Behind the Beauty: Exploring Pathways and Possibilities
A Conversation with Sean Foust, Career Services
Overseeing Bellus Academy’s career services group, Sean Foust frequently speaks to various organizations, media and prospective students about opportunities in the beauty and wellness sector. And in these conversations, several myths and misperceptions about beauty often arise. Below, Sean debunks common myths about beauty careers and sets the record straight on the many pathways and possibilities available to licensed beauty and wellness professionals.
What are three misconceptions about working in the beauty industry?
Sean: First, most people have a very narrow idea of the diverse opportunities available in the industry. Sure, you can work in a variety of salons, and spas, but there are scores (check out the chart showing 60) of career paths available.
Second, people don’t realize the tremendous earnings potential the beauty industry presents. When it comes to income, earnings are limited only by one’s desire and drive to work hard.
Finally, people don’t realize this is a serious career and success requires hard work. Licensed professionals are responsible for building a clientele, developing customer service skills, becoming versed in the skill of listening and communicating – not to mention constantly getting better at their craft. While it’s hard work and success isn’t a product of just “showing up,” for those who commit to excellence, the opportunities and rewards are unlimited. What you put into this industry is what you get back.
Can you share a few examples of alumni whose beauty education has helped them enter particularly interesting industries/positions?
Sean: Sure, one of our esthetics students returns to New York each season to work behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week. Others have carved out careers as salon owners, and beauty bloggers. One even ended up as the massage therapist on a yacht. And some are so invested in their career and passionate about education, they pay it forward and return to Bellus Academy to guest teach.
How does Bellus Academy help students find the path that’s right for the start of their journey?
Sean: Placement is really a process that begins on a student’s first day as educators get to know a student and understand their aptitudes, interests and goals. In addition to developing experience in the student salon and spa, Bellus Academy works with a network of extern salons and spas. These externships allow students to experience various environments and network with some of the industry’s top talent while still in beauty school. The Bellus Academy Career Services team works one on one with each student to develop a resume and portfolio. Students also receive coaching on interview skills, curating a social media presence and conducting a career search.
Why do you encourage people to keep an open mind about the career path they want to pursue?
Sean: You don’t know what you don’t know, so we try to open students’ eyes to all of the options available. The process starts in a student’s “orientation” phase as we introduce students to the many career paths available. Throughout their education journey, students are presented with the various avenues they can pursue. In addition, Bellus Academy invites leading artists to campus and invites students to attend and participate in competitions. Students also learn via field trips, externships and career fairs.
What is the most rewarding part of your work as Student + Career Services Coordinator?
Sean: There is nothing better than being a part of a student’s success story
What advice do you offer someone who isn’t sure what direction to pursue in the beauty industry
Sean: Keep an open mind. There are endless opportunities in this amazing industry!