By RDBA Executive Director, Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Scenario #1: Your retailer has gradually been adding store dietitians, and the team is now big enough for a Manager/Director.
Scenario #2: You’ve been in your role five to seven years and are looking for expanded opportunities within your position and the company.
Has either of the above situations happened to you? More and more retail RDNs are in the position of pitching a new position to their management or leadership team. The following tips can help you effectively pitch a promotion, stretch position, or expanded responsibilities within your company.
Do your Homework.
While you may think the best way to get a promotion or pitch a new position is to tout your strengths, this is only part of the story. Smart businesses don’t promote employees to help their employees; they do it to help the company. Have a clear sense of how the new position or you in a higher level position benefit your company, division and/or department. Understand your corporate organizational structure, pay grades and titles, and identify where the position would fit within all of them. If there isn’t a job description in place for this position, write one. Determine if other retailers have similar positions, and if so, how the position works at that company. The key is to pull together all the information necessary to demonstrate that the position is valuable to the company and that you’re the best person to fill a gap that currently exists.
While the tendency may be to verbally indicate why a new position or promotion makes sense, treat your pitch like a business proposal. Document all the details of how the position will benefit the company and why it is needed. List your skills, abilities, experiences and competencies as they relate to the new position – not as an indication of what you’ve done in the past. Match your specific strengths to the job description for the position you’ve written. Because it may be a concern to your manager or other company leaders, your proposal must include information on how your current responsibilities will be managed.
Make the Pitch.
Set up time to present the proposal to your boss. Stress how much you enjoy working for the company and that you want to continue to grow your career within it. Showcase how you’ve demonstrated value and loyalty to the company. The move into a presentation of your proposal, showing results the company can expect if you are given the position or promotion. Consider, too, if there are other leaders in the company with whom you should discuss your proposal. They may be able to strengthen it before you present it to your manager or they may be able to influence the decision for the change to be made.
Establish Timing and Action.
Too often, RDNs feel they are getting a bit of a brush off from management about new positions and promotions. It’s likely that your manager will need to talk with her leaders and human resources in regards to your request. Your manager may also have additional questions or need further information. Gather this initial feedback in your pitch meeting, and establish agreed upon timing with your boss to move your request through the appropriate channels. Clearly communicate a date by which you’d like the change in position to occur.
Retail dietetics is still a relatively new industry, and at the same time, the opportunities within retail are expanding dramatically. While it takes time, effort, courage, and the building of pitch skills, RDNs can successfully create opportunities and build long-term careers within the retail sector.