remains. It does pretty good at being a place to toss my phone, nasal spray (aren’t I the coolest?) and lipsticks. In all seriousness though, when you think you ‘need’ something before jumping the gun, sit back and ask yourself if you reeeally do, or if you could jimmy-rig something for it for a while.

Want to hear my other tips and tricks for money-saving I’ve built up over the years? There’s so many I made a whole other blog post about it – stay tuned!

The End was super hard.

I hardly had any money the entire time but of course there came a day when it was non-existent. When this has happened to me in the past I’ve ended up on my face. Thankfully I had my partner here to help pull my weight this time. Such a lifesaver. As happy as I was that he kept a roof over my head and food in my belly, mooching off of somebody (partner or not) still sucks. I racked up a ‘bill’ with him (my words, not his) that is still quite high so the truth is I feel that burden all the time (again, by no fault of his). Feeling like you owe somebody something just sucks doesn’t it? I mean, we all want to be strong independent women [or men] right? I was constantly tossing back and forth with emotions of gratitude and of helplessness.

In sum, I felt all the feels.

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Lucky, content, well-slept, energized, free, carefree, confident – worried, stressed, sleepless, helpless, defeated, exhausted, crappy. It really was a rollercoaster so if you find yourself in the same boat know that you aren’t alone in that.

My Advice

Chin up. Keep truckin’! Trust in the process knowing that this is all a part of the journey and we all have to sit through it at some point or another. If you aren’t getting call backs it’s likely because this field is COMPETETIVE and not because you’re shitty. So knock off with that self-talk and show yourself some love.

Let yourself sleep in if you want to, eat ice cream out of the tub with a spoon if you want to, but also stick with it and take every job posting and application seriously. Keep pouring that time in knowing that it will pay off someday.

Just hang in there.

 

XOX

Why hello there!

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Hi, it’s me! I’m a stranger, I know. My original plan was to have blog posts on hold until mid August… hello mid(ish) October. Woah! I never did intend to have it be this long but life happens. The blog often crossed my mind and that negative self-talk crept in from time to time..

“I’m not productive enough”

“I overcommitted”

“I’m letting people down”

etc, etc. You know the feeling I’m sure. But I’m happy to say that I let those feelings come and go and for the most part did not hold my absence against me, and I hope you didn’t either.

Did you know life can get BUSIER than it is when you’re a student? Hell, I didn’t. It’s a beautiful kind of busy though. At the time of writing this I am a part-time professor at Acadia University (again, yay!), I’ve accepted a promotion and will be moving into the role of Registered Dietitian, Program Development Coordinator at Nourish Nova Scotia tomorrow, I’m the lead advocate in Nova Scotia for Diabetes Canada’s Diabetes 360 Strategy, and I’ve been taking on community nutrition presentations here and there. Woah!

But as I’ve said before, this is not a space where I intend to blab and brag about myself, but I just felt like I owed you an explanation for my absence. I can’t say I’m back on my regular schedule, posting every Sunday, quite yet, but I can say that I have some posts in my back pocket that will be rolling out, some guest writers that are working on awesome shit, and a couple innovative ideas moving forward. 

Bare with me and as always feel free to reach out if you have any personal inquires. Reach out through our Facebook or Instagram pages.

& for now, check out my latest post here

XOX

Blog Posts on Hold

Hello all! Coming at you with a PSA today.

We’ve decided to hit ‘pause’ on our blogging just for a short time since it is sort of the off-season.

