Retail RDs for Hire
Are you interested in a career transition into the retail environment? Seeking a retail dietitian role? The Retail Dietitians Business Alliance is committed to helping retailers identify and hire top talent and to assisting dietitians with securing and building successful, satisfying careers in the retail industry. To this end, Retail RDs for Hire provides insights to help RDs position themselves for retail roles and the opportunity to post resumes for access by retail hiring managers.
Skills Required by Retail Dietitians
While a dietetics degree and nutrition skills are essential, success in the retail environment requires the following skills:
- Solution Selling. Retail margins average just over 1%, and all retail programs must drive sales and profit, including health and wellness initiatives. Dietitians must be comfortable with promoting healthier products, including specific brands, to be effective in retail roles.
- Flexibility. The retail environment moves quickly and adapts rapidly to trends and changes in the environment. Additionally, work hours do not follow a traditional 8-to- 5 schedule. Tours, classes and promotions must be targeted to high traffic time frames in the store and weekend work may be required for special events.
- Culinary Skill. While a chef degree is not required, dietitians interested in working for retail grocery companies must have strong home cooking skills and must be comfortable preparing and promoting all departments of the store.
- Communications. From conducting media segments to creating social media posts to teaching classes to presenting to retail leadership, strong communication skills are a "must have" to work in retail.
- Project Management. From start to finish, from building timelines to assigning roles and tasks, retail RDs manage a variety of projects and promotions in the retail setting, often at the same time.
- Partnership Building. While there are many departmental leads, you may be the only RD in a store or with the company. To be effective in providing health and wellness programs and services to shoppers, it's essential to be able to build partnerships with internal colleagues and external organizations.
There are a variety of ways dietitians can gain these skills and build a resume that will be attractive to retail hiring managers. Creating a media presence can be accomplished in any role as can experience in building partnerships and project management. A variety of organizations in local communities, such as Toast Masters, provide opportunities to enhance presentation skills as can submitting sessions for local and national dietetic association conferences. Conducting Facebook Live segments or posting instructional videos on YouTube are effective ways to showcase your cooking skills.
In partnership with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance was instrumental in developing a four-module Certificate of Training on Supermarket Business and Industry Skills. Taking this course will increase your knowledge of the retail environment and the RD role and will look impressive on a resume.
Securing a Role at Retail
Today, there are nearly 1,000 dietitians employed by retail grocery companies. The first step in securing a role is doing your research, understanding your geographic area and retailers within it that have dietitians. Most retailers who have dietitians promote them in some way on their websites, and this is the best place to start your research. Understand that retail RD roles are more readily available in the Midwest to East Coast. There are fewer roles on the West Coast and in the South. As a part of your research, gain an understanding of the retailers' approach to health and wellness and the role of their RDs as there is quite a bit of variance across the industry.
The second step is networking with retail RDs at your target retailers. Follow them in social media, connect with them on LinkedIn, and request a networking meeting to understand their hiring cycle.
If no retailers in your target area currently have dietitians, you have the opportunity to pitch them on hiring you as a consultant or creating a full time RD position. In your pitch, detail the role of the RD (based on research you've done), income the role can generate, reporting structure, and salary requirements.