Case study

Nutrition and health manager — Christina Sadler

Following a nutrition degree, Christina has progressed from intern to manager at the European Food Information Council (EUFIC)

How did you get your current job?

I became aware of EUFIC during the last year of my BSc (Hons) nutrition degree and really identified with EUFIC's mission and outputs.

I sent a speculative CV for an internship post and about two months later was surprised to be invited for a Skype interview, written assessment, and face-to-face interview.

The internship lasted for one year, after which I was offered an employee contract; progressing to an assistant, then to junior manager, before my current position of manager.

If you're not sure if it is for you, contact organisations of interest and ask if you can visit and work shadow

How relevant is your degree to your job?

For this specific role it is critical. In my team, we need to have a background understanding of nutrition science in order to communicate about it correctly.

Other colleagues have training in science communication and journalism, which is another route to this type of work.

What are your main work activities?

Most days are spent behind a computer, or in meetings, but the tasks are varied and we have flexibility as to what we do. I could be writing or editing text, producing infographics or podcasts, uploading material to the website and social media accounts and communicating with others via email or telephone.

There are regular opportunities to travel to external meetings and conferences.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

I have developed my competences from assisting with tasks and slowly taking on more responsibility.

Initially I would write draft articles and carry out desk research, now I am responsible for leading projects, managing budgets, coordinating tasks and supervising the work of interns.

I hope to progress from manager to senior manager and perhaps one day be experienced enough to take on a directorship. In order to achieve my ambition I may need to take time out from my present job in order to study for a PhD.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I love that my job combines my interest in health with digital communication. I work on the cusp of new research and interpret it for a large audience. It's a great feeling to be able to reach many people, helping their understanding and correcting misconceptions.

I really enjoy working in a team of passionate and supportive people of many different nationalities and cultures and to have a European perspective to my work.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Science is ever evolving and it's often challenging to communicate topics in a balanced way that everyone can understand, while at the same time accurately reflecting the science.

I like that I am involved in many different projects, and there are multiple tasks at any one time, but this can also be a challenge to manage.

Most challenges can be overcome by good organisational skills, a positive outlook and having good working relationships with other people.

What tips do you have for securing a nutrition post?

If you're not sure if it is for you, contact organisations of interest and ask if you can visit and work shadow.

These days, to get a job after graduating, in addition to a degree, you really need to have relevant experience.

I did a 12 week placement at the Food Standards Agency, which helped consolidate and develop my academic knowledge and skills. It also sparked my motivation to finish my degree with success and progress in this field, all while making many key connections.

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