Some students see their first resume as a Catch-22: You can’t write a resume without experience, but you can’t get experience without a resume. As a teacher or school owner, you can help students craft this key 1-page document to frame their school experiences in the most relevant light.

In a recent Professional Beauty Association (PBA) webinar titled “Transition in Style: From School to Salon”, industry experts Winn Claybaugh, dean of Paul Mitchell Schools; Steve Gomez, a business coach with Milady; and Damien Carney, the founder of DC Professional offer advice on this subject and much more.

Students should include statistics from their work at the school-affiliated salon, Gomez says. This includes how many clients they serviced in a week, the average service ticket, the number of referrals, the percent of re-books, the average retail ticket, and weekly service and retail goals. As their instructor, it’s ideal to make the time to edit students’ resumes — but be sure the student has done a valid draft herself. Gomez advises students: “If you have someone else write it for you, you’re losing that opportunity for growth.”

The resume should also include experiences outside the classroom, from volunteering at school fundraisers to doing a beauty photo shoot (even if it’s for free) after hours. Claybaugh says, “I get e-mails from students saying they want to do hair and make-up for photo shoots, so I ask them how many photo shoots they’ve done. And they say none. ‘No one has hired me yet.’” Claybaugh’s response? “In other words, you’re waiting for someone to pay you for doing what you love to do,” he admonishes. Claybaugh urges students to put together their own shoots — finding a new photographer who wants to build her portfolio and a fashion institute student who wants to show off her designs — to gain experience. That kind of visionary thinking is both character and resume building.

Older students may be entering beauty from a different career path, and that experience should be listed on a resume, Gomez says, though he recommends being picky about which previous jobs are included when there’s more than one.  When answering a webinar question from a former human resources professional turned beauty student, he says, “I can’t think of a salon owner out there who wouldn’t want someone with human resources experience coming into the salon,” recommending at least the most recent job be represented.

Once a student gets a salon interview, she should arrive five minutes early (not more). “Time is money in this industry,” Carney says. Remind students to research the salon before the interview: where it's situated, its philosophy, marketing materials, website, and ongoing training opportunities. Most importantly, Carney says, be successful by being a pleasure to be around. “Keep everything positive,” he says.

The rebroadcast of PBA’s “Transition in Style” webinar is available for free (for a limited time) at Share it with your students.

PBA offers a student rate ($45 each for groups of five or more students). Learn more here.

Download a sample resume to share with your class at

What else do you encourage students to include in their resumes? Leave a note in the comments!

Illustration by Yuiko Sugino

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