Working in a salon is much more than washing and cutting hair, in our modern world it has been elevated to an art form, and rightfully so.
To become a hairstylist an individual must attend school, study and practice, and obtain a license. The same goes for a nail tech, colorist, ethstitician and other salon providers.
If you are looking to cover the whole bag, you can attend cosmetology school. There you will learn about cutting hair, coloring, perms, up-dos, nails, skincare, and hair and scalp health and solutions.
On top of all that, in addition to their schooling, they are required to complete roughly 250-1,500 hours of hands-on training or apprenticeship depending on their specilaity of choice.
In Maryland, where I live, you have four apprentice options to earn those hours: Apprentice Cosmetologist, Apprentice Nail Technician, Apprentice Hairstylist and Apprentice Esthetician.
Working in a salon requires a lot of work, and it doesn’t end once you’ve obtained your license. From there you need to stay on top of the latest trends, techniques, nd styles to remain relevant in the field.
If you currently work in a salon or are looking at becoming one, this article will outline the skills, education, and best practices when it comes to writing your resume.
Resume objective for salon employees
When writing your objective you will want to focus on the various experiences you have had. For example are you skilled with various hair types, styles, and techniques? Have you done extensive nail art or are a hair painter?
You may wish to discuss specific praise you have received, or how large your list of regular clientele is.
Listing your faithful clientele could be a bonus as many people, their favorite stylist from salon to salon, and an employer may see this as a possible bonus.
I followed the same stylist from the age of 14 until he did my hair for my wedding twelve years later.
If you’ve been featured in any article,s or have styled for fashion shoots etc., your objective is the place to highlight those achievements.
Some cosmetologists choose to focus just on hair while others are skilled in several areas such as make up, facials, waxing, etc.
If you do not have much experience or are brand new, discuss any work you may have done freelance or for friends and family, often you will be able to find work as a fill-in for a local salon to gain experience as well.
You could also list experience and feedback you received as part of your internship or when working in a school salon.
Licensed stylist with 5+ years of experience looking to expand her client base and experience. Maintained over a 90% feedback rating at previous employment and styled hair for 50+ weddings. One of my wedding styles was featured in Engaged! The Wedding Look Book. Skille at nail art, dip manicures, and gels. Client list of over 30 regulars.
Resume skills for a salon employee
According to the Minnesota School of Cosmetology, the biggest sill a stylist needs in creativity. Clients may walk in with only an inkling of what they want, or a picture tof what they are aiming for. Sometimes those styles or results won’t work for their hair or skin type.
Your job as a cosmetologist is to discuss options with them while aiming to give them “the look” that they walked in there desiring.
You want to showcase your ability to be creative and list specific techniques you have successfully achieved for clients.
Being a cosmetologist requires long hours on your feet, so physical stamina in a trait you will need in this field. Additionally you will need time-management, and customer service skills.
Every client needs to feel like they are special; not rushed, but you will also need to keep a close eye on the clock so your next client is waiting too long.
Most salons are going to expect you to make sales or up-sells. This could be anything from a conditioning or scalp treatment to specific shampoos and conditioners on the shelf to specialized nail treatments.
This doesn’t mean you need to be fake and suggest products a client doesn’t really need, but you will need to possess some sales acumen and know how and when to apply it.
As Cosmetologist Life points out, the salon manager expects you to make money and a big part of that is upselling. $35-$45 out of every $100 in products goes to profit as opposed to $5 for every $100 on a style.
That’s a big difference, so understanding sales is a key part of being a stylist.
Different salons will offer different services. Some will be your standard cut, color, style salon while others will offer hair treatments, waxing, nails, facials, etc.
Balayage | Full color | Highlights | Neons | Updos | Slithering & Thinning | Upselling | Building Clientele | Nails | Waxing
Salon work experience
The experts all agree that your work experience on a resume is very important. Working in the world of salons can be a “who knows who” environment.
If you are moving from one area or state to another it may behoove you to ask your current employer or contacts in the business if they know any salons or stylists where you are moving and bring along a letter of recommendation.
It is also important for you to create a portfolio so you have visual examples of your work. One simple way to do this is to ask clients if you can take pictures of their hair or other work, such as nail art, once they are finished.
If privacy is a concern you can agree to only take a picture of the back of their hair. You can also ask friends and friends to allow you to style their hair and then take photographs.
Look to see if there are any local publications you could submit your work to such as wedding publications, school newsletters, or lifestyle publications.
Not only will this put your work out for public display but it provides something you can add to your portfolio.
Modern Salon suggests taking the portfolio one step further and creating an online gallery of your work through social media.
Sample Work Experience
Tough Love Salon
Maintained a busy client schedule without making the clientele wait more than 5-10 minutes for their appointment. Upsold to over 50% of my clients each week either through services or products. USe the latest techniques in coloring and cutting to achieve optimal results for clients.
- Colored various lengths and textures with highlights, lowlights and balayage
- Educated guests on proper hair and scalp care and recommended products
- Acrylic and gel manicures
- Maintained a clean and orderly workstation
The Beauty Bar
Provided a wide range of services for a diverse demographic of customers. Skilled in extensions, softening-hair treatments, cuts, colors, and wedding styles. Performed manicures and nail services. Managed my booth effectively with over twenty repeat clients on a regular basis.
- Stayed current with trends & styles
- Kept station cleaned and sterilized and cleaned tools
- Solids sales, upselling to ⅓ of customers daily hairstylist
- Worked a flexible schedule and on call when needed
Cut, colored, and styled hair for customers maintaining a clean booth and time management. Recommended masks, oils, and other treatments for hair based on consultations with clients. Scheduled clients and worked at the front desk as needed.
