There are many things you should do before starting your job search. Sure, you’ll be ready to rock the world of cosmetology, but there are things you need to know to position yourself for success. These FAQ’s can help you learn your options for careers after graduation, where you can find the cosmetology jobs, and what kinds of career services schools will typically offer. From those types of topics, we explore portfolio, resume and interview tips that can help your application stand out. Ready to ace your salon job interview? Let’s do this!
You know what’s amazing about earning your cosmetology license?
With a broad spectrum of skills, you can pursue more careers than most people imagine, once you complete your beauty school training.
Here is a list of some of the top beauty jobs you can think about:
- Nail Care Artists
- Salon Owner or Salon Manager
- Salon Coordinator
- Salon Sales Consultant
- Manufacturer Sales Representative
- Makeup Artist
- Director of Education at Beauty School
- Distributor's Sales Representative
- Fashion Show Stylist
- Photo and Movie Stylist
- Platform Artist and Educator
- Beauty Magazine Writer/Editor
- Cosmetology School Owner
- Cosmetology Instructor
- Beauty Care Marketing
- Salon Franchisee
- Salon Chain Management
- Beauty Care Distributor
- Salon Computer Expert
- Beauty Care PR Specialist
- Research Chemist
- Beauty Product Designer
- Beauty Business Consultant
- Trade Show Director
That’s a lot of options…right?
Now take some time to read about what these jobs entail, to figure out which suits your personality and desire!
Cosmetologists can provide a variety of services, but typically focus on one area, like hairstyling or makeup, in their work. Having your cosmetology license and professional experience could open up doors to becoming an instructor later in your career.
If you want to give facials, help with skin conditions or apply makeup, earning your esthetician license is the best move. You can find work in salons, spas, and sometimes dermatologists’ offices. Your training may include extractions, and other techniques that patients need for skin treatments.
Hair Stylists & Barbers
Do you want to work in a salon, providing women and men’s styles, or work as a master barber and focus mainly on men’s services? Either way, seek training that focuses mainly on these areas. As long as the program includes safety, sanitation, and the hours for licensure you’ll be good to go.
Manufacturer, Distributor, & Trade Show Director
These sound like wildly different jobs – and they are. But putting them together shows how diverse the field cosmetology can be. With your knowledge, experience, and passion for beauty, you can work in many types of roles. There are countless companies that make and promote beauty products. They need people like you to represent their brands. And think about all the trade shows that beauty professionals flock to. Highly organized, strong leaders who love hustling products and showing off the latest beauty supplies and trends should consider becoming a trade show director.
Beauty School or Salon Owner
After gaining experience in the field, you might decide to teach beauty classes to aspiring students. Many cosmetologists are free spirits who prefer to set their own rules, hours, and services. You can also choose your own clients, and set other preferences as an owner. You can also use your creativity to the max when you open and own your salon or spa. If you have this goal, seek training that includes professional skills, such as management, simple accounting and computer skills.
Websites like CareerBuilder, Indeed, Monster, SimplyHired and Jobamatic can be great resources for job-hunting, though they aren’t as tailored and targeted to the cosmetology industry in particular so you may have to do some digging. Don’t be afraid to hit the pavement and talk to salons, spas and other beauty businesses in your area. Your cosmetology school, friends and family may be able to recommend places to look, or even introduce you to their connections who can help.
Cosmetology schools have a strong incentive to help graduates get placed in jobs after they graduate, so many beauty schools and cosmetology schools do offer cosmetology job placement services for their recent graduates. Our survey of 70 cosmetology schools found that 92.6% of them offer some type of career placement services.
Most schools will at least have a job bulletin board on campus that shares recent openings in the area. Many of the beauty educators and school owners also maintain relationships with salons and other beauty businesses in the community, and try to connect their soon-to-be graduates at salons that have job openings available. Some schools even have a job placement coach at their school to help counsel you on careers, interviewing, networking, job fairs and more. Some schools (like Aveda, for example) are also connected with specific salon chains, which could give you a leg up if you’re a graduate from their schools.
This service is not available at every school, but it is a great option to take advantage of when it is available. The admissions representatives at each school can confirm whether they offer such job placement services when you request information from beauty schools you are considering. If they do offer cosmetology job placement services, ask what their job placement rate is after graduation. Click the button below to find and compare schools near you.
This is a topic that is likely to produce a different answer, depending on where you live. Every community has its own employment landscape that affects which kinds of cosmetology careers are most in-demand.
That’s why many students earn a cosmetology or esthetician license. Having one of these two licensures can qualify you for work in the following areas:
- Hair design
- Nail technology
According to the United States Department of Labor, the U.S. employment rates for personal appearance workers such as hairdressers, hairstylists, cosmetologists, skin care specialists and shampooers are projected to grow. Job growth in cosmetology is expected to rise at a rate of 13% between 2012 and 2022 (BLS, 2017) which could lead to greater demand for hairdressers, stylists, barbers and cosmetologists over the next decade.
Employment of manicurists and pedicurists is expected to show a similiar increase, with jog growth predicted to continue at a rate of 16% through 2022, which is faster than average for all occupations in the United States.
Want to learn more about careers you can pursue with cosmetology training? Check out this cool video right now…
If you work hourly or on salary for a professional salon, the company will most likely provide all supplies, tools and products to perform cosmetology services. From your client chair to makeup brushes to root lifter spray, you may be fully stocked by your new salon employer. Some salons, spas and other beauty businesses may also have contracts with specific suppliers to provide the beauty products and tools. Some salons have a specific brand they represent with their products and color formulas (for example, Beauty Brands is a Redken salon) and that brand may be a prime source of continuing education resources for the salon or spa.
