You Are Ready to Advance Your Career! Now What?
By Stephanie Schultz, MSM, RDN, CD, RD Ambassador to the RDBA
At some point in life, we inevitably experience the desire to try something new. Maybe it’s time for a new morning routine, a stretch project in your current role, or a new position altogether. You know you’re ready. Now what?
Career development is a process. While your manager, mentors and HR can (and will) help you, you need to firmly take your place in the driver’s seat as you navigate your career journey.
Reflect and take note of your strengths, interests, and goals.
Some questions and thoughts to reflect on:
- What aspects of your current role do you love, and what would you love to get rid of?
- Is there an area of your organization that has piqued your interest?
- What would you like to learn more about?
- What are you most passionate about?
- Which of these passion areas fall within your natural talents and abilities?
- Dream about what could be. Write down goals and don’t play small. Put that dream salary number on paper. List the level of title you aspire to reach. What other benefits – from time off to continuing education or something else - mean the most to you?
Explore career and educational opportunities.
It is important to know what opportunities exist. One exercise HR leaders and career mentors will suggest you complete is to find three jobs that look interesting to you. These roles can be within your current organization or external. What makes these roles interesting to you? Would you be qualified to apply for these roles today, or do you have skill gaps that you need to solve for? Keep an open mind, especially on the educational side. It may not be formal education you need; rather, you may be better served to grow your business acumen from within your organization. That is where HR can be extremely helpful!
Build Your Development Plan.
A great place to start when thinking about a development plan is your immediate leader and/or HR department. When you proactively reach out, you are letting them know that you have a desire to grow within and serve the organization in a larger capacity. They likely have excellent resources, but again keep an open mind. Given the unique roles that retail dietitians fill, there probably is not a career progression plan. You will need to help HR and your leadership see the possibilities. Ask them for help gaining the experience you need – like managing a P&L or learning more about category management – and give them an idea of where you believe you could make meaningful contributions.
Don’t be shy. One thing that career coaches everywhere will tell you is that networking and open communication is critically important to landing that promotion or next opportunity. Yes, you have internal resources at your retailer, but don’t be afraid to reach out to industry colleagues and fellow RDBA members for help as you build your plan. Leverage the power network you’ve built!
Speaking of fellow RDBA members, don’t forget that RDBA has an excellent collection of RD Close-Up articles. Colleagues have shared their stories for you to learn from. We’re here to support each other. Take the step and reach out!