You know you’re good, but how is that potential new employer going to know it? Dress nicely, speak clearly, and demonstrate your passion for your industry and you’ll be sure to stand out.
Most of it is common sense and all of it is manageable. As founder of the Nails, Esthetics, Massage & Cosmetology Employment Agency (NEMCEA), I offer these tips for getting that job locked up.
1. Dress to impress and be on time every time.
This is the beauty industry. You should look beautiful when you walk in to have your first interview. Your clothes should be clean and wrinkle-free. Your personal style should be reflected in your clothing, but be conservative on your first visit — especially if you are bold and daring. Business attire is best, like black pants and a nice shirt with matching shoes. (I have to make sure my purse matches too…but that’s me.) Your hair should be styled appropriately and makeup should be worn. Of course those nails should be picture perfect. No one will hire a nail tech who doesn’t have her own nails well-manicured.
Here are some major don’ts:
> Don’t wear shorts, even if you see others doing it.
> Don’t show off too much cleavage.
> Don’t show off your belly.
> Don’t wear pants that are going to ride your hips and play peak-a-boo with your underclothes.
> Don’t wear tank tops; you’re not applying for a lifeguard position.
> Don’t chew gum when speaking to the owner or manager during your interview.
Be on time. No one likes late people. We know it happens sometimes, but when you are late from the start, you tell your prospective employer you have no regard for her time and you will have no regard for her clients’ time.
2. Speak clearly and with knowledge.
When speaking to someone on the phone or in person, SMILE. You should be happy when looking for the right salon to work in. If you are not happy, how can you make clients happy?
When you are asked questions, answer them to the best of your own knowledge. If you don’t know the answer, don’t be afraid to say so and be willing to find out.
Speak clearly and don’t mumble. Confidence can be heard in your voice. Remember you have the knowledge and now you are looking for the salon or spa that is willing to help you gain experience, clients, and a great reputation.
3. Be willing to work.
There are some nail techs who think that working a few days a week is going to work for them. Well if you are new to this industry, let me give you a few words of advice. Being at the salon every day that it is open will start to show clients you are dependable. It also says to the owner you are willing to put in your time, just like she did in the beginning of her career. We all have to start at the bottom, even if you have been in the industry for years and move to a new salon. You have to earn your respect; it isn’t just handed to you. You have to show the owner and clients that you can be trusted and are willing to stick it out to do what you love. This is sometimes the hardest thing for people in our industry to do; stick out the hard times. When things look dark, there will be a light that will guide you through and show you that all of your hard work was worth every ounce of energy you put into it.
4. Create a portfolio of your work and certificates to show prospective employers.
Create an album to show off your talent. You can do this with your smartphone or your Facebook page. Have it to show employers when you meet them. When you take any classes take a picture of your certificates and post them for everyone to see. Have them ready to show off; this will tell the salon owner/manager that you care enough to want to show off your work and accomplishments. She will be impressed — and using them on Facebook will show your friends and prospective clients that you are serious about your career choice. Your prospective employers will be checking out your Facebook page to see what kind of person you are and if you promote yourself to your audience.
5. Continue your education.
Take classes to improve your knowledge. Go to tradeshows to see industry updates on new trends and fashion. Take pictures of yourself at the events to show off. Shows have great classes to improve the working knowledge of your craft. Take advantage of the free classes that shows provide. If you are in a state that requires continuing education, take the classes and use the information to become more familiar with your industry.
Ask questions when taking classes; the educators love questions. We love to see people who are so happy to be learning and wanting to soak up knowledge. Never stop learning. Once you stop, then you will stop growing as a professional.
Education is one of the great keys to our industry. Educate yourself and everyone around you — especially your clients. When you have found the salon where you are going to work, educate your clients on what you are doing, using, and why you are doing it this way. Your clients will become educated on correct methods and will tell their friends. Your salon owner will be impressed you have taken the extra step to explain the correct way to do your clients’ nails.
Amy Davis is founder/CEO of the Nails, Esthetics, Massage & Cosmetology Employment Agency (www.nemcea.com). She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 571-5882.