However, if you are a booth renter, you are technically considered to be in business for yourself, and merely renting space from the building owner, so they probably will not provide your supplies and products. If you are renting a booth at a salon or other beauty business, or simply choose to work independently at your own business, you will likely have to provide all of your own beauty tools, supplies and products.
First and foremost, we highly recommend joining a professional beauty association that best matches your interest. At the very least, attend some events sponsored by one of the organizations and introduce yourself to some of the attendees. Networking with other working professionals in the beauty business is a great way to pick up tips and tricks to expand your skill set, but it’s also important to meeting people who may be able to connect you with potential job opportunities.
The next way you can make potential job connections is by making appointments at the salons in the area! Get yourself a haircut or a mani/pedi, chat with the cosmetologist on duty, ask them how they like where they work, mention that you are a soon-to-be or recent cosmetology school graduate and ask what the hiring and interview process is like. By making that connection with one of the salon or spa’s employees, you could get your foot in the door.
Yes, a portfolio with photos of your work is highly recommended. When applying for jobs in the beauty business, a resume can be a dime a dozen. But showing physical evidence of the amazing beauty work you’ve done, such as before-and-afters or even just the final products, can set you apart from the pack. Images are the best way to demonstrate your creativity, passion and skills to potential employers.
Taking photos for your portfolio should begin when you start doing client work you’re proud of in the student salon. You don’t want to graduate from beauty school and have nothing to show potential jobs. If you’re about to graduate and you’ve forgotten this step, you may need to enlist some friends and family to let you do their hair, nails or makeup so you can build up a portfolio of images. Try to highlight a variety of different models, styles and services to showcase the breadth and depth of our work. Before-and-after shots are particularly good at displaying your skills. Higher quality images are always preferred, so avoid small, blurry cell phone pics if you can. Eliminate all the clutter in the photo and do close-up headshots.
Assemble your portfolio pieces into a simple, clean, professional-looking binder or bound book (you can usually print and spiral bind your portfolio in your local print shop). If you are showcasing hair, nail and makeup services, consider using tabs to separate each section. If you are designing your portfolio on the computer, include a brief description and explanation of the work completed for each portfolio piece.
Many people choose to supplement the printed cosmetology portfolio they have in-hand when they hit the pavement for job interviews with an online cosmetology portfolio. This is an awesome tool for you to include in online job applications, so you can just link to the portfolio online. Online portfolios are especially easy to keep updated as styles change and your skills grow.
It is just as important to make your cosmetologist resume stand out as it would be in any other field. The basics of great resumes hold true – use proper spelling and grammar, proofread closely to ensure all the information is accurate, and highlight your skills and education that you can bring to the table for the salon. Of course, use a professional-sounding e-mail address (like email@example.com, not firstname.lastname@example.org) for the salon to contact you.
In a cosmetology resume, you will want to highlight the skills and qualifications you have that will benefit the salon or spa where you hope to get hired. Emphasize your extensive education and training, any licenses, certifications or special awards you’ve received. Draw attention to areas where you have exceptional skill (perhaps designer nail art is a strength of yours – highlight it!). In the cover letter, highlight your strengths and traits that make you a good culture fit for the salon environment, like creativity, ability to work on a team, great communication skills and more.
If you have professional experience, by all means include that starting with your most recent (or current) employer at the top of the list and working your way backwards. If you are a recent graduate and have not held a salon job before, instead focus on the work you did in the student salon on real clients. Ask for letters of recommendation from your instructors, and show testimonials from your satisfied student salon clients. Membership in any industry organizations is also great to highlight on your resume.
On a resume for a beauty job, you should clearly and concisely state your career goals. Write a short and powerful statement that clearly states what you are looking for, and why you are the best candidate for the job. Remember, when you are job hunting, it’s all about what’s in it for them. What makes you a great hire?
This is only a brief overview of what makes a good cosmetology resume. For more extensive guidance, check out this article from Mi-Lintee at the Beauty Job Center: “How to Write a Cosmetology Resume.”
We love this quote from Salvatore Minardi, who owns a salon in Madison, NJ: “Be punctual, present yourself professionally in attire, listen closely to the employer’s description of the role and salon position, interact in the interview but don’t interrupt, show an enthusiastic want for the opportunity to be employed at the salon, and ask relevant questions.” It really sums up the job interview experience beautifully! Salon employers are looking for someone with strong potential and teachability, the ability to listen to and learn from their salon colleagues, someone who is able to take constructive criticism with gratitude and a smile. Employers look for employees that have aspirations and goals, and who plan to seek continuing education over time to stay current in the industry. Interviewers also appreciate tailored questions from the employee. Celebrity salon owner Nino DeAngelis says to ask questions like “What types of continuing education will the salon provide?” or “What expertise or mentoring can the owner or manager provide me?” He recommends writing out a list of thoughtful questions – not ones you could have found the answers to on the salon’s website – and bringing it with you to the interview. Bring a list of references, letters of recommendation and satisfied client testimonials to the job interview if you can. If the job interview goes well, the next step is usually to do a technical demonstration to show the potential employer that you have the knowledge and skills to be successful in their company.
We always recommend that licensed beauty professionals in the U.S. have at least a working knowledge of the English language, if not fluency. Regardless of whether your state of interest offers bilingual classes or exams that are translated into Spanish, then you may want to consider English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. It can be greatly beneficial to your education and career in the beauty business.
While at least a working knowledge of the English language is generally required to be successful at job hunting in the U.S., having a bilingual cosmetology education might actually make you a more attractive potential employee for some salons, especially ones that have a largely Spanish-speaking customer base. In 10 years, some experts predict that over 50 percent of the country will be speaking Spanish. Being able to translate between the English and Spanish languages is beneficial in a salon that takes on clients who speak either Spanish or English. Areas like Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Houston will be experiencing a high demand for professionals who can speak Spanish.