Thursday, 24 March 2011 11:38

Your Professional Image Determines Your Credibility

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It is always nice to believe that people don't "judge a book by its cover." Unfortunately, that does not happen in reality. People do judge other people and businesses by their physical appearance, and this is a fact that I do not see changing. Aesthetics may be a branch or anatomical science, but it is still a part of the beauty industry.
Your professional image is your portfolio. This is the package you present that will influence whether or not people in this industry (both professionals and clients) will take you seriously enough to see what you actually have to offer.

This package is not only made up by your physical appearance (hair, skin, makeup, nails, clothing, and accessories), though that is a huge aspect; but also of the level of confidence, knowledge, competence, and positive energy you exude.

Your Image as a Job Candidate
The state of the economy is adding a new level of competition to how business is done. Businesses have to worry that consumers may no longer be able to afford to purchase their products and services, and must react accordingly. Job candidates are not only competing with more candidates for the same job, but also with more candidates that have higher levels of experience and education, due to downsizing.
Hiring managers are now in a position of luxury, in that they have a wealth of experienced candidates to choose from. They can be as selective as they want. If the list is narrowed down to two candidates with similar backgrounds, it is more likely that the candidate who presents a better overall professional image will win the job.

According to a July 2010 poll in Newsweek, “Sixty-four percent of hiring managers believe companies should be allowed to hire people based on looks – when a job requires an employee to be the ‘face’ of a company at retail stores or in sales… and fifty-nine percent of hiring managers advise job seekers to “spend as much time and money ‘making sure they look attractive’ as on perfecting a resume.”

Your Appearance Sells Your Skills to Clients
As aestheticians, we are in the business of helping people achieve healthier, younger, clearer, and more attractive-looking skin. Clients come to you and pay you large amounts of money because they believe that you are the expert who will help them look better.
As a skin care professional, you are the spokesperson not only for your salon, but also for yourself and your ability to deliver results. Clients expect your skin to look as good as they are paying you to make their skin look. If your appearance does not instill confidence and credibility, the client will not trust, respect, or comply with any professional opinions or advice
you offer.
For instance, if a client comes to you to help them reduce acne, you can bet that the first thing the client will do is examine your skin for signs of acne. If your face is visibly broken out, there is no way that client will trust in your ability to treat their condition. As aestheticians, we know that acne can be reduced or even eliminated in the treatment room. If that was not true, we would not be in business.
Hair removal is another facet of aesthetics where you have the opportunity to showcase your skills on your own face. Having a smooth upper lip and expertly shaped brows demonstrates to clients that you have the ability to give them beautiful brows and a smooth upper lip. On the other hand, if a client comes to you for facial hair removal, and they see you rocking a uni-brow and dark, noticeable upper lip hair, there is no way they will believe that you have the competence to perform the service on them.
This is the same for makeup. Many aestheticians also work as makeup artists and give makeup lessons. If your own makeup is too heavy, unskillfully applied, or is missing from your face completely, a client will question your level of talent. Makeup artists rely heavily on their portfolios to book clients, but if your first impression is not a lasting one, clients will not even care to see the portfolio. Even if they do give it a glance, they may doubt that it was really you who did the work.

Image and Your Business
As a salon or spa owner or manager, you work very hard to ensure that the providers you hire, and services you offer are the very best. However, it is the image of your actual facility that will greatly determine how much business you actually generate. This starts with the exterior façade of the building: How visible is it from the street? Is it in a nice neighborhood? Is the signage and window display attractive and inviting? If they will not walk through your front door, they will not enter your
treatment room.
Equally as important to your salon’s image is its website. Everyone does research online before spending money these days, and your website has to impress. The design and functionality of the website must be well designed, well organized, user friendly, and coherent with your philosophy. Even if a client is given a gift certificate, they will most likely visit your website prior to making the appointment.
And then there is the image of the actual interior of the salon itself. The layout, cleanliness, organization, design, and overall vibe must be inviting to clients. Staff in the reception area must be friendly and professional at all times, and clients must feel well attended to while waiting for their services. If the experience in the front end of the salon is not a positive one, the client will not want to see more.
It all comes down to this: Having a strong professional image is not an option in the aesthetics industry. It is mandatory if you want to be successful in getting the job you want, attracting clients, and running your business. You have to show that you practice what you preach and teach by example.
You may be the most skilled aesthetician in the world, or offer the best services in town, but if your first impression does not sell that to clients, none of that will matter.

Bennett J (July 19, 2010). “Poll: How much is beauty worth at work?” Newsweek.

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