How to Beat the Competition: Landing a Job Right Out of Cosmetology and Beauty School

By John Amico..

Getting a job in today's market requires careful planning. By following these steps designed by John Amico SR and initiating a pro-active strategy for success, as new graduates, you can better position yourself from other beauty school graduates and experienced stylists as a potential employee and increase your chances of landing a salon position right out of school.


Think of where you want to be. A job with a Quick Service salon like Hair Cutters, We Care Hair, Supercuts, is a good start. They will pay you to build your skills and speed. The clients that go there are not expecting you to give the quality of a $50 cut. So you can be sure your skills will be acceptable.


Become an assistant or co-designer is a great place to start as well. You can assist and learn at the same time. Most will train you to earn a chair. They want skilled stylists in their company and it may take 6 months to a year to get a chair. Just think, you paid to go to school and now a salon is paying you to learn. This will be a good experience and can be a stepping-stone to your future. There once was a time where Mr. Amico was a shampoo assistant, too.


You can also become a front desk staff member and wait until there is an opening for an assistant or stylist. Remember you are still getting paid to learn. You will learn how to book, how to retail products, and more. You can also observe the senior stylists who make a lot of money, and you can learn how they do it.


Join a commission salon as a stylist and build a clientele. This may take a while but stay proactive and network because you must meet clients and bring them into your salon. Using your skills with the I Love My Hair Cards, getting your clients to refer others. Stop doing hair at home. Bring those clients in. WHY! Because only your close friends will come, most people don't want to go to a house and get their hair done because they don't feel comfortable. Also, you may not want everyone to come to your home. That means ": YOUR HOME CLIENTS CAN'T RECOMMEND ANYONE TO YOU" ou need clients to refer you and who better than your steady at home clients. Besides these clients will make you look busy and that's great. If these clients pay less in your home, ask the owner if you can charge them the old prices. "Because you are going to have them be your VIP clients who are going to refer people to you". It's like advertising and you will tell the clients they must refer people to get these prices. A WIN WIN!

What not to do: Graduate and say "wow I am done", now I can relax for a few weeks. Still, work at my part time job and then after I get my license then I will start looking. The longer you wait the more you will LOOSE YOUR CONFIDENCE. So look for a position starting at 1200 hours. Have a job before you leave school.

If you work full-time and go to school, don't quit your day job unless you have a secure full-time salon job. Don't make the mistake of saying, "wow, for 18 months I have gone to school nights and on Saturday's now I can take it easy for a while". A little while... can turn into to only doing hair in your home. You become frightened working in a salon because you have not grown in months and you only do a few clients a week. You have lost your speed and confidence. Here is what to do: Work in a salon 2 to 4 nights a week from 5:30 to 9 PM and all day Saturday. Sounds familiar? This is what you did for 18 months in school. Still, go to work and make your living and part time at night you will be working on making your fortune. Once you build you clientele and making as much in 20 hours as you do in 40 hours QUITE YOU'RE DAY JOB then you can go full time. Shortly, you will be making twice as much with 40 plus hours and have a great life with security and a future.

What not to do! Rent a Booth! don't have enough to pay rent and pay yourself. The only person that is happy to see you are the owner that you are paying the money to. The hairstylist ARE NOT HAPPY TO SEE YOU. Because every walk in client or new client they want not the new girl in the salon. Plus the one who doesn't want you in the salon is the slowest. They are really unhappy you are there.

When should you rent: when you have a clientele that you do at least $1,000 a week in services. Remember, you have all the risk, your clients who say that they will come in won't, expenses you never had before, rent you have to pay, plus all the supplies you have to buy. If you are not a big booking stylists, you can't make the will fail and go home and do hair in your house.

2014-nov-pic 1OK where do you start?

