So, You’ve Graduated from Aesthetics School…Now What?

Written by Denise Gaston

Well, it’s official. You’ve spent your entire day at the state board, you’ve taken and passed the written and practical exams, and, now, you’re licensed. You’ve got your esthie bestie on speed dial and your mom has been blowing up your cell phone – and, during the drive home, reality sets in: now what? With no more test taking, review questions, endless mounds of flash cards, mock state board run throughs, mock state board written tests, lectures, or guest speakers demanding your attention, it is time to start the job search.
The choices may seem endless. The first thing to decide is how you want to practice aesthetics. Let’s look at a couple of scenarios.
Do job security, paid days off, possible vacation, and benefits appeal to you? Then, consider working for one of the more established skin care chains or wax centers. You will not have a lot of creative freedom, but you will have a structured environment, a schedule you can rely on, and training. On the other hand, if you are more of a free spirit, this may not be the option for you. Working for corporate has its benefits, but the catch is you can’t have it your way – you have to do it their way. The upside to all of this is that it is a great way to prepare you to go out on your own and learn from others’ mistakes, successes, trials, and errors. Working for someone else can be the best on-the-job training you will ever get.
Owning your own business by renting from a local day spa or skin care clinic is a beautiful option if you want more individuality and a chance to make a name for yourself. Depending on the state, the options can be varied; however, renting a treatment room from an existing business owner allows for the opportunity to have complete control. This means everything from servicing clients, to equipping, stocking, and decorating the treatment room, to marketing your new business, to designing the service menu and pricing your services is in your control. Still, you’ll need to make sure to calendar time off for shows, classes, seminars, and time with family. Also, keep in mind, this route does not come with paid vacations, sick time, coverage for time off, retirement, or a 401K. There is also the option to share a room with another aesthetician and split the rent and utilities.
Whichever scenario you end up going with, now is the time to put into practice all of the things you learned in school. As a newly licensed professional, you are going to have to put the work in to build a steady clientele, even if you land your dream job. It is always important to promote yourself . Post on social media, ask for referrals from family and friends, and reconnect with old friends and colleagues. Remember to tell them where you are at and what you are doing now.
If you are undecided in which business model you want to venture into and you end
up looking for employment longer than you expected, here are a few tips:

  • Make sure your resume is updated and on point. Invest in high-quality paper to print out copies of your resume. Presentation is everything.
  • Invest in business cards.
  • If you are not already active on social media, now is the time to get active. Join groups, engage family and friends, and reach out to vendors and suppliers. Often, suppliers know of accounts that are hiring and can be a great ally in the job search.
  • Get out and start visiting local spas and salons in the area. Introduce yourself, even if they are “not hiring at the moment.” Leave a resume and business card.

            If you do not find a job right away, all is not lost. Utilize your downtime to research products, new modalities, and equipment. Find a topic within aesthetics and become an expert on it.
Remember, you’ve made it this far. Don’t be hard on yourself. You are going to have to put the work in as a new employee and while still searching for employment. This is not a time to sit back and relax. Get up, get out, and, most of all, work hard until your dream job or opportunity becomes a reality.
Congratulations and good luck.

Denise Gaston 2019Denise Gaston is a proud CIDESCO diplomat, licensed aesthetician since 1989, certified clinical aesthetician, and is NCEA certified. Gaston has served as the northern California trainer for Repechage Skincare and as an aesthetics instructor for Miss Marty’s Hair Academy and C.I.D.E.S.C.O. Institute. She is a former spa owner, having had a private practice for 10 years. Gaston is currently the vice president and director of aesthetics at Fremont Beauty College. She is a reviewer for Milady’s Standard Cosmetology Textbook 2008 Edition; Milady Standard Esthetics: Fundamentals, 11th Edition; and Milady Standard Esthetics: Advanced, 2nd Edition. Gaston also serves as a subject matter expert for the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.

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