Do Your Homework

Landing a job in this market, with so many hairstylists out there, may seem a daunting task to even think about finding the right salon for you. Fortunately, the beauty industry is growing at such a rapid rate – more than a lot of industries – and the population is growing, so more hairstylists will be needed. Don’t be fooled, however. There may be salons you don’t want to work in, which leaves a more competitive market for the good salons. Sometimes these salons even go to the schools to hand-pick the best students. You want to do everything in your power to represent yourself well. Let’s face it, you may have gone to a good school (or not) but you need the experience to grow, and you need the right environment in which to thrive. So do your homework! De Raadt De Raadt

There is nobody better than Jackie Bernardi, who is a master at helping new hairstylists learn how to choose the right salon and land a job. She offers a lot of great resources on her website as well as informative videos. “HIRED! is the only online class designed to make the job search process super clear and easy for cosmetology professionals and future professionals.” Working with her right out of beauty school is a smart move for those who who want to get clear immediately about where they belong. A sense of direction is so important, instead of just landing wherever the wind blows you.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics website contains some great information about the hairdressing industry. There are some stunning statistics about income, percentage of hairstylist jobs in each state, and percentages of jobs available. Check out the maps! Below is a summary.

Quick Facts: Barbers, Hairdressers, and Cosmetologists
2015 Median Pay $23,710 per year 
$11.40 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Post-secondary award
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2014 656,400
Job Outlook, 2014-24 10% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24



This report is dated 2014, so we can only imagine that number is higher today, in all categories, except for pay. As you can see our industry just grows and grows, but if you want to stand out amongst all the applicants, there are some very specific things you can do to be considered as a viable candidate for a salon. In the article by Evergreen Beauty College, “5 Tips for Becoming a Successful Hair Stylist,” Sam suggests:

  • Find Your Niche to Become a Successful Stylist
  • Never Stop Learning
  • Work on Your Customer Service Skills
  • Know How to Market Yourself



Knowing your niche is a great indicator of what salon environment might be best for you. According to an article by This Ugly Beauty Business, in the article,Why Choosing the Right Salon is Crucial”, by Tina Alberino, 

“Too often, salon and spa professionals pick a business based on their emotions or out of desperation. Choosing a salon simply because they use your favorite product line and the interior designer really outdid herself is not good enough. There are a lot of other factors that go into picking a place that will ensure your long-term happiness.”

Create a list of what is most important to you that a salon offers, and what the salon owner should be like. It’s okay to dream here. Read, read, read, as much as you can. Salon environment is okay to dream about, too, but don’t let looks fool you. There are plenty of beautiful salons out there that have no soul. Meet salon owners, meet the staff, read up on the salons’ reputation.

Create a list of salons in your town or city. Go online, study their website, and look at their staff. Ask the question, “Can I see myself here? Is this the right culture for me?” If you have lavender hair color, and the salon staff are all wearing very conservative hairstyles, it may not be the right fit. That doesn’t mean you will rule it out, but just be aware. See how the team dresses. Can you see yourself dressing this way? Be honest with yourself right now. Where do you see yourself in five years? This picture will inevitably change over time, but it informs where you might begin looking for a salon.

[tweetthis]”The salon you work is will be your second home, choose well. REBECCA BEARDSLEY[/tweetthis]

Consider an internship and apprenticing in a salon if you are serious about progressing in your career. This is not for the faint of heart, however. You must be serious about working hard and paying your dues. Don’t be too much in a hurry to get through the the training program. Let the knowledge soak in, and be open to learning. If you assume you already know everything, you will remove all joy from the process. Take feedback as simply that, and change what you can. But by all means, do not sell your self short here. Salons can easily take advantage of assistants, don’t put up with it. Speak up if you feel you are being used. In fact, beforehand, look at the salons’ handbook, and what your job responsibilities are as an assistant. If they don’t have a manual, ask questions, and ask them to please right down what your duties will be.

You can change your mind if the salon is not suitable, or if they misrepresented who they are. Keep in mind that you don’t want to have a resume with a long list of salon jobs, which is why you want to make informed decisions. Your cosmetology career is not an easy path, nor is apprenticing, nor is beginning anything new. Remember to take a deep breath, and give yourself plenty of positive reinforcement and nurturing along the way.



Take your time to create a vision board with all your dreams and hopes and must-haves. Use words and pictures, and keep it posted in your home to keep your dreams ever present. Change it as you move through school and your training. This dream will help you find the right hair salon for you.



Jackie Bernardi hosts GoingPro Mastery, a bi-weekly show that “digs deep into really important business and development concepts so that you build your career on super solid ground.”

If you would like help in defining your vision, click here.

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