Places to Work as an Entry-Level Hairstylist

Entry-level hairstylist working on mannequin

Hairstyling encompasses many different areas of haircare. It can include conditioning, repairing, cutting, styling, bleaching, and dying hair, along with services including performing hair treatments and providing hair extensions. These are the skills an entry-level hairstylist will use to help people feel and look like the best, truest versions of themselves. The skills of a qualified hairstylist inspires the imagination, creates a feeling, makes a statement or grabs someone’s attention. Their talents can help people make their look iconic.

Questions to Ask as an Entry-Level Hairstylist

  • What is my next move going to be?
  • What are my career goals?
  • Where am I going to get the experience I need to achieve those goals?
  • Which jobs will give me what I am looking for as an entry-level hairstylist?

You can be the most skilled, innovative hairstylist and still be confused about where to start. Where you begin your career depends on where you are and what you want. However, here are some unique suggestions to kick off your career that will help you head in the right direction.

Gain Experience in a Salon

The most common place for entry-level hairstylists to begin their career is in a salon. Cutting, shampooing, coloring, styling and treating hair in an environment gives entry-level hairstylists a high volume of walk-in clients and tons of valuable experience. It allows you to get used to different hair textures and conditions so that you can feel confident in whatever your next step might be.

The Value of Salon Jobs for Entry-Level Hairstylists

Rushing into a high-pressure performance hairstylist job as soon as you are certified can be difficult. Salon work allows entry-level hairstylists to earn a living and become a seasoned stylist. While any salon job gives you the opportunity to impress clients and succeed, it is also important for the you as a hairstylist to keep your end goals in mind. Entry-level hairstylists should find a salon that has an atmosphere they connect with and that has opportunities for experience in whatever they hope to specialize in.

Participate in Small Projects

Fashion and Film Hairstylists

Fashion and film hairstylist jobs are highly coveted and hard to come by, particularly for entry-level hairstylists. It is hard to get noticed or gain experience in such exclusive fields when the hairstylist doesn’t have any connections in the industry. It can feel like it is impossible to find a way in, but don’t give up. Gain experience and build a resume by finding smaller local projects to participate in.

Exploring Connections

Look around any college campuses that have a film program and see if they need a hairstylist. The entry-level hairstylist should get in touch with local and charity fashion show coordinators to let them know that their skills are available for any of their upcoming events. And if the entry-level hairstylist is in an area that has limited opportunities even on the underground level, take matters into your own hands and make your own opportunities.

Fashion Shows

The entry-level hairstylist’s dream may be to create interesting looks for the runway. They may want to work in print fashion as a stylist, so start an underground fashion ‘zine using friends as models. When it comes to getting these high-level jobs, it is important to get a foot in the door and build a portfolio.

Concentrate on Color

Color is an ever-expanding facet of hair styling. Coloration blends chemistry with the artistry of visual fashion for the ultimate self-expression. Now more than ever, people are experimenting with extreme and unique hair coloring.

Techniques for Entry-Level Hairstylists

A job in coloring, even at an entry-level, can allow you to perfect your technique while creating and developing their own color combinations. This is a sector of styling that is constantly pushing the boundaries of fashion and creativity.

Seize every opportunity to help clients realize their personal vision of themselves by practicing different coloring skills. Even small coloring jobs like highlights and lowlights can teach entry-level hairstylists important skills. Small changes can make a big difference if they are made by someone who cares about what they are doing.

Enter Competitions

While this isn’t a job suggestion, hairstyling competitions are a great way to make a name for yourself and gain recognition in the cosmetology industry. They can be difficult to find and get involved in depending on where they are, but participating in a styling competition might be a good idea for an entry-level hairstylist to take advantage of the opportunity.

You don’t have to be the “winner” of the show to gain valuable experience from a competition. Adding a competitive element to professional training can help push you to the next level and allow an expanding portfolio. A strong portfolio and a history of competitive styling experience can look good to higher end salons and celebrity clients, who would otherwise be difficult to reach. It is also a great way to perform under pressure if your plan is to break into a competitive field of hairstyling.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is a good place to expose a wide range of people to your work. There are a lot of different mediums in social media to show off your skills, so it depends on personal preferences. Create a hairstyling how-to vlog on YouTube, a Instagram account full of your best work or create daily hairstyling tips.

Social Media Considerations

However, there are a few things that one should consider and keep in mind before embarking on an online journey to show off your hairstyling . First, it might be a good idea to separate your personal and professional accounts. Having something strictly dedicated to professional work will be less conflicting and more attractive to potential customers or endorsers.

Competition in Social Media

Another thing to consider when creating a social media presence is that it is an incredibly open and competitive route. Being authentic will help create and maintain a genuine relationship that will turn into steady revenue. Try to approach the content in a unique, new, or interesting way that will show off your work in a way that will keep your audience and endorsers wanting more.

Style for a Brand

Commercial styling covers a wide range of mediums. Essentially, a stylist works for a brand and is part of a team responsible for the appearance of their models. This includes styling a model’s hair before a photoshoot to styling an executive spokesperson before a promotional speech.

The entry-level hairstylist may be called on for video hairstyling for product commercials. It is a career path that can provide an exhilarating array of experiences and can offer travel and event opportunities.

Getting Started in Branding

Styling for a big name brand might not be possible right off the bat, but there are plenty of new cosmetic and hair product companies. Look for smaller brands that may have the potential for long term success.

Stay away from quick fix, highly synthetic products and align with natural products that have a greater chance of success without doing harm to customers. It is important to get experience, even if it is with a new company or product line. Do the best to get to know any of the brands before approaching them.

Be Creative!

Dedication to the profession and creative problem solving will dictate how far an entry-level hairstylist will go and how high they will soar. It might not always be easy, particularly at first. Find different methods of making things happen. Try things that have never been done before. Come up with ways to make a path if something isn’t panning out.

Talent and passion can be more than a paycheck. The entry-level hairstylist should get all the experience they can in all areas of hair and cosmetology, even when what they want long term isn’t available immediately. Then they will use their knowledge and experience to get what they want from their career.

Want to Learn More?

Ready to lay a foundation as an entry-level hairstylist that will open unique opportunities in cosmetology and hairstyling? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology first? 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 hairstylist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

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