The beauty industry is a great industry to work in because it requires little postsecondary education, allows you to help people feel good about themselves, involves a ton of fun and creativity, and provides the opportunity for you to make a good living if you are skilled at it. Fortunately, there are a variety of careers in the beauty industry for you to choose from. You just have to take the right steps to get there and stay there.
The Path to Becoming a Pro in the Beauty Industry
1. Decide on a Career
There are many careers in the beauty industry (e.g. hairdresser, makeup artist, nail technician, esthetician, etc.). Talking to those who actually work in the career that you are interested in and shadowing them is the best way to determine if a particular career is right for you.
2. Complete the Necessary Education and Licensure Requirements
Each career in the beauty industry has its own specialized program and various program lengths and requirements. Most programs are less than a year-long if they are attended full-time or two years longer if they are attended part-time. A written and/or performance-based test is often required for licensure.
3. Create a Portfolio
Start creating a portfolio while you are still in cosmetology school. You will start working on people while you are still in school, so start taking pictures of your work (with the client’s permission) to include in your portfolio.
4. Find a Job
Start building a network in cosmetology school to have job prospects when you graduate. Develop a good relationship with your instructors by being personable, demonstrating hard work, and going the extra mile to prove yourself worthy of a reference to a salon that is hiring.
Tips for Succeeding in the Beauty Industry
● Be Sociable
A good professional in the beauty industry is both effective at their beauty skills and sociable because your entire day is centered around spending time with all different clients. Be kind and personable to all clients, even the ones you do not like. Keep conversations topics light (e.g. work, school, children, shopping, etc.), and avoid hot button topics (e.g. politics, religion, sex, etc.).
● Listen Carefully
You must listen carefully to hear what your client wants. Making mistakes, especially irreversible ones such as cutting off too much hair, can cost you your reputation and client load, which can severely hurt you financially.
● Continue Your Education
The beauty industry is constantly changing. There are always new trends and techniques that are coming out, so attending continuing education classes and seminars are necessary.
● Have Beauty Insurance
Just like doctors have malpractice insurance, beauty industry professionals should have beauty insurance in case a client makes claims that an injury was your fault or an injury does happen while you are performing a service despite your best efforts. Beauty insurance can also protect you in case of property damages. Reading professional beauty insurance information online can determine which plan is right for you.
● Say “No” When you Have to
Clients can come in with unreasonable expectations. If a client wants a style, color, or look that is too risky, feel free to say “no.” It is better to have a client resent you or stop coming to you than to risk doing damage that can destroy you’re his or her looks for a while. If your client brings in a picture and wants a look “just like that,” be honest with them. If your client wants a service that you are not experienced enough in or never could develop the knack for, there is no shame in referring him or her to someone who you are confident can give them what he or she want.