Hi lovelies! Today I'm doing a post that I've been requested to do quite a few times and that is about my job! Most of you will already know as I've mentioned it in several posts but I am a beauty therapist. I work within a salon and also am a freelance makeup artist. Since mentioning it, I've had a few people ask me about my job, what I do, how I got into it, how to get a job in the industry etc etc.
Let me start out by saying, my job is not a high profile beautician to the stars/ celeb makeup artist type job, but just a regular beauty therapy job in a town close to where I live. I do makeup on the side mostly for weddings, proms and parties as well as doing the odd bit of freelance beauty at home. I've not been doing beauty for years and years, but I do feel as though I have enough experience to help out some of you if you're just starting out! So, for people that want to get into the industry, or perhaps are considering a job in beauty therapy, I thought it may be helpful to share a few tips with you guys about how to start out, choosing the right kind of work for you and getting yourself out there. Let's get into it!
Where do I start?
For me, I'd already been to college on an Art and Design course and didn't really want to go back to college for another two years, however if you're a school leaver, a college course is probably the best option for you, as it's free and you can do it at age 16 right from school. If like me though, you've already don't the school/ college bit and the thought of two more years of education doesn't bear thinking about, a private course like I did could be for you. Google NVQ courses in beauty therapy in your area, you're bound to find one close by. These can be expensive but for me it was completely worth it. My tutor was fantastic, the training was intensive and I had a lot of one on one time with the tutor. The best part was I was trained in a little over three months! It's hard work but if you want the qualification quickly, it's a fantastic way to go.
Apprenticeships are another great way for young people, usually ages between 16 and 24 to get a qualification. These are fab as you can earn while you gain your NVQ, however if you're older and are used to a full time wage, this may not be the best option, as apprenticeship wages are quite low, I believe the minimum apprenticeship wage is something like £2.68 per hour. Again though, for a school leaver at aged 16, if you have no financial ties, this would be a great way for you to learn and gain experience in the industry. Beauty apprenticeships are hard to find though, so keep your eyes peeled for opportunities.
So I'm qualified, now what?
One of the most frustrating things once you've gained your qualification is not being able to find a job in the industry. While beauty work isn't too hard to find, like any job hunt, it can take a while. While you're searching, the best advice I can give is keep practicing. When you finally get that interview, you want to be sure you're going to nail it and at almost every beauty interview, you will have to do to trade test. This is so the company can ensure you know what you're doing and can carry out treatments effectively. Salon owners and managers will be aware you're a beginner and should be more than happy to help you with progression, but you want to ensure you know the basics and are as professional as possible from the outset, so keep practising and remember what you learned!
I've learned the basics, what next?
Most good beauty schools offer additional courses on treatments that don't come under a basic NVQ level 2 or 3 and if you have the cash and the time, I'd definitely recommend doing some of these once you're confident in the basics of beauty therapy. For example, two treatments that are very popular in the salon I work in and with my freelance clients are gel nails (or shellac) and eyelash extensions. These as far as I'm aware, aren't included in most NVQ courses, at least they weren't in mine! However, the majority of salons offer these treatments and having them on your CV will give you something extra over other candidates for jobs you apply for.
How do I find a job in Beauty Therapy?
Finding a job in the beginning is always difficult as you don't have experience and as annoying as it may be, experience is a huge bonus in this industry. Being good at what you do is hugely important, but that doesn't mean college leavers and the newly qualified are always bottom of the pile. Some salons like to hire girls that are newly qualified, as they can 'mould them' into exactly the type of therapist they want them to be. They may want you to do things a certain way, greet clients in a particular fashion or carry out treatments in their own style and sometimes more experienced therapists can be stuck in their ways. When being interviewed, it may be a good idea to say something like, 'while I am fairly new at this, I feel I have learned very quickly and grasped the skills I need to be professional and effective when carrying out treatments. I would like to work in this salon, as I feel it would be a great place for me to start out and further my skills.' Confidence is key, carrying out treatments on a new client or in an interview can be daunting, but remind yourself, you have done this before, you passed your beauty therapy course and you know what you're doing.
What if I can't find work?
