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Massage Today
February, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 02

Spa Letters

By Steve Capellini, LMT


Author's note: The Spa Letters column features news, personality profiles, trends, and plenty of professional possibilities for LMTs in the spa industry. The style is epistolary, meaning the articles are letters to a fictional massage therapist friend of the author.


Dear Lou,

I'm not surprised to hear that you're getting serious about applying for a job in the spa industry.

There are more spas each year, and they all need to be staffed by competent, professional therapists. Therapists and estheticians in a spa spend more quality time with the guests than anyone else on staff, managers and directors spend a lot of time looking for the right candidates to make the best impression on their customers.

I'm sure you have a lot of questions about what you might expect as you go for and (I hope!) land your first spa position. Since I've been on the other side of the table, and have interviewed hundreds of therapists applying for positions in spas, maybe I can give you a few pointers of what we're looking for.

Choosing the Best Spa for You

You might think that because you're the one looking for a job, you don't have much say-so in the matter. The truth is, a job interview is two-way street, and even though you might not think so while you're right in the midst of it, you are sizing up the spa, the management, and the position for which you're applying as thoroughly as the spa director is sizing you up.

Your job is to become the best candidate you can be, so that you'll be given the widest range of choices. To become the best candidate, it helps if you receive as much training as you can afford in a variety of modalities. You might even consider training in a field other than massage to become a more valuable employee. I know I've often been impressed by candidates who have esthetician and massage therapist licenses. This makes it much easier to schedule those people and keep them busy. Also, you can take any number of workshops on spa therapies to broaden your knowledge and skills. Bring certificates from such workshops to your interview to demonstrate your eagerness to work in the industry. Even though you'll be trained on the spa's own treatments, techniques and products, spa directors often appreciate a candidate who has gone out of the way to learn as much about the industry as possible.

Quick tip: You can make up for a lack of experience with an abundance of availability. Don't try to impress your interviewer with how tightly your schedule is packed with high-paying private clientele. The spa needs you to be available.

Intuition

Intuition can be a powerful indicator, helping you decide where you end up working. It's the radar beacon of your soul, zeroing in on where you really belong in this life. I can't tell you exactly what to look for as far as this beacon goes, but I can tell you it's more of an inner knowing than a confluence of any outward signs or signals. The outer shape and look of the spa may be much less important than you think. It's more a matter of how the people there make you feel. So, as you head into a spa for an interview, try to relax your mind and settle your thoughts a little, so you can tune into the subtle messages that you're receiving all the time but usually don't pay much attention to.

Be aware that some of the most seductively beautiful new spas being built today may lack a certain amount of "soul" if they're not run by someone whose heart is thoroughly committed to a vision of caring, compassion and quality. Too many spas sparkle with polished marble, yet lack a certain inner luster. Some of the greatest spas, where some of the best therapists work, are rather "funky" looking at first glance.

Don't be too entranced by the look of a place. Rather, feel while you're there. Does something about the people in the place resonate with your own personality? Do you "click" with certain staff members? Do you feel at home right away? Can you sense a possible part of your future there?

Résumé

While it might help to present a résumé crowded with highlights from an illustrious spa career, you don't have to worry if you're new to the spa industry, or new to the field of massage. Spa directors know that the character and attitude of their therapists becomes evident to their guests during the hours of close contact that they have together. Therefore, it's important to have a résumé that reflects a high-quality character, regardless of your level of experience.

Make sure to have a couple references ready, preferably with former employers or people in important positions. Judges and CEOs of large corporations will do nicely, but any respectable professional is fine.

It's important to write down what you're looking for, and where you've been. Résumés that start out with a description of a bright individual seeking a challenging position sound better than ones that start by listing the address of your elementary school.

Be sure to include any other character-building experience you've had, such as Outward-Bound, the Peace Corps, etc., and any volunteer work you may have done. Showing a passion and commitment to caring for others is very important because, after all, that's what you'll be asked to do in your new position as a spa therapist.

Like they say, it's more than just a job. It's an adventure in caring.

So, Lou, it's time for me to head out for some exercise. Which reminds me to find work in a spa, it definitely helps if you present yourself as a health-conscious individual. Spas prefer employees who embody the healthy spa image. This doesn't mean you have to hone your body to 6 percent body fat and eat nothing but celery, but if you practice what spas preach (exercise, eating right, lowering stress), you'll be more likely to fit into the workplace.

Next time I have a chance to write, I'll continue with some ideas that might help you on your quest for that spa position you desire, including a description of how to get through the sometimes nerve-wracking experience of giving your first test massage!

Until then, take care,

Steve Capellini, LMT


Click here for previous articles by Steve Capellini, LMT.

 

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