The Savvy Spa Boss

Whether you’re a seasoned pro, or just starting out in the spa or salon industry, there’s always room for improvement when pitching yourself to a new employer.

I’ve seen it one too many times — aestheticians failing to find the right fit or forgetting to be true to themselves — and I’m here to guide you before you make the same mistake with your own career.

Go ahead and earn every credential in the book, but remember that setting your professional priorities and goals will not only help you kill the competition but land a spa job that aligns most with your career aspirations too.

It won’t be easy, but let’s get right into it!

Here’s how to land your dream job in a spa today.

Do the prep work

Don’t get me wrong, your credentials, skills, and portfolio have to shine above the rest, but to reach your true potential, it’s time to determine EXACTLY what you’re looking for in this industry — because sheer passion and determination never fail to impress salon or spa owners and long-term clients.

But before starting your job hunt or finding the right credentials, it’s time to get your priorities and career goals straight!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a career in cosmetology has 12 percent projected growth so it’s time to figure out exactly how you see yourself taking advantage of this industry before you hit the ground running.

You’ve probably heard it before: a goal without a plan is just a wish, and I couldn’t agree more! If you’re not ready to map out career success in this, or any, industry for that matter, it’s time to bow out now.

Aspiring aestheticians who lack vision for their own lives and careers, and who simply cannot keep up with the demands of the job have entered and left my spas like a revolving door of aimless wannabes.

So please, pretty PLEASE….

Save us all some time by doing yourself and my fellow spa owners a favour by gaining an ounce of direction before submitting your resume!


Whether you’re looking for a new job, making a career move, or getting started in this industry, be honest with yourself about the lifestyle you want, the career you aspire to have, the people you want to surround yourself with and the hours you’re willing to devote to making it all happen.

Being as realistic as possible here will set yourself up to finding an employer who propels you to your next big move.

Here are a few important building blocks to consider before finding a job in a spa.

What’s your 5-year plan?

When mapping this out, it’s best to make it as specific as possible. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, outline your 5-year plan by breaking it down into smaller goals, year-by-year — and feel free to create smaller objectives for each of those years.

The point is to get you to setting yourself some achievable goals that will guide your choices regarding continuing education, employer, role and many other areas of your life — because let’s be honest, this industry often has you living and breathing beauty day and night.

Determine your set of values

Can you list your top 5 values? If you can’t deliver a quick answer, you definitely haven’t given them enough thought! I’ve been through the biggest ups and downs of this crazy spa business and believe me, it all becomes infinitely easier when you set these straight.

When it comes to your value system, your career, and your job search, my advice is simple: find yourself an employer whose values align with yours. Follow this path, and you’ll find yourself in fewer situations where you may feel you have to compromise.

And don’t be afraid to ask the spa for its own set of values when you finally land that interview! If they can’t give you a straight answer, ask yourself:  if this a team I really want to be a part of?

Know your rights

Before starting your search its best to brush up on your rights as an aesthetician.

Whether you enter the business as a self-employed individual, a full-time or part-time employee, or booth renter you need to be clear about what IS within your rights, and what IS NOT. This not only helps you determine procedures regarding pay, taxes, marketing and more, but also puts you in the good books of spa owners who won’t be wasting time explaining things you should already be aware of.  

Get the right credentials

When it comes to credentials, this goes without saying: make sure you have the right ones for your desired role!  

A quick Google search will direct you to the appropriate training and licensure required for your position and local governing bodies.

Any salon or spa worth working for will have you test your skills out on a model, so be prepared to deliver while under pressure. And if you feel your skills could use some brushing up, there’s nothing wrong with signing up for a refresher course or continuing education before starting the interview process.

Get creative with your job search

Today’s world offers a slew of career search options so don’t be afraid to get creative while looking for your next employer. You might find the spa job of your dreams on job boards, local online directories, social media, through your network of contacts or websites such as

If you can’t find an official posting, be pro-active by reaching out to spas near you via social media, or the old-fashioned way, in person or by phone!

Do your research.

Before submitting resumes and jumping into the hiring process with potential employers, it’s best to save yourself some precious time by weeding out salons and spas who don’t even come close to meeting your standards. This goes without saying, but you’ll want to dig up any negative information before you start the training and onboarding process.

