Unlike the industries of law, medicine or engineering… creative fields of work very often have little structure to their career ladders. Each person’s journey is completely unique and the time it takes to become really financially stable… is about as long as a piece of string.
Trying to distil the magic of being successful in any industry is not an easy task, but we will do our best. Essentially this breaks down into two key areas you will need to focus on, and always be conscious of:
Consider your personality and do some self-development where necessary
You need to have a strong work ethic. What is a work ethic?
Noun: The principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous.
In make-up terms, this translates to you getting a huge buzz out of your work. It means a lot to you. The early starts and long days are all undertaken with a sense of pride. No matter how challenging or tiring, you live for this industry. The money is a thing, but your work is the mainthing. You work very hard and soak up each moment. Work ethic is often an innate part of someone’s personality, or it develops with maturity.
You need to be nice
Think about it, if you are pleasant to be around and have positive energy, other people will want to work with you. It is really that simple. If you aren’t getting rebooked… could it be something to do with your personality? Do you need constant hand-holding and reassurance? Are you always falling out with people? Are you snappy, angry or difficult? Do you struggle to read other people? Are there problems in your personal life that are affecting the energy you bring to work? Be really self-aware of all these things. Make-up artists are sensitive people (sweeping comment but mostly true). Your personality will be put under the spotlight.
Make-up artists will take a team player over talent most of the time. Being nice is crucially important during the first 5 years of your career. You are not known for your work yet or respected enough to be anything less than lovely.
You need to be resilient
You will be told ‘no’ many times, you will be cancelled on at the last minute, you will be criticised and given tasks that you don’t want to do. Whatever the industry throws at you, you need to keep coming back with stamina and a strong work ethic. Finding work needs to be treated like a full time job. If you are free for a week and don’t have much booked in, get networking, emailing, turning up to events and making other people aware of your appetite for work.
The practical approach to getting booked on jobs
You need to have the skills
It’s no good having a strong work ethic and a lovely personality, if you are dreadful at make-up. The training here at Delamar prepares students to become make-up artists in the broadest and most comprehensive sense. You will come out of here with some brilliant skills. These skills need to be maintained, so we recommend you keep going with your period hair styling and advanced fashion make-up techniques on friends and family after the course.
You need to be proactive
Delamar gives the vast majority of UK based students work opportunities, which open up other opportunities, which invariably create other opportunities. You see how things happen!
However, if we do not think that your work ethic, skills or personality are right for a job, we are under no obligation to put you forward. It is worth noting that Delamar is under no obligation to put anyoneon a job. We do this because we love the industry and get immense satisfaction from our graduates now forming a huge proportion of industry workers. We receive no money for placing graduates on jobs. The course here is not a transactional progression into work, our job is to deliver excellent courses, but we continue to help our graduates for years after their courses have finished.
Alongside communicating with the staff here about what you are looking for, you have to be very proactive about finding your own work. Here are some ways to do this:
- Develop good etiquette with your emails to people: be polite and spell names correctly, do your research and send your enquiries or CV to the correct person. Don’t be nagging or needy when chasing. Follow up in a professional manner.
- Check your emails regularly throughout the day (where you can). So many jobs will be given to the first candidate who replies! This industry is a last minute world.
- Join the right Facebook groups where jobs are posted.
- If you have a job to pay the bills but you find it always becomes difficult with your manager when you get make-up jobs, find a more flexible job. Space NK hire make-up artists and are very flexible with people’s careers. Agencies that place make-up artists in counters are also great flexible options. You do not want your part time job in a shop to interfere with your career.
- Keep in touch with your tutors, they always need help on jobs
- Keep in touch with your class; your fellow graduates will recommend each other for work.
- Research the designers, supervisors and other senior artists within the industry. Know who they are so you can contact them or have the right conversation if you were to meet them.
- Assist if you want to get into fashion – contact agencies of big artists about assisting. This isn’t the only way into fashion, but often the most educational.
- Make sure your Instagram is excellent and professional. No drunken photos, ridiculous selfies or personal rants. You can do yourself massive favours with social media and you can present yourself so badly that work opportunities can be affected by how you come across. Be careful.
- Create a website portfolio.
- Create yourself an IMDB page.
- Attend industry events and work the room (gracefully, not aggressively)
- Check-in with Delamar, tell us what you are doing!
- When you are on a job, whatever role you are doing, make sure you present yourself well – look practical and well put together. We have written a whole section on how to do this here. You can undermine how brilliant you are by looking sloppy.
- The best opportunities sometimes come at a difficult time, usually when you are on a smaller job or have been booked on something else. Ask yourself the question – what is best for my career? You need to master the art of gracefully letting someone know you can no longer work for him or her because Star Wars (for example) have asked to book you. Any designer or key make-up artist will understand. It is worth noting that at the beginning of your career, you are so easily replaced. You should try not to feel anxious or emotional about letting people down. When done properly you exhibit strong professionalism. As you become more successful you will have to weigh up your options all the time. Master the art of communicating openly and gracefully. This is your career after all so be careful about turning big opportunities down, they don’t come along all the time.
- When you are on a job make sure to thank the person who hired you, they could have chosen anyone. Once your job is over, briefly and politely thank your HOD for having you on their team and let them know your upcoming availability should they require you again. The occasional thank you card or bunch of flowers is always remembered. You would be amazed how many people don’t get offered work because they have not told anyone that they are available and looking for work.
There we have it! If you can tick off all the advice above, we are certain you will have a successful make-up career. We can almost guarantee it!