Secrets to Successful Job Hunting
College can be difficult, with exams, assignments, work experience and much more to contend with, but it can often feel like a safe environment when compared to the big world of jobs and job-hunting. But with the right attitude, and decent preparation, finding a job is not as daunting as it first seems
Lynn Dowling from Kilkenny College of Beauty Therapy explains further: “I see young therapists struggling with this all the time but I can see some apparent pitfalls and honestly believe that the beauty business is booming again. I've seen firsthand a massive demand for therapists from beauty salons and spas. I feel you make your own opportunities, work hard, plan carefully and be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up. Every knock back you get only makes you stronger so pick yourself up and go again.”
Preparation for the job hunt begins long before graduation, the experts say. “Start with the best qualification you can get,” says Lynn. “Choose a reputable college with as many accreditations as possible. Get the most from your training, as there is often little difference in price to add another accrediting body, if a college is already affiliated with them.
“Then, have yourself as salon ready as possible. Try engaging in some commercial experience while in college, even if it is unpaid, as this will go a long way when seeking paid employment. Do what you need to do; my first job was cutting cotton and wiping a sunbed!”
Katie Everitt, Elite HD Brows Trainer at The Beauty School, and salon owner of The Brow Beautique, believes that work experience during training can help hugely when it comes to looking for a job. “During your training course or straight after, looking for a job to gain experience or as an intern can help you develop as a therapist at rapid rate and will stand to you. A salon environment can be far more challenging than a classroom. Experience can help you with customer care, managing client expectations, dealing with paying customers, complaints, and time management. This will quickly advance your skills as a working therapist along with detailed consultations and learning new techniques by watching more advanced therapists at work.”
CVs and interviews
On a practical level, make sure your CV is in shape, and that you are interview ready. “Get help to prepare your CV correctly and personally call into employers,” says Lynn. “Be assertive and ask for the manager or owner. Meeting face to face with potential employees makes an enormous difference. Remember it's a bit like a two-minute interview so present yourself well as first impressions last!”
Katie has the following tips for a good CV. “Keep it no more than two pages long. Tailor to your audience to focus on the exact skills required. Include a cover letter to explain why you are the best person for the job. Use bullet points to keep sentences short and to the point and make
it look good. Keep it current and up to date; not every career move needs to be recorded if not significant. Spell check and ask someone to double check it! Tell the truth and explain clearly what makes you unique.”
When you are offered an interview, make sure you do your research on the company and know what you can offer the job and the salon/business. Then, work on your interview skills. “Ask someone you know, who has experience in this field, to help you with interview skills,” says Lynn. “This help could improve communication techniques and give you simple suggestions to improve your performability. If you have difficulty finding help, reach out to your training college or local secondary school for advice.”
Katie advises to plan what to wear in advance, to make sure you look and feel your best and most professional self. “Be confident and show your interviewer your passion and drive for an opportunity for a career with the company. Follow up on the interview for feedback after a week or so. You could do this by email with a note that thanks your interviewer for their time and express your enthusiasm for the position and that you look forward to their response.”
Finally, a most important point is to keep learning, to enhance your employability and to keep yourself ahead of the competition. “The beauty industry changes so quickly, it is easy to lose touch with trends but also to
become complacent with your skills,” says Lynn. “CPD and upskilling is an excellent way to keep up to date with the fast pace of this industry and to keep your skills fresh. Look at for the newest trends in the industry and get ahead with your training to ensure you can offer employers something unique.”
Lorraine Galligan & Susan Kilcoyne from the Galligan Group gives us their top tips for beauty graduates looking for their dream job.
• Choose a college that offers a student salon: this will give you hands-on experience dealing with clients so that when you do land your dream job you are ready to hit the ground running.
• Start thinking about what area of the beauty industry you would like to get into: There are so many potential career paths in the beauty industry that it's important to consider all possible career options available to you. For example, what would you like to do when you graduate? Not all students are going to enjoy working in a salon. Would you like to be a tutor? Would you like to be a sales representative for a brand you love?
• Speak with your College Admissions Officer: Colleges are contacted
regularly by salons and spas looking to hire students who have just graduated or who are about to graduate. Most beauty schools will help their students as much as possible to secure jobs after they graduate.
Colleges understand the stress of trying to get a job aftergraduating.
• Update your CV before you leave college: Your CV will be your first
introduction to potential employers. Make sure you showcase all of the experience you have gained in college, eg what treatments did you do in the college salon? *Pro Tip: Use a design website such as www.canva.com (free!) to create a stunning CV that will stand out.
• Visit some salons/spas: This is the best way to get a feel for the environment you could potentially be working in. The industry is not only about what you can do for your employer but also what your employer can do for you. Book in for a treatment so you can understand how that salon works. If you don't get a good impression of somewhere when you leave then it probably is not the salon spa for you!
• Sign up with a recruitment agency: Registering with a recruitment agency can speed up the process of finding a job. Agencieslike BeautifulJobs.ie and the newly established Galligan Recruitment have a constant roll of new jobs coming through so registering your interest will keep you in the mind of the recruiter.
• Most importantly don't wait until you graduate to begin looking for work. By doing this, you can start to tailor your knowledge, abilities and experience to getting the job you want in whatever area you choose.