After pinning down your top job postings and locations, start searching for dirty details — online and in person —  that may clash with your values or standards, or which may become deal-breakers at a later date. Ask yourself:

  • Does the spa or salon hold any health or safety infractions?
  • Is the spa busy?
  • How are the reviews?
  • What products do they use?
  • Is it a new salon/spa? Will you have to build you own clientele or will there be clients out of the gate?
  • What kind of clientele does the salon/spa attract and does it align your ideal or existing client-base.



Prep a professional resume and portfolio

Whether it’s a digital or physical one, be ready to showcase your skills with a portfolio of your best work!

When it comes to portfolios, my biggest piece of advice is to stand out from the rest by leaving your poorly lit iPhone shots for Instagram.

Instead, come prepared with a series of 7-10 professional shots of your work that represent a variety of your top skills — of course only if your skill set is photographable.

If you’re looking to find a spa job without experience and don’t have a portfolio, get started ASAP by reaching out to local photographers who are also looking to build their portfolios.

Regarding resumes, make yours specific, professional and highlight achievements rather than going on and on about responsibilities and work experience that aren’t relevant to the position.

And last but not least, make sure your cover letter conveys your values and enthusiasm for the role, while showcasing one or two of your greatest professional achievements that would be of interest to the spa/salon owner or hiring manager.

Ace the interview

When you’ve finally landed an interview at the salon or spa of your dreams, it’s time to shine like never before! Remember, you’re looking to beat the competition, so at the end of the day, it’s best to bring your A-game while remembering to be your authentic self.

Be prepared to answer some tough questions (link to ‘how to find the right aesthetician blog), but don’t be afraid to bring a few of your own to the table!

Not only does this convey your interest in the role, but it’ll also help you conduct some additional due-diligence on your end as well.

A few questions you may be interested in asking include:

  • What is the spa’s management style?
  • What is their mission?
  • Is there opportunity for growth?
  • How will payment be issued?
  • What are their protocols for continuing education?
  • Who are your co-workers?
  • What are the core mission and values of the spa?

If you’re looking to sweeten the deal, I’ll offer one final tip that has never once failed to get me the job! Leave a lasting impression by returning approximately 20 minutes after the interview with a handwritten note genuinely thanking the interviewer for his or her time. And if possible, leave it with the receptionist as a lovely surprise!

Ace the follow-up

Now that you’ve aced that interview, take some time to listen to your gut.

Being the rockstar aesthetician that you are, you’ve likely landed yourself several interviews, and so it’s time to evaluate your potential choices.

Well-equipped with the right information to compare and contrast spa jobs, take a moment to listen to your inner voice and ask yourself some vital questions:

  • Can you really see yourself being happy working in this salon/spa job?
  • Do you have genuine rapport with your potential spa managers and employees?
  • Will taking a job at this spa or salon fit into my ideal lifestyle?

Get yourself set up for success by following my tips on finding the right spa or salon job today, and most importantly, remember that YOU are interviewing the salon just as much as they are interviewing you!

Don’t be afraid to ask some tough questions and highlight the skills and potential that you’re able to bring to their team — and know that they hold immense value.

When it comes to negotiating pay, remember that an aesthetician who arrives with his or her own clientele means that both parties can hit the ground running and start making money right away! Leverage your existing clientele when discussing your new pay rate but always be prepared for a show that it actually exists.

And if you’re able to show you possess skills that go above and beyond the standard job requirements (e.g.. certifications in eyelash extensions, microblading, advanced makeup artistry training or any other), feel free to leverage these as well for a higher wage.

Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned vet, it’s always vital to your career as an aesthetician to continually grow your client base. Network like crazy, get your name out there and you’ll be guaranteed to reap the rewards in revenue.

If you don’t land that job, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Always be open to advice from seasoned professionals, adjust your strategy accordingly, grow your skills and portfolio, and keep networking as much as possible — because you never know when you’ll come across your next stepping stone.

And if you’re looking to jumpstart your spa job search like never before, be sure to register as a service provider on SpaTemps — it’s a surefire way of bulletproofing your income and adding freedom to your schedule.

About the Author: Susan O'Sullivan

Susan is a spa owner and a self proclaimed serial entrepreneur. She chases dreams full time and aims to empower the people around her to do the same. She has been through all of the highs and lows that this crazy spa industry has to offer and it is her mission to smooth the path for other spa owners and pro’s on a similar  journey.

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