I just read the news that my former company Alberto Culver was officially bought by one of the “big guys”, Unilever. It has yet to be determined what this transaction will mean to the people who work at Alberto but undoubtedly there will be some changes. This could be getting a new boss, being asked to move, or being laid off.
As a cosmetic chemist working in industry you have no control over these types of changes so here are some tips on how to always be prepared in the event that they happen.
7 Ways to be prepared
1. Keep your resume updated – I dreaded putting together a resume but it is the key calling card to let people know what you’ve done and what you are capable of doing. Read this resume article or hire a resume writing professional. It is a good idea to update your resume once a year. A perfect time is when your company is giving you your annual review. Just review all your accomplishments from the year and add it to your resume. Feel free to drop things that aren’t relevant any longer.
Incidentally, in some parts of the world they refer to a resume as a Curriculum Vitae (CV).
2. Develop your online personality – When HR companies are investigating you to determine whether they should interview or hire you, they are going to do an Internet search to learn things about you that you haven’t necessarily told them. For this reason you need to know what is “out there” on the Internet and control it if it’s unflattering. There are a couple of simple things you can do. First, Google yourself. Go to Google and type in your full name. See what kinds of things people have written about you. Next, look through your Facebook pages and create security settings that allow only a limited amount of information. It’s not good for a potential employer to see pictures of your college day hijinks.
In addition to learning what’s written about you, you should also create online profiles in Linked-In, Twitter, and Facebook just so you can control what information about you is freely available on the Internet.
3. Go on occasional interviews- If you spend any time in the cosmetic industry, you’ll be asked by headhunters (recruiters) if you are interested in potential jobs. Even if you are not interested, you should go on interviews. This helps keep your interview skills sharp and introduces you to new possibilities that you hadn’t even considered. It also gives you an idea of what you are relatively worth in terms of salary / impact on the company. Is your company underpaying you? or overpaying you? Going on interviews will let you know.
4. Continue to learn- Often a corporation will put you on one product line and give you time to become an expert. This is great…for them. Of course, having an expertise is good for you too but don’t pigeonhole yourself into one area. This limits the types of jobs for which you’ll be qualified if something happens. If you’re working on skin care products, be sure to study up on hair care technologies and formulations. Make your own shampoo or conditioner. And if your a hair care formulator, try your hand at developing a skin lotion or cream. Become a Complete Cosmetic Chemist so you’ll have the ability to move to any area of the industry if something happens to your job. (Incidentally, the Complete Cosmetic Chemist training program is an excellent start to introduce you to all the areas of cosmetic formulation).
5. Build an industry network- It might not seem obvious to you when your happily toiling away at a job you love, but at any time it could come to an end. Since jobs are frequently awarded to friends or friends of friends, you’ll want to develop as many contacts in the industry as you can. Help people out with their challenges and when you have a problem in the future, they might be in a position to help you out. The cosmetic industry is filled with nice people and you’ll benefit by knowing & helping them. Joining the SCC and participating is an excellent way to keep up your network. Also, participating in online discussions like the ones going on at Cosmetic Science Talk, is a great way to make connections.
6. Take advantage of corporate benefits- While you might not think you’ll need them, be sure to learn about the benefits your corporation provides and also, take advantage of them. Most big corporations provide money for education. If they do, get your advanced degree! There is nothing that will set you apart from other job seekers than an advanced degree. And having a company pay for it makes economic sense. Certainly, it will be work but you’ll be rewarded in the end. And if they don’t pay for a degree, take whatever courses they will pay for.
7. Experiment on the side- Finally, the only guaranteed way to prevent you from getting laid off or losing your job is to start your own company. Many comsetic chemists have dreams of starting their own beauty line so why not start now? You can create your concept and brand in your spare time and even figure out your formulations. The Internet provides a great way to start small with little investment. You never know where these things will take you. In a future post, we’ll share a new report on how to start your own cosmetic line.
There you have it. 7 tips for protecting yourself from a cosmetic corporate takeover. It can be challening and change often feels troubling. But if you remain prepared you’ll make it through the change unscathed and perhaps in much better shape.
Have you ever worked for a company that got bought out? What did you do? Leave a comment below.