Being a hairstylist can be a tremendously fun and fulfilling career for those who are passionate about creativity and interested in working with hair. This field provides a lot of opportunities for style, innovation and professional expansion. But what do you need to do before getting started in such a satisfying and stylish career field? Here are some tips that will help you throughout the process of becoming a stylist and securing a salon job.
What a Hairstylist Does
Being happy with your career as a hairstylist probably means you should know what you will be getting into. You will be responsible for cutting, styling and coloring hair. You will also want to help your clients deal with damaged hair, assisting them in working around and resolving certain hair growth or scalp issues as well as occasionally making the best of someone else’s styling mistakes are just a few of the other tasks you will likely face at a beauty salon. You will be responsible for both the health and style of your clients’ hair as their hairstylist.
Formal Education and Official Training
Once you have determined that being a hairstylist is a job that you are interested in you will need to get serious about achieving that goal. There are real steps that need to be taken for that to happen. The first of those is to become officially certified as a stylist. If you want a job in a beauty salon, they are going to need official proof that you know what you’re doing. Your enthusiasm will help you soar, but it won’t get you in the door. There are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind during this step.
Pick and Complete a Certification Program
Deciding on the right training program is the first step you’ll take on the road to success in the beauty industry. You will want to find a program that is a good fit for your goals and fits in with the other demands of your life. Choose a school with qualified staff that will help you get started on solid footing and a reasonable program you feel confident you will be able to complete.
Aside from the general certification that all hairstylists are required to have there are other programs and classes that go into more depth in specific areas. If you have your heart set on a specific career path in hair that isn’t a general salon job it might be a good idea to get specialized training in that specialized field. For example, if you would like your trademark service to be braids you are going to want to dedicate extra time to perfecting and expanding that skill. This may mean additional education along with more time dedicated to practice and research.
Looking for the Right Jobs
The next step after completing your vocational education is to put it to good use. Once your education is complete you will want to find the job you want, or at the very least you’ll want to find a beauty salon you’d like to try working at. However, the next step isn’t always as simple or clear for everyone as just picking. Some people have clear career paths in mind while others aren’t exactly sure about their professional direction. Here are some tips for those of you who are still figuring it out or need a little help in the planning department on your way to the perfect job.
Determine Your Personal Career Criteria
You know what kind of beauty salon job you want, but there are other things that you need to consider. Take a look at the responsibilities of your life and begin to look for jobs and salons that will be compatible with the responsibilities you already have. Do you need to work late nights? Early mornings? Are you looking for a permanent job in a beauty salon? Or are you hoping to gain experience in order to achieve a bigger goal? Are you wanting to work for a company that values internal growth so that your career has direction without you having to find a new job? These are all things you should also be thinking about when you are scouting out the perfect job.
When to Start Looking
Most people may assume that job hunting happens once your education is complete. However, depending on where you live, this can leave you feeling a tremendous amount of pressure to immediately secure a job the moment you graduate. This kind of pressure can lead to you overlooking things and making quick decisions about the jobs you take and the salons you work for. If possible, begin researching salons and looking at jobs during your training. You’ll have a good feel for what people in your area are looking for and you won’t feel pressured or rushed into something at the last minute.
Hairstylist Salon Jobs to Choose From
Generally, there are four different categories of hair styling work that happens in salons. There is coloring, treating, cutting and styling. There are more specialized fields within each of those groups but those are the four basic departments of hair work in a salon. Hairstylists responsible for coloring hair transition and dye hair to have a certain color or effect. Hair treatments, such as deep conditioning, chemical relaxation and perms are also crucial parts of the profession. Cutting hair will mean making sure your client’s hair is cut or trimmed to the length and style they want, and styling is manipulating that hair to look a certain way using various tools and techniques. Those are the four broad areas of hair styling you can choose to focus on.
How To Find The Right Salon Job
Keeping a close eye on hairstylist job listings never hurts, but there are other things you can do to help secure the beauty salon job that you want. You can start by following and keeping up with various salons of interest on social media. That way you are quickly aware of any events they are hosting, or job fairs they may be participating in so that you can show up prepared to make your best impression. Posting your resume to certain job sites may also be helpful.
You can also stop by a in person and get a feel for the atmosphere of any of the salons you’re considering. If it feels appropriate and you aren’t interfering or imposing, you may want to ask some of the people working there if there are any positions available and what they think of working there.
Getting Salon Jobs
The obvious follow-up to figuring out your dream career in the beauty field of hair styling is going out and getting it. You have been trained, you’ve got your eye on the prize and now it’s time to take your shot. Your training has given you the skill, your talent has given you the edge, your passion has given you the drive, but none of this guarantees you professional success or a fulfilling salon career. You will need to utilize a different set of skills and information to get the kind of jobs you want. Let’s look at some tips to keep in mind to make the job hunt less stressful and more successful.
Presentation Is Important (In Person and On Paper)
It may not seem like it should matter, but it does. How things look determines whether a first impression gets off to a good start. No one is suggesting that you completely change your style or make yourself uncomfortable in order to get a job, but there are minor adjustments to any style that can polish your look and the look of your resume. When it comes to you personally, remember to project confidence and competence. Cleanliness and organization are important at a salon There are a lot of different formats and language you can choose from for your resume. The basic things to remember about presenting yourself on paper are honesty, clarity and brevity. Be honest about what you know and what you’ve done, choose words that aren’t confusing or misleading and keep it short when you can.
Preparation is Key
When you get on the phone or in a room with a potential employer it can be a bit scary, especially if you are caught off guard. These things can happen quickly. Nerves creep in and it can be easy to get lost in thought or lose your place in what you are saying if you don’t have a plan. This is why you should practice and prepare for interviews and impromptu job opportunities before they happen. Try to think of questions you might be asked and answers you might want to give. Make a list of professional strengths and qualities you want to highlight about yourself and brainstorm a few questions you’ll want answered, too.
Dealing with Interview Anxiety and New Job Jitters
It is not often that success is achieved without any obstacles. Interviews and first day nerves are just a couple of the hurdles you will need to clear on your path to lasting success in the beauty industry. The helpfulness of specific stress relief techniques varies from person to person but there are some general things you can do to help refocus all that nervous energy. You can begin by reminding yourself that you are capable. You have been trained, you have been tested and you have all the skills and tools you need to get the job done.
Look at the Big Picture
It can also be helpful to pull back and look at the big picture. Sometimes we can get wrapped up in the hypothetical specifics and single interaction. No matter what the specific questions are the goal of any interview is to find out if you are qualified for the position and compatible with the salon. Stay focused on that reality when you feel yourself getting caught up in the “what if’s” of your interview.
Consider Looking Outside Salons
Starting your career in a salon is an excellent way to gain experience and get a feel for hair styling. In these times it is good to remind yourself that there are other options until you find the job you are looking for. Your success outside the box will be determined by the level of your dedication and the capacity of your creativity and innovation.
Want to Learn More?
Did learning about how to get a job at a beauty salon interest you? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting. We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. You will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.