I’m not sure of the reason, but in the past couple of months I have noticed an increase in enquiries from people inquiring about a career in nutrition; these people, predominantly women, have expressed a desire to leave their current occupation and set up a businesses as a nutritionist or health coach. Is it the surge in health, food and fitness bloggers that is tempting people into this particular profession or perhaps the increased public awareness and widespread promotion of the importance of eating and living well? I don’t know…..I’m confident that there are lots of other sectors/businesses that people aspire to enter into - they say 25% of UK adults want to start a business in 2016, rising to 70% among those aged 25-34 - but as a nutritionist myself, I’ve only experienced queries relating to changing career to enter the nutrition profession.
My advice, albeit I’m not a careers adviser, is always the same. Study for a professional and credible qualification; avoid at all costs those 6-week online nutrition courses that you can get off Groupon however cheap and quick they are. Although the term ‘nutritionist’ is not a legally protected term, ( i.e. your mum, brother, cousin or grandma could call themselves a nutritionist), there are nutrition courses you can take that are endorsed, recognised an accredited by professional bodies which, once you graduate from these courses, you can distinguish yourself from the quacks and unqualified nutrition experts. I highly recommend the Association for Nutrition, who hold the nutrition register that I belong to, and the British Dietetic Association, who are the professional body representing dietitians. For those of you interested, here is a link which describes the roles and functions of different nutrition vocations (nutritionist, dietitian, nutritional therapist) so that you can be sure to study for the nutrition career that best suits your preferences
I’m always inspired by women who take on the challenge of changing careers, especially those who have been working in the same function or industry for several years or who are in their older years with family and financial commitments. I’ve worked in the field of nutrition since I graduated many moons ago and whilst my work is varied from day to day, it’s still roughly the same role I’ve had for a little over a decade, with the exception of introducing the personal styling arm to my business which represents only a small proportion of what I do – I’m hoping to grow this. I’ve also toyed with the idea of training to be a personal trainer so that I can offer my clients an all-round health package, and whilst we are on the subject of career change, when I drift off into la la land, I envisage myself designing and selling my own brand of bags, although I’d like to do this more as a side-line rather than as a full time job.
Have you ever considered changing career or setting up your own business? The consensus appears to be that you should:
-start by thinking about your interests, what you’re good at and what really motivates you.
-next, really research the area you want to go in to, think about the commitments you will have to make in terms of time, resources and finance.
-analyse your transferable skills, knowledge and contacts. If you haven’t got any contacts, get out there and network at events, seminars and talks. I will never forget this quote I heard at a conference – “your network is your net worth”
-make yourself stand out from the crowd - be creative and innovative