Hundreds of students graduate everyday with their newly acquired Cosmetology license. Some are getting their license in their 30s, 40s and beyond, while most decided to attend Cosmetology school right after high school. No matter what the case is or what level of expertise the recent grad currently posses, there are some essentials things every new graduate must have in order to stand out from the competition and get the job.
Create a Portfolio. This is a must have! Not only as a physical portfolio but also online. When approaching salons, sending in a resume or stepping into an interview, it is important to be able to show with actual photos that the delicate act of hair transformations can be performed. As the portfolio is created, include nothing but the best photos of your work. Remember that the key is to wow the potential employer. Include lots of before and afters and be sure to include variety. An employer doesn’t want to see an entire portfolio of bob cuts, this will lead them to think that you only know one hair cut style (that’s an automatic NEXTTTTT and out the door). When presenting your portfolio, you have two options, create a physical portfolio OR show it within a tablet. If you already own a tablet, we suggest you go that route because it’ll save you the expenses of putting a physical portfolio together. With a physical portfolio you have to keep in mind the cost of producing it. When presenting pictures, it is recommended to buy an 11X17 hard case portfolio, if you want to get fancy, a lot of websites offer personalized portfolios where you can add your logo to the cover (this also looks more professional and will leave a positive impression on your potential employer). There is also the cost of printing, assuming that you’ve used nothing but high resolution photos for your portfolio- LIKE YOU SHOULD- you’ll also want to print them on good quality paper from your local print shop. Before you embark in the creation of your portfolio, search for samples online and try to determine what style of portfolio you want to create.
Create a Website. Once you have a portfolio, create a website and upload it there. Your website should be a representation of you and what you can do. Add your professional work, your recommendations from past employers or teachers, client testimonials, your contact information, etc. Add your resume as well to make it easier for employers to download it if they want. Having an online presence is important. When you give your resume to an employer, more often than not, the first thing they will do is to Google your name. Having an online presence also makes it easier for recruiters and salon owners to find you as they search the web for potential new candidates.
Social Media. Along with your website, you should create public social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc). Use these platforms to upload your work and get your name out there. The bigger your presence and the larger your fan base, the more you’ll stand out to an employer against the competition.
Your Resume. If you’ve never written a resume before, look at samples from other hair stylists, look at samples online and be sure to present a well thought out and “meaty” resume. If you are a recent grad with little to no experience, get creative! Include projects and clients you worked on while in school.
Use Your Network of Contacts. When searching for your new job, your first “go tos” should be your friends and family who are already working in the hair industry. Check with them and put out a call for a job search. If you did a good job networking while in school with students and salon owners, be sure to check in with them as well.
Job Search Online. When you’re ready to begin your online search for your dream job, utilize websites that are hair industry specific such as behindthechair.com and salonemployment.com. If you search through regular employment sites like Indeed.com, Glassdoor.com or Monster.com, be sure to search with specific key words that will help narrow down your search results. Use key words such as “salon”, “hair stylists”, “hair cuts”, and “hairdresser”.
Ok, so we’ve covered some of the basics. Now prepare for your interview and remember, always send a thank you email after meeting with employers.