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practice applications
Revamping Your Resume for Your Specialty
or many experienced registered
dietitians (RDs) who are inter-
ested in seeking a new position
after several years in the same job,
reviewing and updating the resume is
one of the first steps necessary in se-
curing different employment. But one
resume does not fit all. This article
offers tips and suggestions on how to
weave your specialized areas of prac-
tice into your resume and make sure
it is tailored to fit your career path.
The American Dietetic Association
offers several resources for those pur-
suing new employment, including net-
working opportunities on the local and
national level, ADACareerLink, and
Job Descriptions: Models for Careers in
Dietetics, now in its second edition and
full of job description models for RDs
in clinical, business and consultation,
research, management, and public
health. Also, see “Getting that First
Job: Search and Resume Tips” from the
September 2006 issue of the Journal
for sample resumes for a first-time job
seeker and an RD with management-
level experience. Experts interviewed
for this article stress the importance of
using such resources in addition to per-
fecting the resume. However, the re-
sume is often what gets an applicant’s
foot in the door.
“Many people still get caught in the
trap of writing one resume and sending
the same one out to all potential em-
ployers,” says Susan Laramee, MS, RD,
LDN, FADA, manager of clinical re-
cruitment for Sodexo, Inc (Gaithers-
burg, MD). “Many resumes are very ge-
neric. If you don’t address the skills the
hiring manager is seeking, it is un-
likely that you will be invited for an
Laramee finds the traditional prac-
tice of listing an objective to be unnec-
essary but does believe it’s important
that credentials and contact informa-
tion are at the top of the resume and
easy to spot. Because many jobs now
require applicants to apply online,
Laramee says it is key to make sure
your e-mail address is accurate and is
hyperlinked, providing for easy use.
Some of the stronger resumes
Laramee has seen when recruiting for
management positions have been
those that have a bulleted summary
of skills at the top of a resume, for
example, “In-depth comprehension of
principles of nutrition,” “Demon-
strated capability in customer ser-
vice,” and “Flexibility to work alone or
as a team member” (see Figure 1).
“Job candidates should use strong
verbs like generate, implement, en-
hance, and improve,” says Laramee.
In addition to action verbs, specificity
in language is also necessary, espe-
cially when tailoring your resume as all
mid-career RD should do, say those in-
terviewed for this article. Mary Jane
Rogalski, MBA, RD, LDN, manager
of clinical nutrition at Baystate
Medical Center in Springfield, MA,
and the chair of the Clinical Nutri-
tion Management dietetic practice
group, looks for details that paint a
clear picture of an RD’s previous
“Words like, assessed patient needs
won’t do much to describe the type of
patient or the type of facility,” says Ro-
galski. “In a clinical resume, I expect to
see words that describe involvement
with high nutrition risk patients, like
percentage tube feeding or percentage
total parenteral nutrition. There needs
to be a heavier emphasis on diagnostic
skills” (see Figure 1). Clinicians in the
inpatient environment should specify
whether they have worked in a trauma
center, teaching hospital, or commu-
nity hospital as the level of patient nu-
trition acuity will vary by the type of
institution, says Rogalski. And clini-
cians in the outpatient environment
would be wise to include specific coun-
seling skills, such as motivational in-
terviewing, when working with clients
outside the hospital environment.
Of course, specificity is not limited to
clinical dietitians’ resumes. Public health
and community dietitians would want
to provide specific demographics about
the communities they have served
in the past along with measurable
achievements in those communities. A
public health nutritionist would also
want to include his or her knowledge
and experience with population-based
nutrition interventions, community or-
ganizing and mobilizing, breastfeeding
education and promotion, and familiar-
ity with government-sponsored pro-
grams such as WIC (Special Supple-
mental Nutrition Program for Women,
Infants, and Children). An RD working
in a school environment would need to
list experience and familiarity with fed-
eral and state nutrition standards such
as those set by the National School
Lunch Program. School-based dieti-
tians would also need to address po-
tential responsibilities including par-
ticipating in quality initiatives and
gathering and analyzing data to evalu-
ate and improve outcomes, developing
and coordinating the efforts of the food-
service staff in order to promote nutri-
tion and healthy eating, and analyzing
menus and recipes for nutritional ade-
quacy. An RD working with informa-
tion technology and developing health
technologies would want to showcase
his or her experience working with
data management systems or knowl-
edge of laws and regulations protecting
health data security and privacy (Fig-
ure 2).
This article was written by
Jennifer Mathieu, a freelance
writer in Houston, TX. Mathieu is
a former editorial assistant for
the Journal and has journalism
degree from Northwestern
University. Mathieu’s writing has
appeared in The Washington
Post, Houston Chronicle, Miami
Herald, The Kansas City Star,
and several other publications.
While reporting for the Houston
Press, she received awards from
the Association of Alternative
Newsweeklies, the Dallas Press
Club, the State Bar of Texas, and
the Gay & Lesbian Alliance
Against Defamation.
doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2010.01.004
© 2010 by the American Dietetic Association Journal of the AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION 353
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