Figuring Out What’s Next;

How to Find Your Perfect Salon Fit

There you are—fresh out of beauty school. You’ve got a head full of dreams, a certificate touting your talents, and your favorite shears burning a hole in your pocket. You’ve spent rigorous, grueling hours to get to this point, you’ve worked harder than you ever have, and you’re hands-down the readiest you’ve ever been to take on a new, exciting stage in your life.

But, what exactly is that stage and how exactly are you—a bright-eyed-and-brand-new graduate—supposed to find the perfect first salon of your dreams? How are you supposed to play matchmaker with a slew of salons to make sure you’re both meeting each other’s criteria?

Before you get overwhelmed, we’re going to stop the panic in its tracks—take a deep breath, we’re here to help.

Your first salon out of beauty school is definitely important, and it’s vital that you’re taking the time to find the right fit for both your talents, your personality, and for furthering your goals. We’ve put together a few criteria for you to review to help you decide on the perfect salon for your first job! Kick back, relax, and read up—and most importantly, don’t panic. There’s a salon out there that’s right for you—you just have to find it!

Consider These Factors When Picking Your Perfect-Fit-Salon

It can’t be all about picking any salon that’ll take you—sure, you’re fresh out of school, but you still have valuable talents, creativity, and a fresh perspective. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that’s not worth something! Even if you’re not starting at the top (it’s rare that you will if you’re just out of school!), you can still figure out the values that matter to you, which will undoubtedly help you pick a salon that’s right for you.

Talk Traini​​​​​ng

First things first, figure out how long you can expect to be an assistant. Because it’s your first job, you’re likely going to be playing the apprentice for several months (which is totally normal!), but you should definitely talk this through with your potential employer so you can both set reasonable expectations. Discuss everything you can plan to learn through their training, what you need to focus on in your own time, and what certifications and licenses you’ll be expected to achieve (or which would be helpful). Talk about how being an apprentice works—will you have benefits? Will you be hourly? Will you have your own clients? Once you address these factors—and weigh them against what you believe is fair—you’ll have a much better take on if that salon is a good fit for you.

Further, you have to remember that your career is constantly evolving. Getting a job is great (especially if you enjoy it), but it’s always important to consider how you’ll continue to grow while you have it. It’s not as if you’re going to get this job, hunker down, and never learn anything ever again—that would take a real effort on your part. But, it is vital that you consider how your new salon is going to consider your attitude for never-ending education. Do they support paying for you to continue your training so you can bring valuable skills back to their salon?

Salary’s a Thing—Don’t Pretend It’s Not (Benefits, Too!)

Yes, you’re in this industry because it’s your passion, but you have to remember it’s a job, too! What you make does matter—you have to live after all, right? And while you’re still a newbie and you’re fresh out of school (and can’t expect to put away tons of cash on your first job), you do deserve a fair and reasonable wage. It’s important to ask specific questions about your potential employer to figure out if they’re the right fit for you. For example, ask things like:

  • What is my payment structure—commission? Salary? Hourly?
  • How does commission structure work (if applicable)? Will commission be afforded to me during my training period?
  • Does this salon encourage and fund continuing education? If so, what does that entail?
  • What are the benefits your salon offers—health insurance? Dental? Disability Does this apply to myself or family as well?
  • Talk to me about your policies—time-off, holiday, sick leave, mental health days, etc.

Gleaning this type of information is hugely important for making an educated choice!

What’s the Word on Work Culture

It’s not all about what you make or what you’re doing at your new job—it’s also about how you feel. Why? Because if you’re consistently uncomfortable in your workplace, you’re not going to be at your best, and you’re certainly not going to enjoy going into work every day, either (and honestly, we believe that should be a big part of your career).

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the work culture—do they encourage teamwork? Do they have team-building events? Are you able to work with a mentor, or are you on your own? What about a dress code, does that apply?

Once you figure out the work culture, you’ll have if you fit into the culture and if that culture fits into who you are, too!