One of the most challenging aspects of becoming an RD is getting matched to a dietetic internship. With the match rate hovering around 50% each year, the competition is fierce. Internship directors consider more than just your grades when they are looking at your application. And although each internship has their own requirements, students with relevant work and/or volunteer experience in food service or nutrition related field have a higher chance of matching to an internship.
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So what can you do this summer to improve your resume? Here are some ways you can gain experience.
According to a Deloitte study, 82% of hiring managers surveyed said they prefer applicants with volunteer experience, and 92% say volunteer activities builds leadership skills. The same applies to DI directors. Volunteering your time in an area that you are passionate about shows DI directors that you are self-motivated, dedicated, and responsible.
There are four broad categories to a dietetics internship, including clinical, community, food service, and elective. If the internships you are interested in are clinically focused, volunteer in clinical settings. If they are community, find community opportunities. But remember that experience can be applicable in many different ways so focus on opportunities that interest you.
Have you thought about volunteering for the American Diabetes Association? Or the Jimmy Fund? Use VolunteerMatch.org to find other volunteer opportunities that will help your resume stand-out.
GET A SUMMER INTERNSHIP
Spending the summer months atan internship is a great way to get experience. A summer internship can also help you get a better understanding of what you are interested in. Use online websites like internships.com or indeed.com to find internships that are available. Another great way to find an internship is to network with RDs that might need a little help over the summer.
EARN A SPECIALTY CERTIFICATION
Adding a specialty certification to your resume may not only help you get matched but it may also help you land a job faster. Certifications confirm your knowledge and skills in a specific area of practice. There are specialty certifications that you can earn over the summer. If you’re passionate about physical fitness, weight management, yoga, or a specialty area in nutrition, research the different certifications that are available. When looking for a certification, you should look for a validated and reliable certification examination, and organizations that are credible.
Here’s a list of just a few of the specialty certifications out there that would enhance your resume:
- American Fitness Professionals & Associations – Fitness, nutrition, and specialty certifications
- American Council on Exercise – Fitness certifications, Weight Management Certifications, Health Coach
- Wellness Council of America – Workplace Wellness Certifications
- American College of Sports Medicine – Personal Trainer, Fitness and specialty certifications
EDIT YOUR RESUME
Perhaps you have a lot of experience or are working this summer, make sure your experiences are communicated well by spending your extra free time editing and revising your resume. If you have a mentor, ask them to look over your resume and provide you with feedback. Would they hire you based off your resume? Would they call you for an interview? Ask them for their honest feedback. You can also use the Get Matched Program, which offers a resume template, resume strategies, resume rubric, resume checklist, and resume samples.
Getting matched to an internship may seem overwhelming and impossible but there are many ways of obtaining quality dietetics experiences. Taking the time to build a strong resume as a student will allow you to enter the internship application process with more confidence.