With your interviews for level two and apprenticeships coming up soon. Read this to make sure you stand out in the crowd!
If you want a job application that gets you noticed for all the right reasons, you’ll need to avoid these common mistakes most hairdressers make on their CV.
1. They forget to include a personal statement
You want to stand out from the crowd, right? Well the only thing that is going to sell you is you. Don’t be bland, show enthusiasm. Demonstrate your passion for hair and the aspects of it that you are good at in one introductory paragraph and you’re off to a perfect start.
2. They include bad photos of hair
Be objective about your portfolio and ask other people to give you their honest opinion too. If you’re not 100% sure that your portfolio reflects you in a positive light then invest some time in creating some images that are good enough. It is more important to have good quality hair than professional shots, so photos of friends or clients taken on your phone can be enough.
3. They don’t explain away any gaps
If you took some time out, had a period between jobs or went off in a different direction for a while, then think about ways you can explain this. Don’t just leave big gaps between roles in your CV or the employer might question or come up with their own theories on what you were doing.
4. They forget to include a photo
For many industries, including a photo is a bit of a no, no, but many salon owners like to see a picture to get a feel for who you are. If you do decide to include an image, it will need to reflect you and marry up to the values of the salon you are applying to. It goes without saying that your hair will need to look fantastic.
5. They detail how much they love to do their friends’ and families’ hair at home
This is such a cliché! Styling your friends and families’ hair is very different skill to the time constraints of working in a salon and can evokeschild-like connotations. There is also an underlying hint that ‘I might just take your clients and do their hair at home too’.
6. They fret about their grades
So you didn’t get on so well with academic work at school? You’re not going to be the first hairdresser to say that. If you are a stylist who can demonstrate passion for the industry and hairdressing flair, that is going to stand you in far better stead than straight A grades. If you want to do an apprenticeship, you will need A-to-C grades in maths and English in order to enrol on NVQ training, though.
7. They don’t check their spelling and grammar
There is NO excuse for spelling mistakes, nor simple grammatical errors. You might not have the best academic skills, but your CV is an important document and not checking it carefully gives the impression that you are sloppy and lazy. Use the spell check on your computer to resolve any spelling errors or types and, if you are unconfident about grammar, ask someone you trust to double-check. There is a really useful guide to some of the most common grammatical mistakes hairdressers make here.
8. They don’t mention details of industry courses they have been on
Been on a specialist colour course, a product house’s training or learned an additional skill like extensions or hair smoothing? Spell it out. You never know what expert knowledge your potential employer is looking for and if you don’t tell them about additional education, they are never going to know.
9. They write too much
If it is a popular salon with a great reputation (and quite frankly, why do you want to work there if it isn’t?), the chances are they are going to be bombarded with applications. Make your CV as easy to process as possible by filtering out the important information. Use bullet points and bold type face to highlight your key skills and experience.
10. They go over too many pages
A CV should be no longer than two pages. Even the most experienced applicant can keep their resume down to this length by avoiding repetition and being selective about what information they include. Stop and think what you write: do you really think a prospective employer wants to know that you enjoy nights out with friends or that you played the clarinet when you were 12?
If you have loads of work that you’re proud of, put it on a website – even something like Pinterest, Tumblr or your Instagram page will work – and include a link. Just make sure that the rest of the pictures you upload reflect you in a positive light, as it doesn’t take much work to search through your entire online profile!
11. They omit details of industry events they’ve attended
Rather like industry courses, your future employer will not know you have a genuine interest in the industry unless you can prove it. Attending Fellowship, HABIA, NHF or FHA hair shows or hairdressing exhibitions like Salon International demonstrates a commitment to your craft.
12. They don’t mention accreditation of industry bodies
If you’re a member of the Fellowship for British Hairdressing or a State Registered Hairdresser it says a lot about your philosophy and your standards. Make sure you shout about it.
13. They don’t supply suitable references
Even if you are just starting out as a hairdresser and are looking for an apprenticeship, it is never ok to include references (or testimonials) from friends or family. Former bosses or college tutors are ideal; senior members of staff at a former salon are acceptable if your boss isn’t exactly happy that you’re moving on. In the worst case scenario, clients who have been with you for years are all potential referees.
14. They don’t print it on good quality paper.
It might cost an extra pound or two to buy some decent paper, but it will be worth every penny when it lands you the job. Thick, brilliant-white paper is going to help you stand out from the floppy crowd. You might also want to think about putting your CV in a plastic wallet to really make an impact. Make sure it is pristine – under no circumstances should there be any creases or, worse still, coffee stains – on your resume.
With thanks to Rachael Gibson, Penny Etheridge, Radiant Hair Consultancy; Scott Smurthwaite, Cream Hairdressing; Steve Rowbottom, Westrow.