Simran works for an integrative medical centre developing nutrition-related programmes and enhancing their public profile. Find out how she developed the skills to succeed in this role
How did you get your job as a nutritionist?
I got my job primarily through networking - by speaking to people, attending alumni events and updating my LinkedIn profile. I also passed my CV around to as many people as possible. It took me nearly seven months to get my job as a nutritionist as my field of study is very specific and most companies were unsure where to place me, even after the interview.
I began by spending my time trying to establish myself as a freelance nutritionist. I tried to create a brand and market myself (TheUltimateNutritionist on Instagram) and I pursued a career in public health. I conducted seminars and gave talks at events such as World Speech Day and a TEDx event (Eat, Pray, Nutella!). I was even given the opportunity to present seminars for parents in a couple of schools.
What's a typical working day like?
At 9am every day we gather all the employees together to say a prayer followed by short updates from the whole team. Every morning, I create a to-do list with three tasks to accomplish.
I'm currently creating nutrition and lifestyle programmes (for example, nutrition detox and weight loss), as well as recreating the company's profile to make it less technical and more audience friendly. As part of my role I have meetings with the CEO, doctors and the marketing team.
I'm also working towards building a more substantial website and online social media presence by writing articles based on relevant topics such as probiotics, immunotherapy and cancer.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love how everyone is very open and how my boss is open-minded and willing to accept and test out new ideas together.
What are the challenges?
My biggest challenge is with one-to-one client interaction, which is why I currently work as part of a team while I build up my experience. I also struggle with the branding, business and marketing side of things as I don't have any background in it. However, I'm using my initiative to meet with people and learn more about these areas and do further study and research to help develop my skills.
How relevant is your degree in nutrition?
My BSc Nutrition from the University of Leeds was relevant in terms of teaching me life skills, for example research, teamwork and communication, and the basic understanding of food, biology and chemistry.
The greatest skill I learned from my degree was presentation skills, which formed the basis of why I was hired.
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?
I started off as a freelance nutritionist as I was struggling to get a job. I felt my degree didn't provide me with enough preparation to start consulting with clients so I got into public speaking and educating people before getting a job at an integrative medical centre.
Since then, I've also found another job as a part-time nutritionist/health coach at a life centre. They were particularly impressed by the extra online courses I'd done and are willing to give me the opportunity to learn how to practise consulting with their clients, together with their specialised doctors. This way I get experience in a professional setting as well as a clinical one.
Over time I aspire to become a public figure in the field of nutrition by becoming a role model for people who struggle to have a healthy relationship with food. Nutrition is not only based on what we eat as individuals, but also on how we live as a whole incorporating physical and emotional wellbeing.
What are your top tips for others wanting to be nutritionists?
- Get an accreditation - for example, through the Association for Nutrition (Afn).
- Keep up to date by reading journals and doing online continuing professional development (CPD). Nutrition is a growing industry and you don’t want to fall behind.
- Nutrition alone isn't going to get you anywhere so consider taking online courses in areas such as public speaking, life coaching, marketing and psychology.
- Keep networking wherever and whenever you can as this may come in handy in the future.
- Keep your options open to take on whatever opportunities come your way.