GETTING THE JOB
The Right Resume: A professional resume should always include your education, certifications, licensing credentials and any work experience related to the position for which you are applying. For a position in a spa, you will want to emphasize any experience you have that involves working with clients or in a customer service capacity. You will also want to highlight any special certifications you have and continuing education courses you have completed. Proofreading your resume for errors and typos is essential to securing any interview. Have a friend, colleague or mentor look over your resume to help ensure there are no errors or glaring omissions.
SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE
Strong communication skills are required to be successful in the spa environment. You should be able to communicate effectively with your supervisor, fellow employees and, most importantly, your clients. Take advantage of the business and communication classes offered through AMTA, a local massage therapy school, or a nearby community college or university. Before you begin working or as you become oriented with the environment, you will also want to become extremely familiar with the specific policies and procedures of the spa. You should be able to describe the services the spa offers and know which are within the scope of your practice. There is usually an expectation that you sell other products and services and you may even be presented with sales goals. Be prepared to understand the unique “philosophy of the spa,” or the culture and environment that the spa is providing its guests.
THE INTERVIEW PROCESS
What Should You Wear?
At the very least, you will want to wear attire that can be considered business casual. The easy fix is to be proactive by asking the interviewer, “Would you like me to provide a hands-on demonstration of my work?” If the answer is yes, then you should dress professionally, but comfortably. You’ll want to present a professional image, but also allow for freedom of movement to provide the demonstration.
Questions You Should Be Prepared to Answer:
- What are your strengths?
- What areas would you describe as things you could improve, and what are you currently doing to work on those areas?
- Describe a time you had to deal with a difficult client and explain how you handled it.
- How many massages are you comfortable providing in a day?
- Where do you see yourself professionally in a year? Five years? Why do you want to work at this spa?
Questions to Ask the Employer:
- What services does the spa provide, and what additional services will I be asked to perform? What kind of training would be available to me?
- What is the culture like at this spa?
- How many other massage therapists are employed here?
- Will I be asked to meet a retail sales quota? You should also be prepared with a copy of your driver’s license, massage license, proof of insurance and a list of three–five professional references.
One benefit of being a spa employee is that there is generally a support staff to take care of all of the basics, including scheduling and other business needs. Therefore, you can focus solely on massage and your clients, and not the paperwork and other factors that come into play when you are working as a sole practitioner. The spa will generally provide all of the supplies you need. And, working with a team of staff and other massage therapists can provide a sense of community and support. The spa environment also provides you with the unique opportunity to diversify your expertise to include wraps, scrubs, and other services, depending on the rules and regulations of the state in which you are practicing. Coverage for these services may be available in your AMTA professional and general liability policy. Practicing and mastering different techniques is also one step toward a balanced self-care regimen.
“Spa Stamina” is one term used to describe the strategy that massage therapists can employ to prolong their careers and ultimately get the most fulfillment. The rhythm of work in a spa setting can be intense. You may find yourself with back-to-back appointments and with a short turn-around time. Unlike other settings, you usually aren’t able to set your own appointment times and breaks between sessions. This kind of pace will require you to strategize about time management and selfcare in order to be healthy and professionally fulfilled.
TYPES OF SPAS
The most common types of spas include day spas, resort/destination spas, and medical based spas.1 Each kind of spa offers a variety of different services. The different types of spas give you the opportunity to diversify your skill set and gain a wide portfolio of experience. Another benefit is that the continually growing spa industry gives you more opportunities to move or relocate. If you’re working as a sole practitioner, picking up and starting over in a different city may not be the best option professionally.
CONTINUING EDUCATION OPTIONS
As the spa industry has grown, education options targeted specifically toward massage therapists working in spa settings have also increased. Many spas even offer on-site education programs as a way to augment their therapists’ skill sets and bolster employee retention and satisfaction. By attending programs on-site, you can save time and money. And, there may be an opportunity to have your continuing education expenses paid for or reimbursed. Check out courses offered at the AMTA National Convention, AMTA’s Online CE Courses, and seminars offered through your local chapter or other industry organizations.
Questions to Consider:
- Is being part of a team of other employees the right professional setting for me?
- Will practicing with a support system of other massage therapists be beneficial to my work and career?
- How many clients am I comfortable seeing each day?
- Am I comfortable being asked to meet a sales quota?
- Is expanding my knowledge and skills beyond traditional massage therapy practices important to me and my career?