Preparing Your Job Application
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If you are a recent graduate, awaiting licensure, or contemplating your next move, it’s time to sit down and begin drafting your resume. Yes, this process can be a little overwhelming and intimidating, especially if this is your first job search. Confidence is acquired through action, and that comes with experience. Keep in mind, everyone who has a job was once someone who didn’t. Everyone starts somewhere and you can too!
If this is your first job or your first job in the beauty & wellness industry, you most likely have skill sets a potential new employer would value. These are called “transferable skills.” Transferable skills are the type of skills you didn’t necessarily learn while attending school, but they easily transfer to the workplace.
Many of these skills have been gained through other life experiences, such as past jobs, volunteering, hobbies, or interests. Keep in mind, even if these past experiences don’t necessarily translate to the beauty and wellness industry, they are still valuable in the workplace.
For example, let’s say while in high school you worked at a restaurant. You learned customer service skills, teamwork, and communication skills. These skills are transferable to your new career in the beauty and wellness industry. Did you play a sport? If you did, this means you were part of a team. You learned the true meaning of teamwork, communication, and time management skills. Note these on your resume and, before your interview, think of specific examples when these skills came in handy. Maybe you helped get your team to the championship round or won employee of the month. If the salon or spa owner asks about your experience, you’ll have examples ready.
Here are some examples of transferable skills:
Now, identify what skills could transfer to your next job. Think outside the box! Think about past experiences: babysitting jobs, part-time jobs, any sports teams, or other school teams and clubs that you participated in. No experience is too small or insignificant. Through these experiences, you have taken away invaluable skills you can apply to your future career; make sure your future employer knows! Write these skills down and own them. You will need to talk about them on your resume and in your interview.
Soft skills, also known as interpersonal skills, can make or break your beauty and wellness career. These skills are anything but "soft;" they are responsible for 80% of your financial success, yes, that’s right, 80%. The other 20% of your financial success is based on your technical ability. What that means; you have more opportunities to earn a better living and live a better life by focusing on developing your soft skills than you would if you focused only on your technical skills.
Utilizing data from O*NET and the Department of Labor, beauty schools, and employers, we researched job openings to find the most sought-after skills in our industry.
Working with clients is the most important part of a beauty and wellness job, and active listening skills are the number one most sought-after trait. Listen to the needs of your clients and provide the experience they are asking for. Go the extra mile, be patient, and ask questions: happy customers reflect you and your work.
Problem Solving and Decision Making
From ordering stock to fixing an updo, being able to weigh your options and make smart decisions is something you will use every day. Being able to think quickly and consider all the options will help you overcome roadblocks in your career.
The ability to ask questions during your consultation and to accurately communicate services, pricing and expectations will allow both you and your client to have the best possible experience. Being able to share your educated opinions and be the authority in your conversation, whether you are talking about services, products, or home care, will instill trust in your client and your employer.
Drive and Energy
When you arrive at work, you arrive ready to go. This means hair and makeup are done and all personal business out of the way. Arrive with a smile and kind words for your coworkers and clients. Set up your station and begin planning your day. Setting goals keeps your eye on the prize. Knowing what you want to achieve and creating action steps to get there will keep you motivated and focused. Need a tool to help? Check out our goal-setting growth journal.
Organization and Planning
Organization and planning can be troublesome for creatives, but even Picasso needed to organize his paints before he began his masterpieces. Whether you're creating a resume, business plan or a schedule for your client's color sessions, being able to organize yourself, your day, and all the information coming at you in a single hour is crucial to your success. Creating an action plan and then using it as your guide to navigate your day is crucial to balancing the life of a salon/spa employee.
In life and in business, communication is everything, it’s how we get what we want and what we don’t want. Employers are looking for people who are drama free, with a great communication style full of respect and kindness. Communication is not just talking, everyone can do that, listening, really listening by hearing a client's needs, wants, and preferences will not only make your job easier but will win you clients for life. Communicating effectively requires an ability to listen, persuade, and respond appropriately.
Building Your Resume
Now that you understand and have outlined your transferrable and soft skills, you can build your resume. Your resume is the first impression you make on potential employers. It tells the hiring manager what your professional skills you have and what you have accomplished.
When you create your resume, it’s important to make it well organized and easy to read. Resume formats vary, depending on the length of time you have been employed, but it’s typically recommended that you keep it at one page.
