Making a career switch can seem daunting, but Fiona Hicks tells us that it’s all about making the most of your skills - and your contact book
After years of attending launch parties and events as a journalist, Fiona capitalised on her wealth of industry knowledge and made the switch to become the Lifestyle and Events Co-ordinator for premium skincare brand, Gazelli .
Working for her dream beauty brand, Fiona and her team bring together lifestyle experts to make the Gazelli motto to ‘Live Beautifully’ a reality.
We spoke to Fiona about how she found her current job, her top tips for acing interviews and the importance of networking (don’t worry, it’s not as daunting as you may think)...
GTG: Can you tell us about your career journey so far?
FH: I studied English Literature at university, simply because I loved to read! I dabbled in student journalism and when I graduated, I arranged two weeks’ work experience at a national paper. I was incredibly lucky in that a position opened up while I was there, so I stayed. From there I moved on to another paper to become a gossip journalist (not as glamorous as it sounds!) before finding a lovely job at a magazine. Here I was predominately a Features Writer, but also instigated a Beauty section to indulge my passion for products.
Over the course of three years I was fortunate to try many, many different products, and was particularly impressed by Gazelli’s Skin Balancing Cleanser , £30 that landed on my desk one morning. I followed the brand from that day and when I saw a job had opened up, I leapt at the chance to be a part of their world.
I have moved from journalism to lifestyle and events but there is a huge amount of crossover between the two industries. Both involve creativity, a lot of energy and – crucially – a real interest in people.
GTG: How did you break into the beauty industry?
FH: I was lucky to break into the industry as I did. I spent years going to parties and launch events as a journalist, but always as a ‘punter’. You very quickly learn what works, what engages people and what creates a really special atmosphere. I have always enjoyed learning about people and what makes them tick, so it felt a natural progression to move into a lifestyle role.
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GTG: What was your interview at Gazelli like? What 3 tips would you give to candidates for a similar role?
FH: I had three interviews in total, all of which were very relaxed. The first was with my lovely now-colleague, Laura, the second with our Director, Jamila, and the third was an interactive discussion over coffee with two other candidates for the role. For the latter stage, all the candidates had to deliver a short presentation. I was careful not to over-prepare my presentation – it may sound counter-intuitive, but I wanted to speak freely to show my passion rather than recite rehearsed lines.
My top tip would be to relax and realise that the interviewer is just another person; they are assessing rather than judging. I spent years interviewing people so I know what it’s like to be on the other side!
Allow your personality to shine. A brand like Gazelli forms its team by finding characters that fit with and will continue to inspire their ethos and philosophy.
Lastly, try not to recite lines you have seen on their website, but rather show that you have a real understanding of the company’s philosophy and vision. It’s much more engaging to showcase your passion rather than rehash someone else’s.
GTG: What’s a typical day in the life of a Lifestyle and Events Manager at Gazelli?
FH: There is no typical day for me, which I love! The lifestyle aspect of my job in particular is incredibly broad – it can involve anything from chatting to a potential visiting speaker over coffee to experiencing a treatment from an amazing practitioner to sourcing the best cold pressed juice to source in the Gazelli House!
It also involves a lot of research to find out what is not only new and exciting in the wellness industry, but what genuinely helps people to be the best version of themselves. Gazelli’s philosophy is to ‘Live Beautifully’ and that applies as much to our internal world as our external. My job is ultimately to find, meet and bring together the people who are experts in helping others cultivate themselves. I feel so privileged to be immersed in that all day.
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GTG: What’s the team at Gazelli like?
FH: The team are just amazing. I could write a book on how much I love everyone here! We are quite a young team, very creative, hugely collaborative, hard-working yet always up for a laugh. They genuinely do feel more like friends than colleagues.
Jamila has a unique and nurturing way of working with people too. She really trusts in everyone’s expertise, and allows us freedom in our roles without micro-managing. It’s a fantastic approach because it really cultivates your dedication and allows you to flourish.
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GTG: You found your role through Get The Job - how did you come across it?
FH: I have been reading Get The Gloss since its launch, so came across Get The Job that way! I love the site – it’s unfailingly engaging, inspirational and my go-to resource for beauty and wellness news.
GTG: How did Get The Job compare to other job platforms you’ve tried in the past?
FH: I found the platform incredibly easy to use and for that reason, it felt friendly! Lots of platforms involve registering, filling in oodles of personal details and generally signing away your soul before you can even so much as apply for a job. I really appreciated how this platform was so simple, clean, and put you directly in touch with the potential employer. I also like how the jobs posted have links to editorial content – it’s helpful to have lots of tips at hand when crafting an application.
GTG: What advice would you give to people who want to break into the beauty and lifestyle industry?
FH: My advice would be to network, network, network. It is sounds like a scary concept, but all it really involves is having conversations with people. Be interested in others first. Learn about them. You don’t necessarily need to have an agenda. I’ve found that simply engaging with others has opened up so many doors for me.
Networking doesn’t have to involve standing around at an event with a drink in your hand either. If you want to get in touch with someone, it’s easy enough to find some contact details. There are lots of brilliant resources like Twitter, LinkedIn and Get The Gloss’s Little Book Of Experts . Be bold enough to send someone a message – the worst that can happen is silence and the best that can happen is forging a new connection, a new friendship and possibly a new career avenue.
Follow us @GetTheGloss , Fiona @youngladyfiona @GazelliSkincare and India @indiablock .