April 2013

Charlene Abretske

Beyond Your Chair| Jayne Morehouse


Creating Your Dream Career

As you graduate and start on your journey to becoming a beauty professional, everyone will have lots of advice for you — whether you ask for it or not — much of it focusing on continuing your education.

But, in today's world, it takes more than taking a cutting or coloring class once or twice a year to grow as a person and a professional and work in your dream job.

Continuing your education in a meaningful way today includes seeking out the information — technical, marketing, customer service, client engagement, sales and perhaps even management — that will support the professional brand you will design for yourself, so that you're fulfilled and happy in the career of a lifetime.

In today's world, you don't land a dream job. They simply don't exist. You can work for a wonderful salon with a gracious owner who is willing to create a beautiful environment, mentor you and invest in your development. But it's still up to you to invest your own heart, time, initiative and money into creating YOUR dream job — even if it's in that same salon.

Following are some of the most important questions to answer before you begin to plan how many hours you'll need to work each week and the type of compensation you'll expect.

Start by writing all of this information down, and then refer back to it every month as you have new experiences and meet new people. The answers to all of these questions will contribute to defining your own professional brand.

What is YOUR dream job — not the job others expect for you or what you've read your supposed to do or even what your teachers have told you?

What does it look like? What does it feel like? Who are the clients you want to help and why? What will you do that will help you stand out from every other newly licensed beauty professional?

What kind of environment do you need to work in to allow you to do that? Do you want to work by yourself or as part of a beauty team? What beauty brands, products and tools do you want to be associated with?

What words would you like your clients, your community and other beauty professionals use when describing you and your work?

Now, think of all of the people you've met so far who fit within the career profile you're creating and can help you build your brand.

Contact the guest educators, VIPS and local salon owners who have visited your school and tell them what you'd like to achieve; ask if they will share their story with you, along with their advice and recommendations. Attend local and even national trade shows if you're able to, join a professional association and seek out mentors. Most will be happy to help.

As you build your foundation, you'll want to plan for advanced learning. The more opportunities you can create to try out various techniques, styles and approaches to your technical work, the better. Every one of the elite stylists — both those who work in salons as well as those who provide education for product companies — practice on mannequin heads constantly. Once they perfect the basic techniques, they're then able to create new techniques that bear their signature.

However, honing your technical skills is only one part of the preparation for your dream job. A deep understanding of client communication and service skills, as well as the ability to market yourself to clients and any company you might want to work with in the future, are at least, if not more important.

To get started, go online and find Chris Brogan, Seth Godin and Peter Shankman, three of the top thought leaders in customer engagement today. Follow everything they do, watch their numerous videos online and read what they recommend.

Subscribe to their blogs and e-newsletters. If you read six months to a year's worth of blogs from each, you'll have everything you need to know about building and keeping your clientele — for FREE! They are so invested in giving back that they give away information daily that's worth tens of thousands of dollars. Take advantage of their generosity.

Whether you want to work in a salon or spa, as a session artist for celebrities, runway, media, for a product company, at a cosmetology school or on your own, defining your dream job as specifically as possible right now will help you create your own career of a lifetime.

Jayne Morehouse is a columnist for Stylist Newspapers and the president of Jayne & company, a full-service brand communications agency for beauty companies and salons. Follow her on Twitter @JaynePR and @BeautyIQ and connect with her on facebook.com/jayneandco.