There were a couple of troubling stories that I read about actions taken by some of the biggest cosmetic companies. In one, Unilever reports that they are shutting down a couple of their factories which will result in the loss of 500 or so jobs. Many of those affected used to be Alberto Culver employees (my former company). In another story, analysts are telling P&G that they should restructure their business operations. Moves like this often lead to layoffs.
So what does this have to do with cosmetic chemistry?
Well, part of being a cosmetic chemist means that you will most likely have a job and will be working for a company like one of these. And no matter how well you do your job, no matter how great a formulator you are, they can come to you one day and tell you you no longer have a job. This happened to a lot of people at my former company and it continues to happen to people all over the industry.
Fortunately, everyone pretty much lands on their feet finding other employment opportunities. However, this usually requires significant changes to their lives.
Who do you work for?
There was a time in America when people would start with one company and work there their entire careers. Those days are over. It’s pretty rare now. And if you are one of the people who are in this position, you probably didn’t make as much money as you could have. There is no doubt about it, moving companies is the fastest way to get a significant salary increase.
Cosmetic Chemist Career Tips
Here are a few career tips that I think every cosmetic chemist should keep in mind.
1. No matter who pays your salary, you always work for yourself. Learn how to run your own business even if you aren’t planning on doing it. If you are interested in cosmetics read this How to Start a Cosmetic Line
2. Keep your resume updated. It’s not hard. Just do it.
3. Develop a strong network. LinkedIn is an excellent place for doing this.
4. Don’t burn any bridges. Yes, you’ll run into people you don’t like, just never let them know it.
5. Go on interviews. Even if you aren’t looking to leave your company, it’s good to stay in practice & you’ll have a good idea of what’s out there.
6. Don’t pigeonhole yourself. Take opportunities to develop skills in other areas. If you’re a skin formulator, develop some hair formulations. Be a generalist with some specialist skills. Take courses in cosmetic science like these.
7. Volunteer. Go volunteer for your local SCC chapter. It will only help your career & will help you meet a lot of people in the industry.
Remember that no body owes you a job and bad luck can happen to anyone. Following these career tips can help mitigate any bad luck that you run into. And it can also help keep you feeling confident and independent.
Got any more career tips for other cosmetic chemists? Leave a comment below.