Cosmetologist Resume Examples (+ Free Templates)

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You get enormous pleasure from making other people look and feel good. That’s why you decided on a career in cosmetology. 

You know you’re good at your job and you want to improve your prospects. So you’ve been searching through cosmetologist job posts and have found the perfect position.

Now all you need to do is craft a resume that will help you to stand out head and shoulders above the other applicants. We are here to help you write one. 

Resume objective for a cosmetologist

The job prospects for barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists aren’t great right now. 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2019 there were 722,600 jobs in the industry, but by 2029 this figure will have declined by 1%. 

Barbers appear to be slightly more popular (and better paid) than cosmetologists, hairstylists, and hairdressers, because of increased demand for hair straightening and hair coloring as well as advanced hair treatments that have become trendy.

The reason they give for a decrease in demand for cosmetologists, hairstylists, and hairdressers is that consumers are tending to choose professionals who specialize in manicures, pedicures, and skincare treatments. 

Nevertheless, the BLS predicts that job opportunities will be good overall because of the need to replace workers who retire or change careers. They do, though, caution that workers should expect a lot of competition for jobs at higher-paying salons because there are relatively few of these. 

What this means is that when you apply for a cosmetology job you will be competing with a very large pool of experienced people. 

You need a well-written, carefully crafted resume that recruiters and employers will notice and like. A resume objective isn’t a must, but if it’s short and stands out, it could help you.

Sample Objective

Licensed cosmetologist with more than ten years of experience providing beauty solutions to clients. Provides scalp and facial treatments and makeup analysis. Excels at hair styling. 

Resume skills for a cosmetologist

The basic skills required for cosmetologists’ jobs relate to creative hairstyling cuts, coloring, scalp and facial treatments, makeup, modern nail technology including manicures and pedicures, skin care, facials, and salon management. 

According to the Office of Career Services at Mildred Alley, which has schools in New York and Massachusetts, in addition to customer service and interpersonal skills, creativity, active listening, positivity, stamina, dexterity, good grooming habits, and time management are all vital skills for cosmetologists.

Additionally, they obviously need the technical skills required to excel at haircutting and styling, hair coloring, the application of makeup, and both manicure and pedicure services.  

Cosmetologists must be licensed in the state in which they work and to qualify for a license, they need to study and graduate from a state-approved cosmetology program. 

While at college, they learn about the tools and equipment needed to work as a cosmetologist including hair cutting scissors, brushes, and nail files. They also learn about chemistry so that they can mix hair colors and safely work with other chemical treatments. 

Because cosmetologists recommend products, they need a thorough knowledge of these. 

There may also be additional skills that are specified when a job is advertised so take care to match the employer’s needs as closely as you can. 

Sample Skills

Enthusiastic | Friendly | Professional | Hairstyling | Manicure/pedicure | Facials | Hair therapy | People-oriented | Excellent communication | Good product knowledge | Keen achiever

Cosmetologist work experience

A career in cosmetology offers a host of work opportunities. 

According to the BLS, most barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists work in salons or barbershops. There are also a lot of jobs available in resorts, spas, and hotels. Sometimes salon owners prefer to lease booth space rather than employ people, allowing them to benefit 100% from the work that they do. 

We sampled more than 30 adverts for cosmetologist jobs and found that most of them required applicants to have some experience. In addition to a specified time period, some called for a particular type of experience, working with wedding parties or paying guests for example. 

Because there are parallel skills and training, we also found that job posts frequently combined similar occupations in adverts. Sometimes cosmetologists choose to specialize in these fields. 

Some examples include a Cosmetologist / Resident Beautician, a Spa Cosmetologist / Stylist, Cosmetologist / Esthetician, Barber or Cosmetologist, and Hairstylist / Cosmetologist.

When you list your work experience it is perfectly acceptable to include overlapping occupations, though it is wise to ensure that the job description fits. For instance, there’s no point in including work experience as a skincare specialist if the position is specifically for hair cutting, styling, and coloring. 

Sample Work Experience

Timber Resorts, CO

Cosmetologist, 2018 – 2019

Responsible for performing hair, facial, waxing, and nail services following the required protocol. Performed support tasks associated with providing the services assigned including stocking and inventory of supplies. 

  • Worked courteously and professionally while exceeding the high standards of the resort.
  • Explained methods and techniques to be used to customers and suggested suitable preferences for individuals, for example, color.
  • Answered constant customer queries and resolved service issues. 
  • Recommended a range of products to customers and increased sales by 22%. 

Grand Falls Casino, IA

Cosmetologist, 2016 – 2017

Provided exceptional guest services of grooming, hair styling and cuts, color, scalp and facial treatments, manicures, pedicures, body treatments, and makeup analysis. 

