Whether you’re still in school or just graduated, starting and building a career as an aesthetician can feel daunting. As a licensed aesthetician, there are so many paths you can take. Where do you start? How do you build a resume? A lot of what we are going to discuss revolves around practice, experience, and skills. Spas are always looking for aestheticians who can harmonize, complement, or enhance their business.
Here are 10 things to keep in mind as a new aesthetician taking those first steps towards a new career.
- Online portfolios are becoming increasingly important for showcasing skills as an aesthetician. Before and after pictures of school projects or friends and family are a great way to build visual proof of talent and many school programs now include building a Pinterest portfolio and online presence. This is an important component for job applications, as potential employers will want to know what you’re capable of bringing to the table.
- Interning at a spa is still a great way to gain experience and connections as a student. Just be aware of the internship laws in your state, as these can vary from one state to the next. That having been said, there is nothing stopping you from interning even after you’ve graduated and become a licensed professional. A lot of aestheticians have worked their way to the top by apprenticing under a master.
- Beyond spas, try apprenticing or interning with manufacturers or education providers in brands you like or are interested in, as these can easily turn into careers. By interning this way, you are setting yourself up to receive more in-depth training and knowledge in a narrower field. For example, after choosing their desired manufacturer or education provider, an aesthetician could start as a school intern, then, move to assistant apprentice at tradeshows and events, and, finally, become an educator for the brand. Depending on the company, there could be further opportunity for advancement.
- Volunteering in the community can provide several benefits because, not only will it show compassion for local residents, it also helps build real-life experience, reputation, and portfolio. As an aesthetician, try keeping volunteer work relevant to the aesthetics industry. Some examples could be performing miniature services at events for sick children, cancer survivors, or the elderly.
- Practice, practice, practice! Try to get as much real-life experience as possible and market yourself. Events such as local school proms, teenage events, and princess parties are a great chance to practice beauty skills and get some social media snaps for your portfolio. You should also use these events to ask for references on how you performed. Focus on punctuality, appearance, and professionalism, not just the finished product. It is important to show your soft skills whenever possible.
- As a student or new aesthetician, always perform services by the book and exactly as trained. This is not the time to experiment – do not offer or perform services you have not been trained in. Severe reactions are possible if a service is not performed properly.
- The aesthetics industry includes a wide array of services, but, instead of being competent in several, determine which you excel in and become an expert in that field (for example, body sugaring). Establishing yourself as an expert in a service can help build your clientele and reputation, as clients tend to prefer receiving services from those who are more experienced in their craft.
- Just like any other interview, make sure to present yourself in a professional manner. This includes being on time, dressing the part, and coming prepared. There are so many people who show up to interviews late, hair and makeup not done, clothes not appropriate, and smelling like garlic or sports drinks – dress to impress. It is crazy to think of, but this really is an issue; many people get turned away or not considered for a job they may have the skills for because of sloppy appearance and unpreparedness.
- Get familiar with retail and service sales. It takes more than just hands-on work to really make a profit. Retailing is a crucial skill to learn in this day and age. As a skin care professional, your job is to provide clients with the most optimum results possible. Not recommending ways for them to take care of their skin at home would be doing them a disservice. So, take a course, learn from others in the beauty industry, and find your own style of sharing information. If you master this skill, not only will your employers love you, but you’ll earn more from sales commissions.
- The skin care industry is in a state of constant change. Continuing education is imperative if you want to stay up-to-date on trends and services. Many state boards even require aestheticians to take courses every couple of years to renew their license. As a professional, always be looking for ways to keep building skills.
Remember that when it comes to job searching and starting a career, you, the aesthetician, are the product employers are essentially buying into. Continue to develop skills and experiences as a licensed professional, especially as you seek to further yourself in your career. Those first steps may be intimidating, but take them with confidence and continue moving forward, one step at a time.
Lina Kennedy is the president and CEO of Alexandria Professional, a worldwide leader in body sugaring epilation. Kennedy is the pioneer of professional body sugaring and master trainer of practitioners and distributors in more than 32 countries. As a beauty industry innovator, Kennedy has developed a full line of all-natural skin care products and treatments that are safe and effective for all hair and skin types. Kennedy is dedicated to ensuring that each professional trained in body sugaring learns and understands the exceptional results they and their clients can achieve through the Kennedy Theory. She is a motivational speaker, the author of numerous articles in beauty trade magazines, and is a multi-patent holder.