You’ve just graduated from cosmetology school and passed your state boards, so now what? How do you go about getting your first job as a cosmetologist?
Utilize your School’s Placement Office
If you’re fortunate enough to have gone to a cosmetology school that has a job placement office, check with them regarding job possibilities. Staff members who work in placement offices usually have a good rapport with area employers, and are usually willing to help by suggesting certain places to apply or offering to make phone calls to potential employers regarding job openings. Most placement offices have some type of bulletin board upon which they post any job listings they have received. Placement offices are also a good resource for help with resumes, job hunting tips, and interviewing skills.
Join a Professional Organization
The National Cosmetology Association (NCA), which is the largest professional organization for salon professionals, can provide guidance and assistance with getting that first job, or with finding a new one. NCA has an online tool called YBN Career Hub, which is a free resource for salon owners to post job openings, as well as for job seekers to search for salon and spa openings nationwide. Those who wish to use Career Hub need only to register by selecting a user name and password.
Pound the Pavement
Although sending out resumes and sitting home waiting for the phone to ring may seem like the right way to look for a job, there are better ways. Making phone calls to potential employers, or better yet, calling on them in person are much more effective strategies when it comes to finding a cosmetology job. Ask to speak with the salon owner or manager, and if they are busy or unavailable, make an appointment to meet with them to discuss your qualifications.
If you really want to get your foot in the door of an upscale salon that has no openings or does not consider new graduates, ask about assistant opportunities. Some experienced designers who cannot fit all their clients into their schedule might consider hiring an assistant to perform their shampoos, apply and rinse their hair colors, and wrap their perms. It can be a win-win situation for both of you: the cosmetologist will be able to fit in more clients; and you will probably be paid at least minimum wage plus tips, learn from a talented professional, and maybe eventually land a position in the salon of your dreams!
There are a number of online resources for cosmetologists looking for employment, such as Beauty School Lounge, which is a virtual meeting place for current and future cosmetology students, educators, and professionals. Beauty School Lounge includes a “Conversations” section for those interested in connecting with other cosmetologists for Q&As, general information, news and job hunting tips. The “Cosmetology Jobs” section of Beauty School Lounge allows job seekers to search for and apply for jobs directly with their resume and portfolio. New jobs are posted on a daily basis. The “Online Cosmetology Profiles” section allows cosmetologists to post pictures of their work from school or professional cosmetology services, and is also a good source to find jobs. The “Profile” section is another place job hunters can post information about themselves and their skills, and also display pictures of their work.
As with most careers, the best and usually most efficient way to obtain a cosmetology job is to set up a network with others, including those you went to school with, cosmetologists who are working in the industry, and even the cosmetologist and salon you went to before going to cosmetology school yourself! Friends and relatives are also excellent networking partners. When asking those you are networking with for help, be sure to ask them if they know of anyone you could be networking with, and watch your network grow. The larger your network, the more job contacts you will make, and the faster you will become employed.
Look the Part
Remember to always look your best when doing interviews, as well as when visiting salons to inquire about openings. You never know when opportunity is going to strike, and you need to keep your skills sharp, your appearance polished, and your attitude professional.
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