Whether you are a first-year nutrition student or applying for the next round of DICAS, it is always good to brainstorm how to make your current or future work experiences fit into your DICAS resume.
What do we mean by "fit" on your DICAS Resume?
When applying for dietetic internships, an application called Dietetic Inclusive Centralized Application Services is used and has multiple components. One of them is your resume. What many dietetic internship (DI) directors look for are specific characteristics that make you stand out. We hope that after reading this you have a general idea of how to select the right characteristics from your current/past experiences or set intentions for future ones.
Important general characteristics
Leadership, communication, proactiveness, and adaptability are just a handful of things that DI directors look for (for a comprehensive list, check out our previous podcast episodes where we interviewed 15+ different DI directors and asked them what they look for in applicants). A good way to know how to stand out is by thinking of what characteristics an excellent and current dietetic intern would have.
There was a study done in 2014 that specifically identifies attributes of successful dietetic interns. You can access the article here. This is a great starting point to see how you can apply your current and past experiences to a successful dietetic intern.
They must adapt quickly to new rotations, be proactive with problem-solving, and communicate effectively with preceptors and patients. It is great to get a general idea of what a dietetic intern does so you can see what similarities you can pull from your current and past experiences (volunteer or paid).
The two most common work/volunteer experiences that prospective interns are recommended to gain exposure to are in food service and hospital settings. These two experiences help you cultivate the skills a dietetic intern needs directly. Whether you are a server, cook, a front desk receptionist at a clinic, the list goes on. These positions require effective leadership, communication, proactiveness, adaptability, etc just from the nature of the roles themselves.
If you don't have any food service or hospital experience, don't fret! Any experience is a good experience especially if you tailor the right components of it to your advantage. In this situation, it is good to focus on transferrable/soft skills rather than hard technical skills acquired from food service or hospital positions. For example, leadership, communication, proactiveness, and adaptability all don't need to come from a dietetic-related work experience. They can come from retail, tutoring, research assistant, community service, or being a member of a club. And these are just a few examples!
It's okay to brag!
One thing we cannot emphasize enough is don't be afraid to list your accomplishments! An application as comprehensive and impactful as DICAS should not be taken lightly and the same goes for the hard work you have done to get there. This doesn't mean fluffing your resume to try and sell yourself to the directors. It is important to be direct, concise, and impactful with each experience you add to your resume.
Whether you have worked four years as a dietary aid or one year as a front desk assistant at a gym, your work, and volunteer experiences, can be tailored to appeal to that DICAS application.
Want more free resources, guidance, or professional development? Check out our FREE resources below!
Smythe, Jamie A., et al. “Personal Attributes of Successful Interns as Perceived by Dietetic Internship Directors and Preceptors from Varying Generations.” The Open Nutrition Journal, vol. 9, no. 1, 2015, pp. 28–34., https://doi.org/10.2174/1876396001509010028.