Sometimes finding job in beauty can be really tough. Maybe there are no jobs out there, or maybe there are but they want someone with a little more experience. It's frustrating but it happens. If you can, it's a good idea to try to get some work experience. Find salons in your area and get in touch (lots of salons will have a contact email or phone number on their website), let them know that you are a new starter and you're looking for work experience to get you started in the industry. If unpaid work isn't an option, you can just email asking if any salons have any positions and to consider you in future and attach your CV. Sometimes they won't have anything, but they will admire you for taking action and asking directly rather than waiting for jobs to pop up on job search sites. I actually got my first salon job by contacting the salon directly. They weren't advertising for positions, but I emailed around just simply asking if they had any jobs available and they came back to be saying they did and a couple of weeks later I was working there full time! The main thing is to not give up, if you're really struggling, perhaps consider setting up a beauty room at home, or a mobile beauty business to help you gain more experience and confidence in the industry. Don't forget if you're going to do this, you will need to register as self employed and sort out insurance but that's another post for another day!
How do I know what job is right for me?
Take it from me, no two beauty jobs are the same. The great thing about beauty therapy is it's a very versatile career. It's a great qualification to have if you want to work for big name beauty brands on the counters, if you want to work in a salon, or perhaps if you fancy setting up at home or mobile and want to work hours that suit you (this is fab for mums!). The difficult part though, is finding what suits you. For me, I love working in a salon, I enjoy the atmosphere, I love that no two days are the same and I enjoy carrying out all different kinds of treatments meaning my day is varied and interesting. Others however will find they have a favourite and want to specialise, just working as a nail tech for example, or perhaps becoming a skincare specialist or masseuse. Perhaps you want to go freelance and work from home? The only way to find out is to test the water, sometimes the thing you expect to love just isn't for you. For example, I worked briefly on the on the counters at Nails inc in London and absolutely hated it! It sounded like a dream job when I started it but it just wasn't for me at all. I also had a go at being freelance full time, but found that I really didn't like working from home, as appealing as it sounds, the reality? Pretty dull. So don't be afraid to have a go at whatever comes your way and if you don't like it, that's fine,mouth can always find something else. The main thing to take into consideration is your lifestyle, for me working strange hours in London meant I had no time for a social life, or for my blog and those things are important to me. Working at home meant home started to feel like work, which I really didn't like. Working in a salon close to home with flexible hours suits me perfectly and despite working some long hours, means I have time to do the things I want too.
What are the best and worst things about being a beauty therapist?
Like any job, there are good things and bad things about being a beauty therapist. For example, if you're hoping for a super glam job where you just sit and make people look pretty all day, you may be disappointed. It's not that it's not a lovely, girly, glam job where you make people look pretty, it's just that that's not what it always is. Some days, you might spend your whole day painting nails, perfecting brows and spraying tans, but other days, you may spend your entire time waxing unmentionable parts of the body, doing a hardcore massage that makes you feel as though you've done an insanity workout and filing thick dead skin from the bottom of strangers feet, but that's kind of what I love about it, every day is completely different. I wouldn't really say these are the worst things though, the only thing I'd say could be considered a 'worse' part of the job is that, particularly if you're new, it may not always be busy. You may spend a lot of time during the first few months of your career standing around answering phones and making tea, but that's just how it goes!
Any final tips?
Remember, beauty therapy is a customer facing role, so you'll need to be open, friendly and approachable. As much as the job is about carrying out treatments, you are also providing a service and your clients are taking time out of their day to spend money on whatever treatment you carry out, so you want to make their experience as relaxing and enjoyable as possible. If you have a closed off, distant personality, your client may feel uncomfortable and will perhaps go elsewhere in future. This industry relies heavily on client loyalty, so make your clients want to come back! You may be a little shy and nervous at first when you're just starting out, but try your best to make your client feel comfortable and relaxed around you and soon you'll feel the same. Most of all, if you're planning on starting out in beauty, have fun! It really is a lovely career to get into as it's so rewarding and so much fun. Like anything, it's nerve racking at first learning new things, but enjoy it, you're going to love it!
Let me know what you thought of this post, as I've never really done anything like this before. If you'd like me to do any other posts on this topic, or expand on any of the points I made here, definitely let me know in the comments as I'd be more than happy to do so.