  • Attended, participated in, and supported training and staff meetings and huddles. 
  • Maximized the scheduling framework using good time management skills. Profits increased by 15% during this period of time. 
  • Underwent continued education in the field of hair therapy techniques and Iowa sanitation regulations.
  • Performed regular guest consultation and post-treatment recommendations to educate guests on products. 

Tioga Downs Spa, NY

Cosmetologist, 2015 – 2016

Worked as a skincare and nail specialist providing excellent guest service. Administered professional facials, waxing services, and select body treatments to guests. Performed professional nail, hand, and foot treatments.

  • Actively supported the company culture of creating a fun and entertaining experience for all guests.
  • Provided consistent professional facial and body treatments in line with spa protocols and accepted certification practices.
  • Actively promoted the spa, the available treatments, services, sessions, as well as programs, promotions, and any available discounts. Sales increased by 15%. 
  • Meticulously upheld the standards of sanitation and sterilization in terms of laws and regulations as well as the spa’s policies and procedures.

Cosmetologist education

Anyone who is at least 16-years-old who has a high school diploma or equivalent general education diploma (GED) can enroll in an accredited, state-licensed cosmetology school.

This is important because all cosmetologists throughout the US must be licensed to practice. 

Typically, cosmetology certificate programs or diplomas take anything from 9 to 15 months to complete, and they are available from technical and community colleges. You will also find that there are some specialist cosmetology schools. 

As points out, cosmetology education requirements vary slightly from state-to-state, but they are also very similar. Because of the nature of the occupation, cosmetology programs are not usually available online., but some options combine hands-on practical work with online study. 

Some colleges offer associate’s degrees, which are the highest qualification available to cosmetologists. These are normally two-year programs that combine hands-on and academic training. 

Sometimes cosmetology students choose to specialize in related fields like esthetics, which enables them to provide professional skincare services including facials and body wraps that minimize the effects of aging and counter the consequences of excess sun exposure. 

Generally, training programs require between 1,000 and 2,100 hours for completion, which results in candidates becoming eligible to take the state licensure exam. Some states allow cosmetologists to complete an apprenticeship instead.

Sample Education

Remington College

Cosmetology Associate Degree, 2017 – 2018

Mildred Elley

Cosmetology Certificate, 2017


Even though online education for cosmetology certificate programs is not the norm, there are online and college-based continuing education courses for licensed cosmetologists. Just make sure that they are state-accredited. 

For example, Cosmetology Edu classes are available in Texas and North Carolina for certification, license renewal, and continuing education.

Their courses are four hours and cover topics that include sanitation and health and safety for manicurists, estheticians, and operators, with the addition of nail health, skin health, or hair health, depending on the course. One-hour general health and sanitation courses are also available.  

HairDirections offers a wide range of state-approved cosmetology continuing education in several states including Georgia, Illinois, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin. These cater primarily for license renewal. 

Sample Courses

  • Health and Sanitation for Cosmetologists
  • Sanitation, Hair Health, Health & Safety


According to the Institute for Justice, cosmetology is the fourth most widely licensed occupation in the US, and all states require cosmetologists to have a license to work. 

The National Association of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NACAMS) has a comprehensive directory of what each different state requires in terms of education, training, and licensing. 

Note that estheticians, who focus on skincare and makeup, also need a license to work, but some states accept a cosmetology license. 

So, if you’ve been working as a cosmetologist and decide to operate as a professional esthetician as well, check with your state’s department of licensing and regulation to see whether you need a second license. 

Sample Certifications

  • State Cosmetologist License

Complete cosmetologist resume sample

When we researched job posts for cosmetologists we chose an advert that we have used to show you how to write a tailored resume for a real position. 

You will see that the position is for a cosmetologist/hair stylist at a medical center in Florida. The job description includes hair and beauty services as well as nail (which would be pedicure and manicure) services.

The most important skills and abilities required are listed, including the need to be organized and the ability to multitask. 

Applicants must have a high school or equivalent diploma and experience. They want someone who has graduated from an accredited beauty school which means that they don’t want someone who learned the trade as an apprentice. 

An up-to-date Florida license is also needed.  

Cosmetologist/Hair Stylist


Highly competent cosmetologist with five years of experience doing hair, skincare, and nails. Beauty school graduate with Florida license. Ready to put my face and expertise to your brand.


