"Hi, I have five years experience, give me a call at 207-xxx-xxxx."An on-point massage may not be enough to land you your first (or next) massage gig. When it comes to job seeking, your first impressions should represent your best efforts at communicating who you are. Potential employers will notice your attention to detail -- and they will certainly notice when you fall short.
"Why should you need more than that?"
Your response to a job ad is, to employers, a simple test: "Can you follow a few very, very simple instructions? Can I trust you to provide world-class customer service or to follow a doctor's order on a complex case?"
How to Job Hunt:
• Before you start your search, sit down with a calendar and mark out the days and times you would be available to give if you got a job. What commitments do you already have in place? Be honest with yourself without stretching yourself too thin.
• Consider your long-term goals. It's easy to focus on needing to get paid right away, but be reasonable in your expectations. Once you start a job, you need to build relationships with your employer, other employees, and the clients you interact with. These relationships and related skills (communication, money-handling, etc.) may take six-months, a year, even two years to build. Be ready and willing to tough out the quiet times -- your dedication will impress those around you. (A steady work history will also help you get auto and personal loans.)
• Read the job description and requirements. If your availability or credentials don't line up with what they're looking for, move on.
• Introduce yourself and show your personality! A cover letter is a nice touch to say hello and answer any basic questions that were brought up in the job ad. It’s a way to let your personality and customer service skills shine. Some examples: What do you bring to the table? (Pun intended.) What are some of your experiences with complex cases? How effective are you at rebooking clients?
• Have a resume. Consider the point of view of the person who will read it. Do a quick Google or Pinterest search for inspiration. Proofread it and then ask someone else to proofread it, too. Send it with your cover letter or when asked; bring a copy or two with you to your interview.
• If you seemingly have no pertinent job experience? Write up a list of your skills: massage-specific, customer service related, sales specialities, computer and social media familiarities, etc. What do you know that would benefit a potential employer and their business?
• Have a list of resources and their contact information -- these should be trusted individuals who can speak to your work ethic and character. Ask their permission, first! You may also need this information for your own sake when filling out job applications. Keep a couple of printed copies on-hand.
• Return phone calls and e-mails in a timely manner. 24-hours, tops. If they ask for something specific, get it to them ASAP.
• Show up for interviews. Be on time. Silence your cell phone. Throw out your gum. Be clean and fragrance-free.
• Be professional in your dress, your words, and your demeanor. You don't need to wear a suit, but please don't wear your pajamas or holiest jeans. Keep your humor appropriate. Stay humble -- don't try to demand a high salary if you only just graduated massage school. (Likewise, don't try to tell them they're missing out on your skills if those skills aren't what they're looking for. I've done that. It's not cute.)
• Clearly communicate your availability and any potential scheduling conflicts that may arise. If you agree to work one schedule and then go back on your word -- for whatever reason -- it makes you look bad, inconveniences clients and other employees, and complicates their business.
• Along with copies of your resume and references, bring a copy of your massage license, proof of liability insurance, and your CPR/First Aid certificate if applicable.
• When in doubt, get a tutor, mentor, or counselor or find a career center to help you bolster your job-seeking skills.
• You are allowed to change your mind -- just give your contact the courtesy of saying, "Sorry, I'm no longer interested."
Job searching can be super intimidating and grueling, an additional source of stress and anxiety on top of other life obligations and monetary insecurities. Knowing that returning calls and e-mails quickly is important and actually following through with it can be complicated by a myriad of reasons. Take a few deep breaths. Call up a friend, mentor, or loved one for a quick pep-talk. And then do it anyway.
It'll all be okay. I promise.