Congratulations! You have just finished beauty school. Now what?
In a perfect world, you’d go to cosmetology school, learn how to maximize your talents, get your license and easily land a job at a high end salon.
That’s not typically the reality, though.
Don’t despair. You don’t have to be resigned to spending your days living from paycheck to paycheck. There are some things you can do to land a great job and I’m going to show you how.
1. Examine your goals. This is a simple step, and one of the most overlooked. You need to set professional goals, but first you need to look within yourself. What did you most enjoy about beauty or barber school? Do you have a talent for creating precision cuts? Are you extra creative with color? Can you apply makeup as if you’re an artist painting on a canvas? You need to identify your creative strengths and work with those. If there is something that you absolutely do not enjoy doing, then there is no reason for you to have to do it for the long term. Acknowledge your own strengths and market them. Do you want to be a master stylist one day? Is it your dream to be a top colorist? You need to think about these things when you are starting your job search. When you first start school you should have a road map of where you want to go and how you are going to get there. The earlier the better. When you set short and long-term goals it keeps you focused and on the prize.
2. Look the part. Appearance matters in the beauty industry. When you are heading into the salons, shops or spas for interviews, you will want to walk in as if you already work there. Make sure your hair and makeup are on trend and that you’re dressed the part. You want the salon hiring team to be able to picture you on the salon floor -right when they meet you. This will make you to appear more knowledgeable, professional, and confident. You may have heard this advice before mentioned in the corporate world. Interviewees are often advised to dress as if they already have the position for which they’re applying. The same can easily be applied to the beauty industry.
3. Keep on learning. What? You’re probably thinking…I just completed 18 months of school, but the truth is that learning never ends. You need to keep learning. This industry is constantly evolving. Make it a goal to regularly sign up for advanced classes. For example if you are sitting in your interview and you let the hiring professional know that you have just finished an advanced cutting class and that in two months, you’re attending a coloring course from a popular company, then you can and will be much more marketable to the Salon. You have to stay on top of the latest trends and techniques. When the salon sees that you are aware of this and is willing to keep learning, you will already have a major edge over the competition. In fact, another tip for when you are being interviewed is to ask the hiring professional about future educational activities planned for the salon.
4. Be willing to assist. Why should you even think of being an assistant when you have gone through your training and is ready to be on your own? If you have your heart set on being at an exclusive salon (which will equate to more pay, generally, with the higher cost of services), be aware that you most likely will not get hired fresh out of cosmetology or barber school. Salons of this caliber usually want you to prove yourself first. No one wants to be an assistant, but you would be under the direct supervision and training of one of the top stylists at the salon and he or she will give you valuable feedback about where your talents lie and how you can improve. This is a great way to get your foot in the door and land a full-time job all on your own.
5. Create a portfolio. It doesn’t have to be expensive, nor does it have to be too fancy. Grab your friends and family and take pictures to showcase your work and your abilities. If you can walk into the interview and have something to show the salon manager that highlights your talents, you will also have that extra edge to get the job.
6. It’s okay to start off at a chain. If you are having trouble finding a job, there is nothing at all wrong with working at a quick-paced chain. No, you will not necessarily have a chance to build a clientele or have that creative independence you would have at a larger, higher end salon, but this will keep you on target, especially in the cutting arena. You don’t want to put those shears down and stop using them. Practice, practice, practice. It’s what makes you better. If you need to, this is a great first step to heading you off on the career path that you desire.