Summer is here (happy first day by the way!), people are on vacation, students are out of school, interns are finishing up, etc. etc. So we’ve decided to focus our energy on building our database of content to be launched in the upcoming year, on partnering with more guest bloggers, and on highlighting some great summer reads that have already been published and have probably (understandably) fallen off your radar. Let’s show them some love again! Be sure to pop by the post directory to see what might pique your interest and follow/like us on Facebook and Instagram, because we will still be active on there highlighting old posts of ours and relevant content from other bloggers/partners. Also, if you have a career-related story to share or words of wisdom or experience that others could benefit from hearing about (duh, of course you do!) get in touch!! We are always recruiting guest bloggers, but if blogging is not your thing then don’t worry! Pitch your idea to me and I can do all the work! I’ll just bounce it back to you a few times for feedback/ to make sure the post is all you dreamed it would be! 😉

I’ll also give you a little update on what I’ve been up to, because I’ve sort of kept you out of the loop. I’ve done so intentionally in part because the purpose of this blog is not to broadcast all of my successes/activity and that is not at all the vibe I want it to have. BUT I do want you to feel personally connected to myself and the guest bloggers so I suppose it only makes sense to keep you in the loop at least a little :). Here it goes:

This past Winter I taught a course at the university I did my undergrad at, Acadia University, and LOVED it! I’ve been hesitant to post much about it because, you know, that personal-professional line is a controversial one to cross – but I’m working on it! I then had a period of unemployment for a couple months (blah!) which I am also developing posts about because the struggle is REAL. Then I found out that I passed the CDRE which marks the FINAL step in my journey to becoming a full-blown dietitian. Phew! Around the same time, I stepped into a communications and program development assistance role at a non-profit organization that I interned with: Nourish Nova Scotia. There I will certainly be putting all of my communications skills learned at Ryerson University’s Master of Health Science Nutrition Communication Program to use and developing some advocacy skills as well. SO pumped! I will also be doing some volunteer advocacy work over the Summer/Fall for Diabetes Canada to ask for federal funding for improved diabetes care. The campaign is called Diabetes 360 Strategy so if you’d like to learn more about it/get involved/ develop your own advocacy skills/ make some noise and change the world/ get volunteer hours/ do some networking/ add killer experience to your resume, get in touch and I can make that happen! 

That’s all for now guys. Don’t forget to stay connected on Facebook and Instagram! Chat soon!

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XOX

How I Prepped for Internship App Season Over the Summer

I get this question a lot: When should I start my applications for dietetic internships? My answer is the Summer before you intend to apply! Most people’s faces drop at this point because who wants to spend time over the Summer cooped up inside working outside of work hours? Don’t shut me out just yet – I’m not really saying you should get a hard start on your applications over the Summer, I’m just saying you should use the spare time to your advantage to get thinking about the whole process and make some preliminary decisions. Some of these include the type of programs of interest, how many programs you’d like to apply to, whether a move could be in your future, and lastly of course, to explore your options, learn more about the programs and begin to narrow down which are of interest. So don’t panic, you don’t need to revamp your resume and pour hours into writing cover letters just yet!

A reminder that this is the strategy that worked well for me and of course may not work for everybody! You do you. 

Decision 1: Internship vs. Internship + Masters?

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This might be a no-brainer for some people, because a masters degree is not required to be a dietitian, and may not be of interest to everybody. Fair enough! I suggest just putting some thought into what works for you. Consider the time it takes to complete (not all that longer than a traditional internship in some cases!), the money it will require, and the outcomes that could benefit you.

Decision 2: How Many Programs Will You Apply To?

That’s a big question: How many applications are you going to slave over for the next 6+ months? This will depend on what your options are first of course. At the time that I applied, it went like this: I could apply for three programs through Dietitians of Canada, plus one program through my school, plus as many masters programs as I wanted (no limit). *Note: Some undergraduate programs have an internship program that is exclusive only to students of their university. These are of course less competitive but have their pros and cons as do all other programs, so make sure you do your homework to see if there is one available to you. 

Of course, the more programs you apply to the higher your chances of securing something, but is it worth applying to a million and half-assing it? This is something I’ve seen students struggle with and totally did myself too.

Considerations when making this decision are Time and Money. Consider how much time you are going to spend on each application and how you will balance that with the other responsibilities you have ongoing at that time. Time spent on each application varies significantly per person so that makes this consideration a little more difficult, but I will say it is not a quick process and will take you longer than you think. 

Remember that there is a fee associated with most, if not all, applications you will submit so if you apply to several you can rack up that bill pretty quick. When I applied, application fees varied from $25 to $150 each – quite a big range so make sure you check them out!

