Starting out in any career can be a daunting process. Many of us have no idea where to begin – from what you want to even do, to what first steps to take to get to that dream job. That’s why two ladies who have already been through the job process – in the beauty industry in particular – have written a book on how to break into the business. Pulling out specific areas of the industry and describing step-by-step advice on how to get a job in the genre you want, Courtney and Brit Dunlop (an Executive Editor at YouBeauty and model and design consultant respectively) are aiming to teach entry-level applicants how to embark on their careers, no matter what they want to do.
We spoke to Courtney and Brit to ask them what their biggest tip was for breaking into the business. Courtney told us, “Try to get beauty experience on your resume by any means possible. Just have something there to show you are trying, and to have a talking point in an interview. Retail jobs in beauty are great, or being the front desk person at a salon. This is really lame, but one of the first things I had on my resume was that I was in a focus group for hair products. It’s funny now, but at the time that plus my college job at Bath & Body Works were my only beauty-related experiences. I was able to use them as a way to express my passion for beauty in an interview.”
Brit also advised to get into the beauty world early on, if that’s where you want to be. “Immerse yourself in beauty as much as you possibly can so you’re seen as someone who truly understands the industry and how it works. If you have an interview, you can’t just say ‘I love makeup’ and think that makes you sound qualified for the job. Read everything you can about beauty online so you’re up on the trends and know who the key players are. Sites like Beauty High are great because they constantly update with news, so there’s really no excuse not to know what’s going on.”
For more advice from Courtney and Brit, read on for an excerpt from their new book, Break Into Beauty, and of course you can purchase it now on iTunes to learn how you can truly break into the business!
Excerpt From: Chapter 2
Find Your Niche
(Or, I Can Get Paid to Name Lipstick?)
Public Relations (PR)
Beauty publicists are the people on the ground who bring all of the above to the masses. A huge part of their job is getting brand messaging and products to the media, to garner press coverage about their clients or to get their clients on TV (hopefully in a positive way). Publicists write and send out press releases to media outlets anytime there is something newsworthy to share about their clients (a big event, a new product, a new celebrity partnership), and act as the contact person for journalists.
It’s a demanding job because in many ways, publicists are always “on.” They plan and host splashy events and parties; they go to lunches, dinners, and drinks with editors; and they report back to their brands on a regular basis. If they work for a brand with a celebrity spokesperson, they’re the point person for that celeb and her entourage. Oh, and they do it all with an upbeat attitude while looking pulled together and stylish.
Journalism, Beauty Writing, and Editing
This might be the most misunderstood career path in beauty, and yet one of the most coveted jobs. Being a beauty writer or editor (usually just called “beauty editor”) means that you write about beauty for a magazine, newspaper, or website. If you end up doing this job, you’ll find that when you tell people what you do, you get a lot of blank stares in return. Apparently, writing about beauty products doesn’t sound like a real job.
Beauty editors have a sweet gig because they get to try all the latest products for free, and they have access to the best hairstylists, colorists, aestheticians, dermatologists, waxers, and nail technicians in the biz. They spend their days wading through trends and products to pinpoint what is relevant to their readers and to find the best, most interesting beauty topics to cover.
The most glamorous version of this job is being a beauty editor at a women’s magazine such as Vogue, Elle, or Marie Claire. This is also the hardest beauty job to get, because there is a small, finite amount of jobs in beauty departments at magazines and everyone wants them. “We’re not saying it can’t be done, but you need to know that these jobs are few and far between, and very competitive.
Glossy magazines don’t offer the only opportunity. Beauty editors can also be found at trade publications and newspapers, as well as the many beauty and fashion websites that have popped up over the past decade.