February 13, 2021
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
University of Connecticut
Deptartment of Allied Health SciencesWebsite
Ellen Shanley: I have seen an increase in hiring with the pandemic. I think there has been an increase in some people choosing to leave the workforce earlier due to the pandemic as well as some parents feeling a need to be at home with children. I am hoping that programs seeing that people of color have been disproportionately impacted and will increase their reach to these populations.
Ellen Shanley: I see flexibility and adaptability as number 1. We know that life can change in a moment and we all need to be poised to flexible. Interpersonal skills are always important. Everyone has some much more on their plates today and many people are feeling the stress. We need to be able to empathize with all. Problem solving is another one. We need to be sure we can think critically and come up solution for issues in the workplace.
Ellen Shanley: Individuals working in clinical positions in hospitals and long-term care facilities will continue to be face-to-face in the work environment and most likely will not be able to do nutrition focused physical exams by touching patients but will need to do more visual assessments. I believe we will continue to telehealth in many outpatient settings. I have students going into school nutrition jobs and I see them needing to be very flexible and creative in all they do!
Kansas State University
Department of Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and HealthWebsite
Kevin Sauer Ph.D.: Most likely. Registered dietitian nutritionists (RNDs) are essential members of health care teams and provide specialized nutrition care for patients. Treatments for COVID-19 include screening for nutritional deficiencies and formulating individual nutritional plans. People with serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for developing more serious and potentially long-term complications from COVID-19 and RDNs have increased their capacity to provide nutritional care directly within medical centers and also through telehealth, to reach the most vulnerable clients. Indeed, all organizations are changing and will continue to change their structures and essentially, how they conduct business in the short and long-term due to the impacts of the pandemic. Graduates who monitor and adapt to the ever-changing organizations, and bring solutions under these conditions, will thrive the most.
Kevin Sauer Ph.D.: The traditional collection of commonly known soft skills will remain essential - communication, teamwork, flexibility, critical thinking and so forth. So, I recommend some additional humility skills. First, saying thank you and showing gratitude with sincerity in a vital skill. Giving credit where credit is due, especially when one is gaining from the hard work and thought of others. This fosters teamwork and trust, especially under stressful conditions. Third, practice forming an authentic and genuine apology, since it will be necessary at one point or another. Finally, maintaining systems-thinking and forming solutions around root causes of problems will advance graduates along their career paths.
Kevin Sauer Ph.D.: Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are THE food and nutrition experts who have met rigorous qualifications to earn the credentials. The RD credential indicates to employers and the public that a practitioner has completed minimum educational requirements at a US regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. All coursework is essential and includes food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems, business, and science courses. RDNs have also completed an ACEND-accredited supervised practice, passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) and completed continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.