Decision 3: Where to Apply – Is a Move a Possibility?

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This may also be a no brainer for you depending on your scenario, but if not, give some thought as to whether you are able to travel for your internship. Again, this could be a way to bump up your chances of getting something, because if you limit yourself to one province/area than your options are much fewer. However, a move can totally flip your life upside down, so make sure you don’t take that lightly. For me, I applied to programs in 3 provinces and ended up making a move to pursue one I was offered. I don’t regret the decision at all, but admittedly I put very little thought into the actual move before applying. What I mean is I was so mesmerized by the program itself that I never even considered where I’d have to go to do it, I just needed to do it! Is that a bad thing? Hard to say, hear more of my thoughts on the experience here.

Dedicate Time to Learn About Each One

Here’s the big piece – actually learning about each program to consider which you will apply to. After you make the 3 decisions above, you should have your list narrowed a little bit, and now you’re in a great place to dive deeper into your options. Here’s where you can find info about each program:

Program Brochure + Website

This was my first stop. On the Dietitians of Canada webpage, they have a link to the program brochure of each program here: https://www.pdep.ca/accreditation/accredited-program-list.aspx. These are kind of a quick-and-dirty about each program. You’ll get a sense of the focus (i.e. clinical focused vs. foodservice focused) and details about the length of program and start dates.

Program Video

This is a new feature since I applied actually! On the Dietitians of Canada page, at the time of writing this, some programs have put together a little video to introduce some staff and chat more about their interns’ experiences. 

Recent Graduates

If you know people who’ve completed some of these programs it is absolutely a good idea to reach out to them! You can deff learn some behind-the-scenes type info about the work culture and lived experiences in programs this way. For more advice on navigating these conversations and leveraging this resource check out previous posts here:

Seeking Advice From Past Interns – Part 1

Seeking Advice From Past Interns – Part 2

Take Breaks

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I think this is a super important point to make here. Learning about your options is exciting, but could also be stressful, and is most definitely time-consuming. That’s in part why I loved starting in the Summer because I knew I wasn’t on a huge time crunch to get this done so I could do it more leisurely. My advice is just the same as you would while studying, schedule in some breaks for yourself. It is easy to feel overwhelmed, especially in the beginning, but take your time, get some sun, and take small steps. I personally took it one program at a time, reading up on and considering one program for a day or two and then moving onto another later. I didn’t look at my list of candidates and try to cram them all in on one Thursday evening, and I hope you don’t either.

Listen to Your Gut

Sounds like a funny piece of advice but seriously, take notice to your innate reactions to the programs you’re reading about. I easily pinpointed my dream program by the excitement in my stomach when I read the brochure, how the words just lept off the page at me and screamed ‘WE MADE THIS PROGRAM FOR YOU’, and by how much I couldn’t stop thinking about it afterward. This reaction made it pretty obvious but it isn’t always that easy to decide. Something else more subtle you might want to think about is this: What are your reactions when telling somebody else about the programs you’re considering? Which ones make your face light up and your tone change? These are things you might be able to pick up on yourself but you could also ask the respondent what they think. Chances are if you say, “So mom, what do you think I should go for?”, she’s going to comment on what you sounded the most excited about. It works the other way too. When I was deeper into working on my applications and found myself procrastinating one in particular, sort of dreading it, and feeling lost when trying to imagine myself in it, then I realized I didn’t really care about that one as much as I initially thought. Taking notice of reactions like this will help you prioritize your time and spend it more effectively.

In Summary…

If you do have some time of the summer to start considering some of the factors and making preliminary decisions about your application process, I recommend it! This strategy helped alleviate stress for me in the beginning so I didn’t step into the process completely overwhelmed, on a time crunch, and unsure of my priorities. Trust me when I say you will feel much more relaxed and confident when the time comes to dive into those apps when you’ve done the research and know what you want.

For more info on next steps like considering references, resume building, and keeping things straight, check out the Internship Application Help section in our post directory here.

In the meantime, happy reading and happy Summer!

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XOX