- Listened and executed client’s ideas, made suitable suggestions
- Full color, highlights and lowlights
- Eyebrow and lip waxing
- Upsold products and services daily
To become a cosmetologist you do not need a standard college education, although a background in business or sales could potentially be useful; especially if you plan to open your own salon one day.
As we read through several cosmetology schools we realized there is no one-size-fits-all style. Some programs can be as short as 8-9 months while others could be three to four years and include an associate’s degree.
CPT Guru states that the average program is typically between 12-24 months. It will depend on which route you plan to peruse.
Cosmetology schools are often stand alone institutions but some technical schools and community colleges have programs on site.
According to Beauty Schools DIrectory, most schools will be a full cosmetology program meaning that you will learn about hair, nails, skin care, makeup, and other possible services.
There are some stand-alone hairstyling schools, nail tech, and esthetician programs so be sure to check out your local and state offerings before signing up for a program to ensure you are receiving the education you desire.
The single-focus programs are not as widely available as a cosmetology program, so you may want to weigh out the benefits of attending a cosmetology program versus the distance you’d have to travel to attend a single-trade program. Keep in mind that a cosmetology program will set you up for more career options in the long run.
When you are searching for a school it is important to ensure they are licensed by your state.
Depending on which school you apply to, they may offer specializations in fields such as coloring, texturizing, nail care, make, retail, etc.
Aveda Arts & Sciences Institute
- Concentration Retail Knowledge
If you attend a school or program that offers specialized courses that are outside the normal scope of a cosmetology program, then listing them on your resume can indicate your specialized knowledge in an area(s).
If you attended a typical program, there is nothing wrong with that, but there is no need to list courses as any potential employer will assume you have the knowledge that comes with graduating from the program.
- Shop Ethics
- Personality & Salesmanship
As mentioned earlier in the article, to practice as a hairstylist you will need a license approved by your state. In general a cosmetology degree will cover nail work, coloring and other beauty services. Some states do not require nail techs to have a license
If you wish to offer any specialty services outside of cutting it is recommended you read your state’s laws regarding licensure very carefully. Some states will require speciality certifications to perform certain services.
Even if your cosmetology license covers additional services, if there is a specific area you’d really like to work in, it may be worth obtaining a specialized certification.
Most schools will assist you in obtaining your license, so be sure to ask!
- Licensed Cosmetologist
- Certified Nail Tech
Complete salon resume sample
Together we’ve looked at the strategies and tips recommended by experts on how to put together your cosmetology resume.
Below is a real job posting for a cosmetologist, specifically a hairstylist, we are going to use this to create a full resume sample below.
This is an extremely detailed job posting, which is a great resource when you are planning your resume. It points out several specific skills they are looking for when it comes to being a stylist as well as sales and front desk duties.
Licensed cosmetologist with 15 years experience working in salons. Experienced in traditional and modern coloring techniques, such as neons, rainbow, and holographic. Knowledge of cuts, braids, extensions, formal, and up to date on modern styles.
Physical stamina | Ombre | Highlights | Balayage | Hair treatments and recommended products | Upselling | Nails | Waxing
Provided quality care to a wide range of clients including cuts, coloring, styling, texturizing and hair treatments. Booked clients manually and electronically and recommended new clients and walk-ins to stylists most suited for their hair and needs.
- Recommended colors and cuts based on client face shape
- Brow, Lip, and leg waxing
- Upsell average of 60%
- Formal Hair, Styled 50+ weddings/proms
Hairaphy Salon Bar
Performed stylized and precision haircuts including shading, buzzer/clippers, short and long hair. Built and maintained strong client relationships with a client list over 30. Participated in company training to advance skills and knowledge.
- Colorist: Balayage, Ombre, Foil, Full color
- Upsell average 56%
- Styled with irons, straighteners, and drying techniques
- Mentored new hires
Jesse & Joe’s Salon
Front Desk, 2004-2007
Began work as a front desk employee. Ensured the cleanliness of the salon, sinks, floors, etc. Booked and checked in clients and recommended stylists based on their requirements. Worked two years as an apprentice assisted with shampooing, blow drying and styling hair.
- Sanitized tools, stations and work areas
- Upsold products based on stylist recommendations for clients
- Shampooed, rinsed and dried clients hair
- Answered calls and booked appointments
- Licensed Cosmetologist
- Hair Colorist – American Board of Certified Haircolorists
Career Beauty College
Becoming a certified cosmetologist and to work in a salon is a career in an ever-changing profession. To stay at the top of your game you will need to stay on top of the latest techniques, styles and trends.
It is also a profession that you will need to gain a lot of hands on experience in order to move to the top.
- A license is required in most states for most work
- Salesmanship is a key part of the job
- Building clientele will help build your reputation
Tips from Experts
“Hairdressers are a wonderful breed. You work one on one with another human being, and the object is to make them feel so much better and to look at themselves with a twinkle in their eye.” – Vidal Sassoon, British Hairstylist & Businessman
“Like a therapist, or the local barkeep, hairdressers are in a position of trust, We are transforming not just how a person looks but how they feel and, therefore, they want to tell us things.” –Tabatha Coffey, Australian hairstylist, salon owner, and television personality
“A nail tech requires 4000 supplies, so charge what you’re worth.” – David Valentino, Owner of Valentino Beauty
While the majority of cosmetologists go into salons and work with hair, keep in mind that there are several career options out there.
Cosmetologists could work for movies or theater, they could become make-up artists for celebrities and magazine shoots or they may become certified as a colorist and never cut hair again.
If you are in cosmetology or are looking to get into the field, take into account which aspect drives you the most, then use that energy to pursue your ultimate career goals.