As for formats, resumes come in different shapes and sizes. The three most popular are Chronological, Functional, and Combination.
Chronological resumes demonstrate your work history in order of your last job performed, working backward down the list toward your first job. This resume format includes the start and end dates you were employed. If there is a lapse of employment or your experience is not relevant to the job, then try a Functional resume.
Functional resumes focus on skills and experience first. For this format dates don’t matter, it’s your skills you are showcasing. This format is ideal for someone with little or no pertinent experience in the job they are applying for.
Combination format is exactly what it says, a combo of both your chronological work history with a focus on your soft and technical skills. To see each of these formats, check out these resume examples.
Once you decide on which format works best for you, use these four tips to build a resume designed to catch a hiring manager’s eye and get your foot in the salon or spa door.
- Think about your skills. As we mentioned earlier, the amount of experience you have isn’t as important as the skills you have. Make sure for every job you put down, you explain how this experience will prepare you for a position in the salon and spa environment and specifically say what skill you learned on the job.
- Cite specific training. Hiring managers want to know specific information about your training. Think about what makes your education stand out. Did you attend a beauty show or a special workshop? Was your beauty school educator a specialist and taught you advanced techniques in that area? Mention this in your education section.
- Double-check everything. There is no room for mistakes on your resume. Ask a friend or family member to read through your resume and make note of any grammar, spelling, or clarity issues i.e. does it make sense? Does each job description point out a skill you’ll be using on the job? You can also use a proofreading site like Grammarly to review your document or pay a real editing professional to review it on Fiverr, with reviews starting at just $5.
- Show your work. One of the most important tools an industry professional can have is his or her portfolio. Your portfolio is what helps sell your work to potential employers and clients. It creates your personal brand and it sets you apart from others. In today’s digital world having a professional online presence is more important than ever. Websites, social media, and YouTube can help increase your visibility and build your personal brand all with a simple click of a button.
- Create a website. Whether you build your own through a site like Wix or Squarespace or use a portfolio-specific site like Folio HD, having a portfolio website makes it easy to share with potential employers.
- Create a “work-only” Instagram account. Instagram is a great way to showcase and market yourself. After all, our industry revolves around making people look and feel beautiful and it’s important to showcase your skills. Make a handle that is specific to your work as a professional and share before and after pictures, as well as videos of your technique, etc. Save the selfies and snapshots of your smoothie bowl for your personal account; this account should only showcase your work as a professional.
- Create a hard copy. If you’re going to an in-person interview, use a binder to include photos and descriptions of your work. Having examples for your hiring manager to see helps them visualize you as a member of the team. (Remember this should only be done for in-person interviews. If you’re submitting your resume via email or an online form, don’t attach photos unless specifically asked.)
Emails and Cover Letters
Once you have your resume complete, it’s time to draft a cover letter and submit your application. Most of your resume submissions will be online so crafting a compelling cover letter is extremely important. You will also need an email account, as that is the preferred way of communicating for hiring managers.If you have a website, you can create an email account with your website hosting company. It will cost you a few dollars a month, but the investment is well worth the price to have yourname@yourcompany. The same rules of keeping things short, sweet, and free of errors apply to your cover letter. Whether you’re attaching a Word document to an email or you’re filling in an application online, run your letter through a spelling and grammar check. This is where a tool like Grammarly can help.
Cover Letter Format
A great cover letter is written in a conversational tone, summarizing your resume and qualifications. Think of your cover letter as the first conversation you will have with the hiring manager. You are telling them who you are, what you have accomplished, and who you have worked for. Keep it brief enough to be read, no more than one page, and detailed enough to inspire the hiring manager to look at your resume. This is also your chance to ask for the job and tell him or her why you are the perfect person, above all others, for the position. Every resume should have a cover letter attached unless the employer specifically indicates one is not necessary.
When applying for a job, do your research on the salon/spa or company before you hit the send button. Visit their website and social media accounts. Check out Yelp and Glass Door for reviews. To enhance your chances of having your cover letter read and resume reviewed, it is a good practice to customize your cover letter and tweak your resume to include keywords from their website and job posting.
It takes preparation, patience, and, perseverance to find your dream job. Spend the time upfront to carefully and thoroughly prepare by building your resume, crafting your cover letter, and creating your professional online presence. Set a goal of sending 3-5 resumes out every day and before you know it, you’ll get an invitation to interview.