More than 20 years ago when I launched LongHairVideo.com, the predecessor to Hairboutique.com, I often was asked for the truth about getting a job in the hair world.
Even more specifically I was asked about how to get a job in the hair world which paid top dollar and benefits or led to work with celebrities.
Although the online world has drastically changed in many respects, in others, it's remained exactly the same.
The tools available for job searching have changed, but the basic rules have remained essentially the same, especially in the hair world.
Many people believe that the only way to get a job, whether in the hair world or not, is online.
Is this still the best way to get the job you want in the hair world for 2016?
In fact, creating a savvy resume with all the proper hair key words and uploading it to a dizzying array of job sites like Monster may not even get you any interviews.
Unfortunately your resume may very likely get lost in the search.
The real truth about getting a job in the hair world in 2016 requires you take several well-thought out actions.
Begin with a carefully conceived job treasure map which outlines your job goals.
Are you looking for any job right now that will bring in cash and help you pay off your cosmo school loans?
Or do you have a 3-5 year plan to someday become an apprentice to a hair guru like the fabulous Ted Gibson, hair god Oribe, the lovely Rita Hazan or other famous hair stylists?
Once you know your goals you can plan to capture the job you desire as quickly as possible.
Once you know your goals, you can create and work a job finding plan.
Follow your plan.
If getting a job fast if your goal consider the following avenues:
1. Call your cosmetology school to see if they have any help wanted listings. Some salon owners will try and find applicants by calling local cosmo colleges.2. If you're a new cosmo graduate, your school may have a job placement service. Take advantage of any opportunities to get help finding a job.
3. Be willing to take a temporary job in a business or hair venue which may not be your ideal situation, but could help you leapfrog to your ultimate job goal.4. Check the local papers which have wants ads. Make a list of salons or hair businesses which sound like a good fit for your skills and do a drive by.
5. If you like what you see, stop in and ask a general question about their hours or types of services. This gives you the opportunity to check out how the other stylists are dressed. Do they wear professional looking outfits or do they wear casual fashions? Do they rock multi-hued tresses or more conservative hairstyles?6. Once you get the lay of the salon return a few days later dressed and coiffed to match the salon culture. Ask if you might speak to the salon owner/manager.
7. Have a great copy of your resume and samples of your work you can show.
8. Understand the salon's pain problems. Do they have problems getting stylists to work evenings and weekends? If so, explain that you would be happy to work off-hour shifts. What other problems might the salon have that you could offer to help relieve?9. Be willing to do the hair job tasks you may not really enjoy, but will pay you money and help you make connections for future and better jobs.
10. Tell all your friends and relatives you are looking for a job. Ask them if they know of any places you might try.
11. Visit all the hair booth rental locations and ask if any of the booth renters are looking for a paid assistant or a paid intern. You might even be able to apply for a job at a booth rental salon doing shampoo, blow drying or other tasks which could help you eventually work up to your own booth.12. Be creative in your search. Think outside the box and always be ready to ask for a job.
13. If you get a no, ask politely why so that you can use that information in your next interview. Maybe you don't get a job because they worry about your lack of experience in the field or you lack experience in a specialty they offer (color, extensions, Keratin treatments, etc.,)14. Visit all the local beauty supply stores and ask if they know of job openings in the area. Some have job boards.
Rita Hazan is considered to be one of the hair colorists in the world today. She has experienced spectacular success.
Don't let her success fool you, she has worked incredibly hard for many years to rise to her current level of acclaim. Ditto for Ted Gibson and other big hair names.
At the beginning of her career Rita worked for the world famous Oribe and paid her dues learning the ropes. The time she spent with Oribe allowed her to grow her clientele until she was ready to strike off on her own. It didn't happen overnight and she put in very long hours to achieve her goals.
My dear friend, the last great Robert Hallowell was willing to take just about any hair job when he first graduated from cosmetology school in Los Angeles.
His willingness to relieve the pain threshold of movie, TV and video producers ultimately led to amazing hair gigs working for some of the biggest stars in the entertainment industry.
Robert was constantly working or in his spare time taking classes to improve his craft or doing clients in their homes. Robert never stopped and is probably still doing hair in the afterlife for late great celebrities.
How do you meet the hair gurus and become their interns or apprentices? Consider the following options:
1. Attend major hair shows where they will be giving speeches or making on-stage hair presentations. Network with them at the shows if that is possible.Sometimes the hair gurus will talk to show attendees after their presentations. Don't ask them to hire you. Do politely ask them if they have an intern or assist program in their salons.
2. Follow the hair gurus you admire on Social Media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or similar. Don't assault them, just learn from their posts. What is their pain thresholds? Do they need an assistant that will endure difficult situations and 24-7 demands to help them with their projects? Are you willing to wrangle luggage, run out for coffee or stand in the rain waiting for hair products to be delivered? If so, be prepared to offer your services. If not, move on.
3. Volunteer to work in local fashion shows, for low budget TV shows or for local model agencies. This helps to build your network of connections. You may have to work for no charge to get your name out there, but it will help you hone your skills and experience the fast paced world of celebrity hair demands.4. Be prepared to move to New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London or Paris. Although celebrities visit salons in all the major cities in the world, if you want to work in hair in the entertainment business, you have to be in the towns where the business is located.
5. Meticulously build your hair book, take classes in the hottest hair techniques and study what the most successful hair gurus are known for. Rita Hazan is famous for her amazing color while Ted Gibson is famous for his cutting and styling skills.
6. Volunteer to be a hair model for the big name salons in New York or LA or for the big hair shows. Although you may not get paid and you relinquish temporary control of your hair, you will have a chance to network with the stylists and their assistants. Who you know still counts in the celebrity world.7. Be careful not to do any obvious stalking which can only result in you being blocked or banned from working with the big name hair stars.
8. Use any connections from press and talent agents to limo drivers or others in the entertainment industry and always keep your eye on the prize.
The truth about getting a job in the hair world in 2016 is really not much different than it was in the mid 1990s when I launched Hairboutique.com.
While the online job sites exploded in the early 2000s, the key to finding a job in the hair world still requires that you list your job goals, make a plan and understand the pain in your target career.
If you can offer to help solve the pain, provide a solid example of your work and be willing to work hard, you will ultimately achieve the type of job you deserve.
Good luck in your job search. If I can help in any way, please email me with your questions and I will do my best.
Note: This blog does not promise or guarantee job acquisition results. It is based on my own personal opinions and experiences in the hair and job searching worlds.Dedication: This blog is dedicated to Skip who always has my back and is always teaching me new technical tips and techniques.