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Common Obstacles for New Estheticians

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I am often asked for advice by esthetics students and newly-licensed estheticians. New estheticians are often surprised at how ill-prepared they are to work in the real world of esthetics. For example, even though they may have come from great esthetics programs, often they have trouble finding a job. Others are convinced that they are ready to go solo right out of school, but ultimately they realize that they still have a lot to learn.

Here are some of the suggestions I give to new estheticians to help them navigate the most common obstacles:

  • Be very careful about taking advice online. An esthetician license and a computer does not qualify anyone as an expert. There are 50 U.S. states and all of them have different rules and laws. Do not trust the advice of someone online that you do not know. At the very least, Google them.
  • When evaluating your first job options, make furthering your esthetic education a priority (as opposed to income or prestige). There are some major benefits to making your novice mistakes on somebody else’s clients rather than your own. And being able to learn about products and equipment before you have to invest your own money is a wise choice.
  • When submitting a resume, always include a cover letter. Make it personal to the business you are applying to. Employers are looking for more than esthetic skills. (Anyone with an esthetician license has that.) Smart employers want team players and good personalities. And while you don't have to be a good speller to be a successful esthetician, a proper cover letter is indicative of a someone who is responsible, organized, and intelligent enough to use spell-check.
  • Attend trade shows while you are in esthetics school. Get attendance certificates if they are offered. Be sure to list those classes on your resume. It will put you ahead of the pack.
  • Don’t be afraid of leaving behind the skin care products you learned with in school. Venture out into the “real” world of esthetics as soon as possible. All of the good manufacturers offer their own product knowledge classes so it's easy and fun to learn. The fact that you are familiar with more than your in-school product line is a plus.
  • If you will be working as an Independent Contractor, you will have tax obligations. If this is not something you can handle yourself, get a bookkeeper immediately.
  • Attend our esthetics & spa trade shows and subscribe to our trade magazines. The information is so much better than you will find on Facebook from unknown advisors.
  • Stay the heck away from Multi-Level-Marking skin care products. You are a professional. Use and sell only professional skin care products.

I am also frequently contacted by those who are thinking of becoming an esthetician. So if you are shopping for an esthetician program, here is my suggestion for you:

  • Get a list of the schools in your area that offer an esthetician license.
  • Contact each school and ask them to provide you with their pass/fail numbers for first-timers. This means: How many graduates took the licensing exam for the first time last year? (or last 6 months, or whatever) Out of those, how many passed?
  • Narrow your options down to only those schools with the best pass rates. And then and only then, should you look into the other variables such as academics, price, etc.
  • The whole point of esthetics school is to get your license. So no matter how pretty the school is or how fancy their equipment might be, if you can't pass the esthetician licensing exam on your first try, you have wasted a lot of time and money.

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