It’s been almost 4 years since I retook the RD exam. As much as my story is a
cautionary tale, it is also one of redemption. When I let my RD lapse more than a
decade ago, I was so swamped with being a mom, I couldn’t imagine ever working as
an RD again. Still in the back of my mind I always knew that I could retake the RD
exam. As it turns out, for me, retaking the exam was the easiest obstacle to overcome.
It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be welcomed back into the field with open arms.
Maybe my story is similar to yours. I graduated with a BS in nutrition from Cornell then I
went on to the coordinated internship and masters degree program with the Bronx VA
and NYU. I worked as an editorial assistant for a food magazine, as a research
assistant on a breast cancer study, as a clinical dietitian in a hospital, and finally as an
Assistant Director of Foodservice for Beth Israel North. My career screeched to a halt
the day I gave birth to the first of my 4 sons. I cleared out my desk and left work for
As I was shutting the door on my career, I did make one decision that proved to be
hugely beneficial, I became licensed by NY state. Unlike with the RD, you can reinstate
your license just by paying a fee. If you are a CDN, even if you are not an RD, you can
become an insurance provider.
If you find yourself like I did, with changing circumstances and the need to return to the
workforce, what should you do? For starters, know that you are not alone.
Networking is literally building relationships. There is a big difference between
networking and gossiping. When I talk about my personal life, which trust me is worthy
of a Lifetime special, I never advance my career. But, if I talk about my professional
goals and accomplishments, I am opening the door to the possibility of a professional
connection. If you find yourself in a conversation headed for soap opera city, redirect it
to something more constructive and don’t be shy about self promoting. Have your
elevator pitch ready. In other words, be able to sell yourself in 1 or 2 sentences.
Networking is especially important when you are returning to the workforce after an
extended absence. Early on I applied to many jobs online and never got a response. If
felt like my resume went into a black hole. But when I had a personal connection, my
resume went to the top of the pile.
Your network is composed of literally everyone you have ever had some contact with.
You should build your network on line with Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and with your
blog. Face to face is also important. Every time you lave your house it is a chance to
make a connection. Get out of your sweatpants and present yourself to the world as a
Be sure to follow up on all leads. 97% of people never follow up. Distinguish yourself
and notice the difference. When you have a choice between sending an email and
making a phone call, pick up the phone. Make the personal connection.
My favorite quote is from Seth Godin: The best time to start was a while ago. The
second best time is today.
The next blog post will be on how to write a winning resume.
About the author:
Madeleine Berg, MS,RDN,CDN is the founder of Long Island Worksite Wellness which provides worksite wellness programs for Fortune 500 companies in the tri state area. She also has a private practice in Woodbury. Follow her on Facebook Madeleine Berg, The SuperNutritionist and on twitter @Supernutritioni
About the Author
Lisa Samuels is a Long Island native who is currently a Dietetic Intern at LIU Post. She has a B.A. in Art History from Ithaca College, a B.S. in Nutrition from LIU Post & was also a practicing baker for two years. Lisa has finally found her calling. Combining her love for food, writing, and nutrition, she strives to bring you the latest news in the field.
Check out even more posts from Lisa at her website: