The hair stylist’s ultimate guide to writing the perfect resume
A resume guide for hair stylists, including writing advice and examples to help you achieve the perfect resume that will land the salon job of your dreams. Topics covered include resume formats, resume summaries, key skills, work experience, and education.
Hair stylists make the world go ‘round – no seriously, have you ever encountered a person who missed their routine hair appointment? Without hair stylists, our appearances would be in shambles and our personal aesthetics missing the flare we love. As such, hiring salons look for stylists who are both talented and highly cognizant of what their clients want.
In this guide, we will discuss what makes a resume successful for hair stylists.
Keep reading to learn how to:
- Choose the best resume format for your experience as a hair stylist
- Write an engaging hair stylist resume summary
- Include a range of skills to showcase your talents and personality as a hair stylist
- Focus on key responsibilities and accomplishments in your work section
- Prioritize your cosmetology license in your education section
1. Choose the best resume format for your experience as a hair stylist
The resume format that is perfect for you is entirely dependent on your experience level as a hair stylist. If you are a highly experienced hair stylist, you may want to opt for a resume that prioritizes your work experience.
However, if you have just recently graduated from beauty or cosmetology school, you may want a format that focuses more on your skills and education.
With this in mind, here are the 3 main types of resume formats:
- Reverse-chronological: This resume focuses on work experience, making it the largest and most prominent section of the document. Employers typically expect to see this format, as it is the most commonly used resume by most applicants. However, it is not always well-suited to applicants who lack relevant experience.
- Functional: The functional resume removes the focus from work experience and places it instead on education, skills, and unpaid experience. This format works well for recent graduates of high school, college, or cosmetology school.
- Hybrid: A hybrid resume combines both of the other format types to create a resume that distributes focus more evenly between all sections. This format works great for candidates with some relevant work experience, those who are changing career paths, or those with large gaps in their employment history.
2. Write an engaging hair stylist resume summary
A resume summary is a brief, 1-3 sentence statement that starts off the document. In this summary, an applicant can describe:
- The years of experience they have
- The specializations, certifications, or licenses they hold
- Their passions and how they apply them to their work
- Their professional goals
- Any major accomplishments from previous positions
Though not considered a requirement for resumes, a well-written summary can do wonders for capturing the imaginations and hearts of employers. With the right summary, you can easily make your resume stand out from the hundreds of aspiring cosmetologists you are competing against.
Incorrect hair stylist resume summary example:
Hair Stylist with 3 years of experience working in a boutique. Many repeat clients and several highly-rated reviews mention my name on Yelp. Specialized in balayage and other coloring treatments.
What's wrong with this example? When writing your resume summary, not only should it offer specific details, but it should also portray your enthusiasm for the job. In this incorrect example, the applicant is far too vague and indifferent to leave a lasting impression on employers.
Corrected hair stylist resume summary example:
Licensed Hair Stylist with 3+ years of experience in boutique salons. Specialized in Balayage, Highlights, and Color Melt techniques. Directly mentioned in 50+ 5-Star reviews on Yelp at most recent salon, helping to increase salon’s overall rating from a 3.9 to 4.5.
Why is this better? This corrected example uses much more engaging language and more clearly shares the applicant’s experience, specialties, and success rate with customers. The applicant offers more context around the Yelp reviews, helping to frame it as a major accomplishment rather than just a bragging point.
3. Include a range of skills to showcase your talents and personality as a hair stylist
When including skills on your resume, it is important to understand the distinction between soft and hard skills.
Soft skills are interpersonal abilities that deal with how well you work with and communicate with other people. While these skills can be learned and improved, many of them come as inherent personality traits that professionals build off of.
Hard skills are technical abilities gained through training and education. These skills can only be improved through dedication and practice, making them highly sought-after qualifications.
Here are some examples of both hard and soft skills for hair stylists that look fantastic on a resume:
- Coloring and Color Matching
- Perming and Straightening Treatments
- Heat Tools
- Knowledge of Hair Patterns
- Hair Extensions
- Inventory and Supply Management
- Social Media Marketing
- Upselling Techniques
- Customer Service
- First Aid and CPR (You never know when there might be an emergency in the salon!)
- Verbal Communication
- Active Listening
- Conflict Resolution
- Time Management
4. Focus on key responsibilities and accomplishments in your work section
As a hair stylist, you need to put extra emphasis on your experience working with real human hair on real human heads.
During your training, your work with many mannequins and wigs before progressing to real people. Your resume should reflect this experience through specific details and compelling accomplishments.
Even if your most relevant experience is a low-pay or unpaid internship or apprenticeship, this experience still gives you the hands-on knowledge you need to succeed in the industry. It’s all about framing the position correctly to impress employers.
Here is an example of a work experience entry from a hair stylist resume:
Hair Stylist | Bev’s Beauty Bar
New York, NY | February 2019 to January 2021
- Providing coloring and color correction treatments to a regular customer base of 40+ clients.
- Exceeded individual sales goals by nearly 20% each quarter, helping to boost overall sales by more than 10%.
- Built a social media following of 10,000+, boosting brand awareness in the local neighborhood and helping the business to appear higher on search engine results pages.
5. Prioritize your cosmetology license in your education section
In addition to having obtained at least a high school diploma or GED, to become a hair stylist you will need to complete a cosmetology program to earn a cosmetology license. Each state can have different qualifications for the position and license, so make sure to look up the regulations wherever you reside.
When listing your education as a hair stylist, it is important to always include the following information:
- The name of your degree or certification
- The school, university, or certifying institution you attended
- Graduation and certification expiration dates
- Your cosmetology license information
Additionally, your licensing and certification information will likely be more important than your educational information on a hair stylist resume. As such, you should list your certifications and licenses first.
Here is an example of a well-crafted education section on a hair stylist resume:
Cosmetology License | AVEDA Institute Nashville
- Completed program: 2021
- Valid through: 2023
Certified Natural Hair Specialist | Wake Technical Community College
- Earned 2021
High School Diploma | Dew Valley High School
Dew Valley, SC
- Graduated: 2019
- GPA: 3.7