How to Build a Cosmetology Portfolio That Will Leave a Lasting Impression.
Something that not a lot of beauty professionals or artists in training realize is the importance of a strong, organized portfolio. We get it– even a 20 minute interview can be overwhelming and completely nerve wrecking and if you’re not used to that type of direct, personal communication, you may end up selling yourself a little bit short. That lasting impression you were hoping to leave may not always work out quite as planned, but don’t worry, that’s where the magic of your portfolio comes in!
Now, don’t get me wrong– an interview is a very important part of the hiring process. An interview is the employers first opportunity to get to know you better as a person versus just a piece of paper. Here is where they observe your mannerisms, your communication skills, and the way your dress. However, your portfolio and resume are what got you in that interview chair in the first place! Overall, your portfolio should highlight the creative work and experience you’ve earned in the field which are the main components employers take into consideration when determining who they want to bring onboard. An organized portfolio also gives current and future clients more confidence in your work, resulting in a more reputable brand according to an article by Salon Success Academy.
If you’re in the market to start or even just switch up your beauty career or if you’re looking to spruce up your already established portfolio, follow these simple steps to building the perfect beauty presentation and leave a lasting impression.
1.) Create a Heart Throb Photo Gallery
Your photo gallery is going to be the most important section of your portfolio. Unfortunately, it is not ideal to bring your models with you to your interviews so the next best thing is their photos. Make sure to include between 10-15 sets of looks you’ve created including both before and afters. Make sure they are some of your more dramatic transformations and even a couple that aren’t so traditional. This shows your interviewer that you are versatile and that you do not shy away from a challenge. The more diversification you can show, the better! Also, make sure your gallery matches the job you’re applying for. If you’re interviewing for a position as a nail technician, please don’t provide any photos of the hair styles you’ve created, regardless of the magic you worked. If you’re applying for a job at a barber shop, maybe consider showcasing looks that involve using shears and razor cuts to highlight your precision and steady hand. Tailor your portfolio and resume to fit the job, even if that means having 3-5 different versions ready to use.
2.) Talk Yourself Up
An interview is one of the very few times where it is acceptable to brag about yourself a little bit. Your photos only tell half of your story whereas your experience tells the rest.
- Your Resume
Make sure it’s up to date, with all your most recent and relevant experience listed from most recent to least. Include any internships and volunteer experience, as well as any classes you’ve taken. This can include anything from business/ management courses you’ve enrolled in or more beauty specific classes such as, nail art and natural skin and hair care. Additionally, make sure it’s picture perfect and polished; not errors or typos or text out of alignment. Your font needs to be consistent throughout along with the sizing. If possible, try and make your resume one page– anything longer typically gets overlooked or thrown out.
Pat yourself on the back! If you’ve received any awards for styling, creativity, customer service, reliability or even attendance, showcase that in your portfolio. Recognition from others enhances your reputation and the punch that you pack. Have you participated in a design/ style competition? Were you a school ambassador? These demonstrate not only self-motivation and enthusiasm for the industry but also that you won’t shy away from a good challenge and that you have a leadership mentality– all very desirable qualities when it comes to the hiring process.
- Projects and Activities
Do you manage social media for your salon? Did you create a promotional contest or campaign to attract new clients? Have you done any educational outreach in the community or at local schools? Did you organize your salons’ monthly charity drive? By participating in projects and activities, you show passion and dedication to your craft while showing loyalty to your employers.
- Licenses and certificates
Once you earn your cosmetology license, make sure you make a few copies that can be passed out to future employers during your interviews. If you have a license in a related field such as barbering, or have earned additional certificates from taking classes, make sure you include those too. Anything from a lash or hair extension certification or maybe even microdermabrasion on the skin care side, needs to make your list. Licenses and extra certifications show that you’re serious about your career and the investment you’re making in yourself.
3.) Keep a Hard and Digital Copy
Aside from the fact that we’re living in the 21st century, we are also in the midst of a pandemic. Though precautions are being taken, some employers are holding preliminary interviews online or over the phone which is why it is important to have a digital copy of your portfolio and resume ready to go. It’s more accessible to employers, especially if you have it linked to your website or social media accounts. Additionally, when it comes time to updating your information and experience, which you should do every six months or so, having a digital copy will cut down on your editing time tremendously versus having to start from scratch each time.
Don’t lose that physical copy, though! You should have a physical copy with you at each interview you go on, even if you have already sent a digital copy to your potential employer. Chances are that you’re not the only interview of the day so having a physical copy handy will help keep your interviewer on track and focused on you. It also doesn’t hurt to look prepared. Keep your physical copy looking sharp by storing it in a 3 ring binder with dividers to help your interviewer navigate the pages easier.
If you’re ready to add to that other key piece of your resume and portfolio– your licenses and certifications– then you have found your answer with Creative Images Institute of Cosmetology. Whether you’re looking to start a career in cosmetology, esthetics, or nail care, we’ve got you covered! Each of our programs walk you through the fundamentals of all industry techniques, taught by licensed and experienced educators. To learn more, please call 888-569-2413 or visit our contact page to fill out our contact form.