We asked some of our top graduates for their best tips about how to decide if a natural health career is right for you and if so, how to prepare for a rewarding career. All of the graduates agree it’s an exciting time to be working in nutrition.
See a nutritionist. This might seem like an obvious suggestion, but some students have never been to a nutritionist before they start their degree. “I was surprised at the scope of the role,” Nutritionist Jackie Morgan says. “Use the Wellnation Clinic – it’s an easy and cost-effective way to see what it’s like to work with clients. Seeing a nutritionist opened my eyes to the depth of the career,” she says.
Read. Nutritionist Gina Ulrich started to explore nutrition by reading everything she could get her hands on. Gina was working as a nurse and saw lots of patients with preventable diseases. “I wanted to make my family as healthy as it could be, so I started to read a lot about how food impacts health and wellbeing. It made me realise that I had to study it to get the knowledge I wanted and changed my career.”
Try what you’re learning. From making recipes to making big changes to your eating habits, putting theory into practice helps you to relate to others and their health journey. Jackie says, “You’ve got to be open to trying things out. I tried out different diets until I found one that didn’t feel restrictive. Now, I can share my experience. Endeavour is a safe space to learn about nutrition and about yourself and what you’d like to do.”
Work or volunteer your time in the industry. Jackie worked in a health food store while she was studying. “I highly recommend it. Every day, you can test out what you’re learning in class.” Nutritionist and public speaker Justyna Kalka is also an advocate for gaining experience early. “Volunteer or do some free stuff before you graduate,” she says. “Talk with your lecturers – many of them are also working in the industry and they often know about work opportunities.”
Follow your interests. Raw Karma owner Hayley Richards started creating raw desserts as a hobby while she studied, and it soon became a full-time business. “It evolved from my fascination with a plant-based diet and a curiosity to see if I could make indulgent raw food treats. I had no idea it’d take off as it did,” Hayley says. Fellow graduate Gina agrees. “Write down your hobbies and interests and align them with what you’re good at. You’ll soon find how you can use them to help others,” she says.
Find your tribe. After her own experience with polycystic ovaries, Gina finds her practice most rewarding when she’s helping other women with their reproductive health. “I shared a lot about myself and my journey and by doing this, I attracted other women with similar conditions. I can emphasise with what they’re going through and it’s so fulfilling to help them achieve positive results.”
Keep an open mind. “Give yourself time to try out new opportunities,” Justyna says. “Not everyone works in a clinic. There are many other careers available with a degree in nutrition.” Justyna started in a clinic but her career took off when she ventured into public speaking. “At the start, I said ‘yes’ to every opportunity linked with nutrition, without knowing where it would lead. It helped me create a successful career in corporate health.”
Be yourself. “You need to know what’s happening in your industry, but there’s no need to follow trends or modify yourself to suit other people’s needs,” Hayley says. “Be authentic and consistent, you’ll do well.” Hayley extends this advice to social media. “People will use social media to learn about you before engaging directly with you. Make sure everything you post represents you.”
Stick with it. Gina says the subjects she found the trickiest turned out to be the most useful in clinical practice. “It can be hard going, especially if you’re balancing work, study and family as I did. You need the perseverance to see it through, but it’s so rewarding when you do,” she says.
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