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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.

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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. These programs may include coursework in the 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, working within the beauty industry. Additional experience can be gained working in the retail environment, in positions such as counter representative or sales associate. In many cases, cosmetics companies provide on-the-job training to counter representatives in products and how to use them, a beneficial skill in a professional cosmetic sales career. While cosmetics sales experience is ideal, sales experience in any field can be useful when pursuing a career as a cosmetics representative. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), retail salespersons earned a median annual income of $21,140 as of May 2013.

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 only allow representatives to work their own territories after they have completed the training.

Step 4: Consider Certification

Although certification is not required for a career as a cosmetics representative, seeking the designation 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 only requirement for enrollment is payment of the tuition. The CPMR designation is a three-year program; 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. Some representatives become sales or territory managers, or sales trainers, providing education and training to new and inexperienced representatives.

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