  1. Be assertive. Many salons regularly contact our school and sometimes visit us. When asked to be in shows do it, go to shows, any outside education, do it. Network with the educators that we bring into school or at our classes. Plus, talk with Student Services they have a list of salons that are looking for staff.
  2. Define yourself as a brand. You may be supremely proud of those photos on your Facebook page that show your styles. DON'T USE 4 LETTER WORDS OR NEGATIVE COMMENTS...YOU ARE NOW IN THE CLIENT AND SALON OWNERS RADAR. The 4 letter words, you begin drunk at a party, political or any negative comments can hurt you. You are now a BRAND just like JZ or JLO. Certain images and postings could be harmful to your image if you have your profile set to public viewing. Potential employers may sneak a peek to get a better feel for a candidate, and the content on your social media pages can make or break your chances at landing a job. On a side note: a very nice student who used the F word on Facebook over and over is now a dropout. Probably a good thing for her because she would have a very hard time rebuilding her image. Owners are very concerned about a staff member running them the brand image.
  3. Increase your network. As new graduates expand the scope of their job searches. Apply for jobs in more than a singular career field and at multiple levels, like apply for stylists, colorist, assistant, haircutter, front desk hostess, also ULTA as a beauty consultant and even as a beauty sale rep. Keep thinking, I get paid to learn this industry, that gives me options because you are in the Business of Beauty.
  4. Expand your job market. Many successful salon professionals have followed a very circuitous path in their careers, and it's rare to find someone in an established beauty career that was planned for his or her first years out of school. Be open to following paths you had not previously considered.
  5. Plan ahead. Be open about the positions you accept. You may need to take a lower-level position in a salon as a new graduate and build skills crucial to success in your field. Exhibiting excellence in an entry-level position can lead to a more lucrative job in the future and even and employer offering you a partnership or ownership.
  6. Build your happy book and resume. Take a lot of pictures, build you Happy Book and put your certifications and awards in there. This is your story of success in your book. Work every day and stay busy. Your cost of education is your tuition plus the 1500 hrs of work. If you make only $8 and hour your cost of education is $12,000 plus. Either you are busy and productive manikins, clients, and models. If you waste 3 hours a day that $25 times 200 days or a waste of $4500 of your time. Enter every competition and take pictures whether you win or loose, your mannequin and models will look great and you will be very successful in the job hunt. The show, Tell and Sell. If you have had a good GPA and Attendance percentage get a personal letter of recommendation from Mr. Amico, his endorsement can go a long way with owners who admire his achievements. One note: he doesn't give them out unless you have proved yourself and been a good student.
  7. Go Out Meet and Greet. Visit as many salons as possible and get an overview of where, what and who you want to target. Each salon has an image and brand. The larger chains have HR groups that recommend you apply online. DON'T DO IT." You will be part of the clutter. Go in meet the manager, bring your book, and have a great resume created. If the manager is not there don't leave it. You want to make an impression. DRESS FOR SUCCESS! If you have tattoos cover them up. If you have PINK hair color, change it to a Calm Fashion Look. There is a small group of salons that would want stylists with face jewelry and tattoos. The more acceptable you are the more likely no one will prejudge you. Once you get established you can stick out until then blend in.

    Once in the salon ask for the owner or manager, if they're not in ask when they are in and what their name is. Don't say to the stylists behind the desk, are you looking for stylists? Here the automatic answer is NO. Why because she doesn't anyone else in the salon or she just doesn't know. You could call in advance and ask whom the manager or owner is and find out then they are there.

    You are there to look at it, evaluate it, and find out when the manager or owner is there. Most of the time, if they are there they will be busy, so all you want is an appointment to discuss employment. Just try to get the appointment. If they start asking you questions be prepared to have a slick One-minute presentation about you so they want you for an interview" IN OTHER WORDS WHY SHOULD THEY GIVE YOU AN APPOINTMENT'. In your one minute presentation, you can mention facts such as; I have extensive abilities in hair color, cutting, styling, hair attachments, I have performed at shows, a recent graduate of John Amico and love to sit down with you and discuss a position and ...keep going for the appointment. When can I stop back in when you have time to talk and I will bring my portfolio"? In some cases, you might have to wait but they can see you then. If they are progressive they are always looking for future staff members. They may already have enough staff today but what about the girl next week that gets sick. You are then the first one for them to call.

    If Lady Gaga's hairdresser applied...they would hire her in a minute. You have to have that same luster about yourself. Nice, bubbly, confident and have something to offer. There are many salons that want to serve all markets and clients. So you should not be concerned with areas or neighborhoods. We have a much-diversified Chicago land and set your sights on where you want to be.

  8. Establish Your Goals: Make your 1 and 2-year Goals, the type of salon and lifestyle you want. Take out your calendar and work backward from the new car in 2 years to today and the major steps you need to get there. Don't let things or people get in your want and stay away from the controllers who want you only to do what they want to do. Don't be independent. THIS IS YOUR LIFE AND YOU ONLY HAVE ONE. Make it the best.

    What about Salon Ownership? Mr. Amico has owned 425 salons and many were million dollar plus salons. When you have the salon experience and feel you are ready to come back and he will guide you. He had helped many salon owners create million dollar plus chains, spas, and salons. Whether you have 1 year or 10 years in the business he will help guide you. Right out of school is NOT THE TIME for 99% of graduates.

    In closing, Beauty Changes Lives because LIFE IS A DO IT TO YOURSELF PROJECT. Make your Dream Come True...First, make a living and though your continued self-education will make you a FORTUNE.




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