To become a hairdresser, you are going to need excellent communication skills. You’ll be doing more than cutting, trimming, colouring, and straightening people’s hair. You’ll be the advisor on any scalp problems people have, and often asked advice on the best treatments to use. That could be a shift in the shampoo people are using, or advice towards how many colouring treatments are done.
You’ll also be required to have good creativity skills, and an up to date knowledge of fashion, as hairstyles tend to come and go with different trends.
Sometimes you’ll have clients coming to you, with no clue as to what hairstyle they want, which you’ll then be required to call on your creative styles to suggest makeovers suited to your client.
Some of your clients may be going for a full makeover, looking to transform their appearance, so you’ll need to a good imagination to see beyond what you’re client looks like, and be able to envision a finished new look, your client will adore. For this, you will need to have the courage to tackle the unknown. Once you do a hair styling on each client, they can’t have it undone. They need to feel good about the look you create, and for you to continue in this career, you need to get it right every time to boost the trust customers have in your talent.
The customer experience is another area you need to focus on. Cleanliness is a lot to do with that. While some hair salons will have cleaner, tidying and brushing the hair around your area, there are many where it’s the responsibility of the hairdresser to keep their workstations clean and tidy. Organisation is necessary as well. A cluttered workstation where you can’t find the tools you need for the job, makes an unprofessional experience, which is an absolute no go in the industry.
You will need to speak to customer to obtain a thorough understanding of what they want done. Then, while you’re styling, cutting, or colouring their hair, you will be speaking with them on a variety of topics. You will need to be courteous at all times.
Clients become regulars, and through time, you can build up a business relationship, similar to a friendship. Always remember their clients though and don’t let your professional courteousness standards slip.
There are a couple of ways for to train to become a hairdresser. You can do this working as a trainee, where the salon you work with will send you on day release to train towards your accreditation certificates.
The other route is to put yourself through training. National Vocational Qualifications are all you need for this type of work. Graduate qualifications aren’t essential, unless you plan on opening your own hairdressing studio, where Degrees in business, or Finance will serve you better, but from an employer perspective, they only need to know you’re up to the job, and know what you need to know to serve their customers with a great experience. Once on the job, and if you want to further develop your skills for specialist jobs in hairdressing, you can work towards Foundation Degrees in other areas, such as Bridal hairstyling and wig-making.
This is an ideal way for you to find out which type of hairdresser you’d rather be. Working with female clients, you’ll often have more variety in the work you do, whereas barbering you will be working with male clients, with not as much hair.
Although, that isn’t always the case.
Your customers will mainly be looking at short, neat, and tidy haircuts, although there are clients who will want colouring done as well from time to time. Further training can then be approached when you decide on which clientele you’re more comfortable working with.
The reason there’s a higher course in hairdressing is that it’s a broader amount of work you’ll be doing, involving a lot of creativity, makeover, colouring etc.
There’s also scope to further narrow your skills into speciality areas, such as studying towards a Level 3 Diploma in African Caribbean Hairdressing, which not every hairdresser is able to do. This could help you find work with clients needing that professional skill, or even assist current salons expand the services they offer, through your assistance.
These are areas you can further study towards gaining Foundation Degrees in, to help you move your career into a specialist field.
Trainee jobs in salons are the most popular way into a hairdressing career, as well as following through on taking relevant training courses, to gain the qualifications required to become a hairdresser and access full-time, permanent hairdresser jobs.
Once you’re into the career, there’s so many jobs and potential for you develop into different fields, carrying out a number of styling jobs, from colouring, shampoo treatments, to full hairstyle makeovers, all of which can be found in a number of places. Salons are the most popular places to find hairdressing jobs.
Where to find hairdressing jobs in salons
The first place to look for jobs is in nearby hairdressers and established salons. Some of these businesses may also be offering apprenticeships as well. If you find that there aren’t any trainee positions available, then you can do your training at your local college to prepare you for when job openings arise.
With the hotel industry being ripe with competition, there’s a growing demand to increase the services they can offer to their customers. Part of this can be an in-house salon service, providing a full makeover experience, spa days, pampering treatment, manicures, in addition to full hair styling services. The full works! Only part of the jobs in the hotel sector require hairdressers, and they will look for those with advanced qualifications, to ensure their customers get the experience of a lifetime, ensuring they make the best impression to leave the customer feeling superb, increasing their opportunities of gaining repeat business, as well as encouraging others to use their hotel salon service. You can be a part of that experience.
Hairdressers are needed within residential care homes, providing a valued and necessary service to those who can’t travel to the salons, due to mobility problems. Most hairdressers in this line of work will be offering this through mobile service.
As mentioned in the above about travelling to care homes, catering to the needs of residents, in full-time care, there’s a number of people looking for the same type of service. For those with a busy lifestyle, struggling with time, who can’t make it to a salon, they’ll find it advantageous to use a mobile hairdresser to come to them, where they can have their hair done, at a time convenient to them, without having to fit their appointments around opening times. You’ll find this line of work will require you to operate your own business, self-employed, so there will be more work required than doing the styling, cutting, and colouring of clients’ hair. Business knowledge will be required along with the ability to work around the hours suitable to your clients. You can find that can involve working unsociable hours, but there are opportunities for regular hours, if you choose to travel to care homes, where your services are required continually.
Just like hotels, cruise ships offer the same services to clients, with on-board salon facilities. This can see you travelling the world, while providing customers with an exceptional experience, where they can have their hair styled professionally, ready for arrival at the next destination the cruise-liner is set to arrive at.
Similar to care homes, there are patients in hospital for long periods at a time. They still need their personal needs cared for while they are under hospital care. Hospitals don’t always offer full-time work, but they will have hairdressers allocated to come in at appointed times, to care for the needs of patients.
As a prison hairdresser, you will need higher-level training. Quite often in this line of work, you’ll be employed as a qualified assessor, assisting in skill development, within a rehabilitation role, training prisoners towards their NVQ certificates in hairdressing.
The armed forces have of all types of jobs, and since army personnel are often required to work away from home, on various camps, you’re services will be required in the army to maintain a professional look and keep personnel hairstyles groomed, so they can operate in their roles efficiently.
Whatever type of hairdressing jobs you find yourself working in, you can further progress on to become a senior hair stylist, salon manager, or work as a training assessor, evaluating students training towards their NVQ qualifications. Self-employment may be a route for you to consider too. Some salons don’t employ hairdressers themselves. Instead, they can boost their revenue, through renting salon chairs to independent hairdressers. This is something you may also want to consider, as it can be a cheaper alternative to setting up your own hairdressing salon.
There is no set rule as to the amount a hairdresser can earn. A hairdresser’s wages will vary according to many factors including experience, qualification, job title, role responsibilities and location. However, generally a newly qualified hairdresser will earn a little more than the minimum wage (plus tips), while top stylists can earn in excess of £50k plus per annum. Click here for more information on hairdressers wages
In addition to the qualifications required to become a hairdresser and attain hairdresser jobs you will also need various personal attributes. A hairdresser should have good communication skills. A large part of a hairdresser’s time is spent in close proximity to clients, so the ability to make conversation and explain what you are doing is vital. A hairdresser should also be hardworking and prepared to put in long hours when required, especially at busy times like just before Christmas.