Organized | Excellent hairstylist and technician | Manicure, pedicure, and nail art | Enthusiastic and friendly | Highly professional | Comprehensive product knowledge | Health and cleanliness

Work Experience

Shaner Hotel Group, FL

Spa – Full Cosmetologist, 2019 – 2020

Performed hair and make-up services in keeping with the established guidelines of the company. Maintained the highest level of product knowledge, including complex ingredients, and recommended suitable products for individual customers. 

  • Used a variety of techniques suitable for different skin tones and both formal and informal events. 
  • Assessed contraindications of guests when necessary.
  • Recommended retail products for home use and was instrumental in increasing sales by 14%.
  • Undertook all types of hair cutting and styling techniques including the use of extensions and braids. 

Headlines Salon, FL

Cosmetologist/Hair Stylist, 2017 – 2019

Created flawless haircuts and hairstyles using a combination of basic and advanced techniques. Applied colors and hair care products including oils and masks. 

  • Created hairstyles for everyday looks and formal events including buns, braids, and ponytails. 
  • Recommended styles and cuts that suited face shapes and personal taste.
  • Formed bonds with loyal customers and increased my customer base by 60%. 
  • Ensured the salon’s beauty stations were always tidy and tools sterilized after appointments. 

The Zen Beauty, FL

Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Nail Technician, 2016 – 2017

Provided nail care treatments including painting designs and applying gel and acrylic nails. Gave hand and foot massages. Prepared and cleaned beauty stations in between appointments and sterilized equipment.

  • Obtained my Florida Cosmetology Certification in the first week of employment. 
  • Took an advanced course on nail art and passed with an A+.
  • Recommended colors, rhinestones, and acrylic nail designs to customers to suit their preferences. 
  • Sold hundreds of treatments and beauty products. 


  • Active Florida State cosmetologist license


Fortis Institute, Penascola

Cosmetology Diploma, 2015


  • Nail Art
  • Health and Sanitation for Cosmetologists

Key Takeaways

Cosmetology is a popular career for men and women but there are discrepancies in terms of pay. If you want a well-paid position you will need to sell yourself even better than you’ll be selling the products and services of the company you want to work for. 

This means you need a well-crafted resume that will catch the eye and attention of recruiters and win you the chance of an interview. 

  • There are arguments against and in favor of including an objective in your resume. Generally, the argument against it is that traditionally it focused on stating the obvious, that you want the kind of job that is being advertised. So if you do include an objective, rather focus on your talents and skills as they relate to the job.
  • You need technical skills and a license to work as a cosmetologist. Make sure you show potential employers that you have these and that the license is current. 
  • Cosmetology is a service job and it takes people skills to succeed. Make sure you present yourself as having these skills. 

Tips from Experts

“Talk about your achievements and goals, your accomplishments … celebrate, celebrate, celebrate. These are really great things that are going to be selling points when an employer is looking at your resume and they are pre-screening you before they even get you in the door. Also, talk about your mission and your objective and what you are trying to achieve with this particular employer.” – Eddie Vargas, Salon Staffing Concierge

“I always bullet-point my resume. It’s easier for employers to read and you will stand out a little bit better. First I have Objective. This is where I have bullet points explaining my characteristics and my work habits. Strong communication skills and attention to detail. Ability to catch on quickly to office responsibilities. Passionate about the esthetics field. Little bullet points like that will catch their eye and will set you apart from other people. Then go on to work history and experience.” – Ashley Olinger, esthetician

“On some resumes it will say, My objective is to work in an industry that is fulfilling … Please don’t put that on a resume. I’m going to look at it and move it away. Other people are going to look at it and move it away! It’s going to say, I want to work in makeup! I know that. Make your name really big and keep it simple. Say what you do – hair, makeup, DP, but keep it super-simple.“ – Shannon Thompson, celebrity make-up artist


Being a cosmetologist is rewarding but hard work and some jobs are better paid than others. To ensure your resume is head and shoulders above all the others you need to show that you are highly skilled, passionate, and you have strengths that the company is looking for. 

Your resume should be short and relatively simple, but it must make a statement. Use the tips we have provided in this article together with any information you can glean from the job post and the company website. 

Be sure to target the needs of the company.


In addition to our own expertise as professional resume consultants, for every resume guide we write, we curate dozens of recent job postings and resumes to make sure all our recommendations align with current trends for each specific industry and career path. Learn more about our methodology here. 

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Michelle Reed | Sr. Resume Advisor

Michelle Reed | Sr. Resume Advisor

Michelle has worked in recruiting & HR for 10 years and has taught resume writing at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She has helped build teams at two large startups (Wyzant and, currently, Brilliant) in the last decade, which means she views hundreds of resumes per day. Michelle guides our overall resume value system, ensuring our recommendations are high-quality and effective in the current job market.

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