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Become a Cosmetic Representative: Step-by-Step Career Guide

While cosmetic companies still recruit independent cosmetic representatives to sell their products, the occupation is actually much more than home parties and door-to-door sales. Cosmetic companies hire professionals to represent their products to wholesalers and retailers, a position that requires some education and experience.

Should I Become a Cosmetic Representative?

Cosmetic representatives are responsible for ensuring that their company's products reach a wider customer base. As with any sales representative, cometic representatives connect with wholesalers, manufacturers, and customers to sell and market their products.

Career Requirements

Education Undergraduate degree required by some companies but not all.
Licensure and Certification Optional but encouraged. The Manufacturers' Representatives Education Research Foundation offers certification programs to help bolster a candidate's authority in the cosmetic world.
Key Skills Product knowledge, marketing, and excellent written and communication skills.
Salary $57,870 (median salary for wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives as of 2012)

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Step 1: Pursue Education

Depending on the company, a college degree may be required for employment as a cosmetics representative. Several colleges and universities offer associate's and bachelor's degree programs in beauty or cosmetics marketing and merchandising. Possible course topics may include beauty business, cosmetic and fragrance product knowledge, marketing, promotion, presentation, consumer behavior, and other related topics.

Step 2: Gain Experience

Some cosmetics companies require representatives to have experience in the field, representing products to either consumers or buyers. Some college programs include an internship component within the beauty industry. Additional experience can be gained working in other retail positions such as counter representative or sales associate. In many cases, cosmetics companies provide on-the-job training to educate representatives in products and how to use them. While cosmetics sales experience is ideal, sales experience in any field can be useful.

Step 3: Complete Training

Some cosmetics companies provide on-the-job training for newly hired representatives, which may include formal education about the production, use, and distribution of the products. Other training may include accompanying an experienced representative on sales calls. Most manufacturers will confine representatives to their own territories after completing the training.

Step 4: Consider Certification

Although certification is not required for a career as a cosmetics representative, it can help increase earning potential and opportunities for advancement. The Manufacturers' Representatives Education Research Foundation (MRERF) offers two certification programs, the Certified Sales Professional (CSP) and the Certified Professional Manufacturers' Representative (CPMR).

To earn the CSP designation, professionals must attend a three-day educational program and pass a verbal test. The CPMR designation, on the other hand, is a three-year program where professionals attend three, 5-day educational programs over three years and pass an exam.

Step 5: Seek Opportunities for Advancement

After several years of successfully meeting sales goals, cosmetics representatives may qualify for new opportunities within the organization. Possible promotions include sales/territory managers or sales trainers, providing education and training to new and inexperienced representatives.

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