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Getting Smart About Professional Development

By: Victoria L. Rayner
Posted: June 11, 2008, from the October 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Equally as important as it is to possess the best skills and experience for a high-paying job, so is having the right attitude. This distinction contributes to good team morale, adherence to protocol and self-discipline—elements that are essential to any spa environment but that some candidates may neglect to develop. Don’t overlook these highly valued attributes that are essential in landing the position you want.

  • A demeanor that personifies the term “professional.”
  • An impeccably groomed and properly maintained appearance.
  • An attitude that exudes dependability.
  • A service-oriented work philosophy.
  • A “team player” mentality.
  • An ability to converse with new clients and make them feel instantly comfortable.
  • A calm, yet not too competitive work persona.

Let behavior speak

Most skin care specialists give little consideration to what makes them stand out as a preferred candidate among their colleagues. An upbeat, enthusiastic demeanor and a healthy sense of humor are viewed as especially valuable. A-list applicants recognize the demand for certain workplace attitudes, such as an easy-going personality, which make them considerably more appealing than those who lack these inner qualities. They also know that most employers are put off by intense, controlling and perfectionistic personality types who convey an impression of superiority.

A recently graduated twentysomething esthetician named Connie, who now practices skin care in Mill Valley, Calif., provides a good example of how far the right attitude can take you. After being selected for one of the most sought-after positions in the entire San Francisco Bay Area and offered a considerable salary, many of her peers couldn’t explain why this novice, who lacked years of experience, had been selected over more seasoned skin care providers. Compared with her fellow interviewees, she was the least likely applicant to be offered the job.

As any longtime spa owner or manager will attest, poor employee attitudes drastically impact what happens in the workplace—especially between members of the team. Although the other estheticians treated Connie as their inferior while they waited for the final decision, the interviewer observed their lack of compassion—an essential care-giving component at any skin care facility. Quickly, it became apparent that Connie was a better fit than the other applicants.

Because Connie recognized this, she was able to convince the manager that she would work hard to earn the respect and admiration of the rest of the team. The humility she exhibited provided real insight into her professional behavior. In doing so, Connie made herself an obvious choice for the manager to justify her selection, even though she lacked some of the expertise of the other candidates. Her inner warmth, sincerity and easy-going nature were her most important qualifications.

Recognize your weaknesses