Frequently we’re contacted by people who are in school or another industry and want to break into the cosmetic industry as a formulator. They want to know if there are internships, jobs or experiences that are important for getting a job. So, I thought I’d list what I think are the best things you can do to improve your chances of getting a job in the cosmetic industry.
It comes down to three things…
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to improve your chances of getting a job in the cosmetic industry is to improve your knowledge of the industry. Getting a bachelors degree in Chemistry is most helpful but a Biology or Chemical Engineering degree can work too. You need the degree. Without it, most formulation jobs will be off limits to you. Incidentally, getting a masters degree only helps a little.
But a bachelors degree isn’t enough. You also should learn about the cosmetic industry. Find out what the industry is about as well as the companies, the brands, and the products. If you really want to get a leg up on people competing for those jobs go through our Practical Cosmetic Formulation course. After you complete this course you will know more than almost any other candidate for the formulation job you might apply.
Being well educated is helpful but it’s not enough to get you that job. The number one thing you can do to improve your chances of getting a job in the cosmetic industry is to meet and connect with people in the industry. Now is the time to start building your network of people you know. In fact, 80% of jobs are gotten through networking!
So if you are looking to become a cosmetic chemist the best thing you can do is to go meet other cosmetic chemists. This can be done through the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. Attend meetings. Begin relationships with other formulators. Learn from them what the job is all about. Ask questions and have a conversation. Cosmetic chemists are a friendly bunch. However, don’t just take, take, take. Remember that people aren’t necessarily interested in helping you. First, figure out some benefit the person will get by helping you and figure out some way you can help them.
The final thing you can do is to work on yourself. Critically evaluate yourself and determine if you have the interpersonal skills needed to get what you want. One of my favorite books on the subject is the classic How to Win Friends and Influence People. The basic theme of that book is to think about what other people want before you ask for what you want. Also, read up on how to be the best interviewer that you can. There are lots of blogs with excellent advice.
Finally, if you are willing to relocate you improve your chances of getting a job in the cosmetic industry. Most of the jobs are located in the New York / New Jersey area or in California. If living in one of those areas is ok with you then your chances go up. There are jobs around the country but there are just fewer of them.
There is one other very important thing about getting a job in the cosmetic industry (or any other industry). It helps to be lucky. Most people are where they are because they had some bit of good luck. I know I landed in the cosmetic industry because of luck. My first job offer for an agriculture chemical company fell through so I ended up taking the job at the shampoo factory. And I’m glad I did because I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now.