Here are some pieces of advice on how to put together your portfolio, what to say during your interview, what to bring and what to wear, plus where to look for salon jobs.
What to Bring
1. Research (be prepared to tell the salon owner or hiring manager why you are a good fit with the salon).
2. Resume (here's an example with pointers).
3. Portfolio (see “Putting Together Your Portfolio” below).
4. Pens and a notepad.
5. Check before the interview to see if you should bring a model and product to demonstrate your skills.
6. Your best attitude and energy.
Putting Together Your Portfolio
A portfolio with pictures of your work should show your skills while also letting the potential employer know you are organized. Purchase a simple binder from an office supply store, making sure to have plastic sheet covers, and include the following:
> A nice photo of a full set of acrylic pink-and-whites. It’s one of the most basic services and most employers will appreciate your skills in this department.
> A shot of toes. If you’re proficient in gels, then a photo of some nice gel toes, Rock Star toes, or other decorative toenails will be sure to impress.
> If you have a creative side, include up to five photos of your nail art. Even if you don’t plan on selling nail art as a service, it still shows the potential employer you are passionate about nails.
> Photos of any other nail specialties (wraps, Minx nail coatings, party nails, etc.).
> A copy of your license and any other accreditations or certificates you’ve earned (like completion of manufacturer courses, first-aid classes, or beauty school nail competition placements).
What to Wear
1. Look neat and professional. Your clothes should be clean and spotless, your shoes polished, and your jewelry minimal. Don’t show up to an interview wearing jeans, a too-short skirt, a low-cut blouse, dirty or smelly clothes, or anything else that could give off a sloppy first impression.
2. Gear your look to the salon’s look. If it’s young and hip, it’s OK to dress more on the trendy side — keeping in mind that employers are trying to gauge the type of impression you’d make on clients. When in doubt, go more conservative.
3. Have impeccable nails, hair, and makeup, but don’t go over the top. Keep your look natural and subdued.
4. Accessorize well, but not to the extreme. Wear small earrings and feel free to bring a neutral-toned purse (with room for a notepad and pen for writing down any follow-up information).
Next page: During the Interview