I get asked this question very often, so I thought I would do a little post about it. I have worked at MAC since September 2014, and am employed as a full time Retail Artist. I am so proud to say I work for such an amazing company, and getting this job is definitely one of my biggest achievements and one which I am very proud of.
Being a Makeup Artist and working for MAC in particular have recently become hugely popular, and if you aren't willing to put in 110% then you will struggle to become successful. As there are so many Makeup Artists out there now, you need to be able to stand out from the rest and offer a service and level of skill that nobody else has. Every person I work with and pretty much all MUA’s lives revolve around makeup and this brand in particular, nobody does it halfheartedly. Passion and determination are what makes people successful.
Make sure it is something that you really, truly want.
Working for MAC has been a goal of mine since I was about 13, where I used to live in Florida there was a small counter in a department store and I fell in love straight away. I would go there every week and play with the products, ask questions to the artists, and save up all my pocket money to buy makeup which was far too expensive for someone my age. I had my makeup done there for my 14th & 15th birthday, and both times absolutely loved it. The staff were so friendly and I admired them for how unique they were. I still have bits from way back them which I will always keep, my baby pink lip conditioner from the 2008 Hello Kitty collection is melted and horrible but I will never throw it away!
Since I was little I have been absolutely obsessed with makeup and anything beauty related, and still watch hours and hours of YouTube Tutorials and Hauls. My whole life revolves around makeup and if you know me personally or have met me you can tell that straight away. For years I have practiced on myself and my friends, and it is something I don’t ever see myself becoming disinterested with or not liking anymore.
Make sure you have plenty of experience & the right qualifications.
I am a fully qualified Makeup Artist and have completed a Level 3 course in Special Effects & Media Makeup. The course was very intense and a year long, however it focused more on Special Effects makeup and Prosthetics. If you are looking to do a makeup course in the UK, I would recommend the Level 2 course as it is more Beauty Makeup related. I was recommended to skip Level 2 and go straight into Level 3 as I brought a portfolio of my work to my interview and the college director thought I would be bored in the Level 2 course (as it teaches you quite basic makeup knowledge - eg. how to contour & highlight, color theory, etc). However I still wish I would have done the Level 2 course as I was not as interested in the blood & gore of SFX Makeup. Just keep this in mind if you are looking to do a college makeup course!
Once I had completed my course I was absolutely determined to get a job at MAC, but knew there weren’t any positions currently available in my local store. During that time I focused everything I had into making myself into a professional makeup artist. I worked very hard for a long time and it paid off. I made myself a website, made business cards, and did as much work experience as I could get my hands on. I did paid as well as lots of unpaid work, as I wanted to build my portfolio and makeup knowledge as much as I could. Coming straight out of makeup college not many people give you the respect of a professional (understandably) but I sold myself as a hard working adult and never turned down a job or let people down. I worked on plays, pageants, movies, music videos, fashion shows, and photo shoots.
Don’t give up or be disheartened by not being successful the first time.
Alongside my freelance work I had already been working part time in a retail environment for over 3 years and had great retail & customer service experience, but no actual makeup counter experience. I looked for and applied for every single makeup counter job in my area that I could find, as well as areas over an hour away. I was desperate to get experience and was going to take anything I could get. It took a little over 2 months to finally get a job, and I tried for so many. It was a very frustrating time as it seemed like nobody wanted to hire me, even though I was fully qualified and I knew I would work really hard. I became a little bit depressed in this time as it seemed to be taking so long, and I am very thankful & blessed that I have such a supportive and loving family who push me to do my best. The biggest person who pushes me to do my best and supported me through everything was my boyfriend, he helped me and encouraged me more than anyone else and I adore him for making me the best person I can be.
I went for a position in House Of Fraser working as a Makeup Artist for bareMinerals, and got the job straight away. It was very different for me as I knew absolutely nothing about the brand and was only there for a very short time (1 month) before I got the job at MAC.
Prepare, prepare, and then prepare some more. Know your stuff and own it!
During my time at bareMinerals I saw that a job popped up at MAC and went for it straight away. I checked the website literally every day and was probably the first to know as I stalked that page so much! I immediately handed my CV into the store. Personal appearance is SO important in a company like MAC, so I made sure every single time I went into the store to shop as well as when I dropped off my CV I looked professional and took extra time in the mornings to perfect my makeup.
A week or so passed and I was given a call inviting me to an Open Day at a hotel in Bristol for a brief interview. Because so many people had applied, they held an open day so they could meet everyone in an orderly manner. I prepared my CV, portfolio of my work, and what I was going to say.
Be confident! Make people believe that you deserve the job and show them how much you want it.
I went to the Open Day and was really excited but also slightly nervous, and had everything prepared. I thoroughly knew the History of MAC, the MAC Motto, about its Charity Programs, and all about the products. I did a lot of preparation, and when it comes to things like this I am a true perfectionist! This is so important to do and I never asked anyone for help, I did all my research myself and spent forever perfecting my knowledge of the brand.
On the day I was one of the first to arrive and there were SO many people there, it felt like there were over 100. (There is only one MAC in Bristol so you can imagine how many people applied for this job). The manager asked who would like to go first, and I piped up and said I would go first. I think this helped as it showed I was confident and not nervous! I’m not shy when it comes to saying what I want and I had no problem going first. The interview was short & sweet and they said they would get in contact with me if they wanted me to come for the next interview. When you apply for MAC you go through a series of interviews and if you are unsuccessful one interview, then you are not invited in for the next.
I got a call from the store saying I was successful and was invited to come in for the Business Interview. I was asked to bring my portfolio again, and anything else I thought was relevant. I again prepared everything like my life depended on it (it really did at the time) and went for the Business Interview. It was a little more nerve racking than the first interview, but I tried my best to not let on that I was nervous. Being confident in any interview is so important!
After the Business Interview I was again called to say I was successful and was invited in for a Trade Test where they would test my makeup skills, and I had to bring a model for the day. I brought my best friend and chose one of three looks I was given, I went for a strong winged liner and a pink lip as I knew it would suit my model. My Trade Test did not go smoothly and I screwed up the eyeliner because my hands were shaking! But I talked through it very confidently and gave lots of information on the products and made recommendations as if I were already working there. They want to know that you are confident and can make people feel comfortable and I did just that, so my friend had no idea I made her eyeliner look like terrible or that I had messed up at all.
What seemed like years later they gave me the final call offering me the job, and I will never forget how happy and excited I was to hear them say that I had got it! I screamed and shouted and told everyone, I was so so proud and felt like I was Beyoncé and I had the world in my hands. I started off on a weekend contract working Saturdays & Sundays, and then was promoted to a full time artist. I love my job more than I ever thought I would, and jumped straight in with confidence and did the best I could.
I think it’s important to make sure you have something to offer that nobody else does when applying for MAC, as the company is all about individuality and confidence. So many people apply and you have to stand out from the crowd and be yourself!
I hope this was helpful and if you have any questions please feel free to ask!