When people consider a career in cosmetology, they often assume that they only need to learn the technical skills necessary to compete in the industry. When they start training with hands-on instruction, though, they usually find that to be only half true.
Along with traditional cosmetology skills, cosmetologists also need to master other practical skills, such as time management and problem-solving. People often refer to practical skills as "soft skills," but they're just as important as the hard skills learned in school. Soft skills are interpersonal skills that let cosmetologists relate to clients, stay flexible, and remain motivated when things get difficult.
A cosmetologist can perfect makeup application and deliver the perfect haircut, but they need these practical soft skills to keep clients returning to the salon.
Key Practical Skills for Cosmetologists
When applying for cosmetology jobs, be sure to note any soft skills you have on your résumé. Even if you've done some of the most prestigious hair shows in your region and have a natural ability to perfect highlights and low-lights, you still have to be able to juggle clients and make each of them feel like they are your priority during their session. That's what employers are looking for.
In fact, employers in cosmetology look for a lot of the same practical skills and life skills that other industries do — which means they're looking for cosmetologists to have not only technical education but life skills education, too.
What is life skills education? Think of it this way. Most of the basics taught in a "life skills class" — communication skills, critical thinking, leadership, having a positive attitude, the ability to work with a team, and work ethic — should be taught in cosmetology classes alongside the technical skills needed to be a successful cosmetologist.
Communication skills are necessary in order to relate with a diverse group of clients. Critical thinking skills help cosmetologists prioritize people and navigate uncertain situations. And leadership skills and having a positive attitude are both skills mastered by the best cosmetologists, as they have to lead every day when working with salon owners or running their own salons.
Unsurprisingly, a positive attitude and well-developed soft skills help cosmetologists best retain clients. Cosmetologists without these practical skills will struggle to develop a client base outside of training.
What are the Essential Life Skills of a Great Cosmetologist?
As you can see, there are several important life skills essential to cosmetology. The list might feel endless. Beyond the more general practical skills required of all professionals, though, there are other soft skills cosmetologists can specifically sharpen to keep clients coming through the door:
1. Great hygiene
When a client visits a cosmetologist, they are depending on the cosmetologist to keep them safe. Cosmetologists should take care of themselves and keep their shared equipment clean. While state licensing authorities issue sanitation standards, it's up to cosmetologists to adhere to those licensing requirements. Plus, it's one of the first things clients (and employers) notice if it isn't attended to.
2. Physical stamina
Physical stamina isn't reserved for athletes or surgeons who perform marathon surgeries. Cosmetologists also need physical stamina to be able to stand on their feet for hours on end and energetically serve clients. This is especially important when stylists are facing back-to-back appointments with no break in between. While this work isn't as grueling as certain physical jobs, cosmetologists need to be able to endure long days with few breaks.
3. Time management skills
Cosmetologists face a lot of hectic workdays, sometimes juggling multiple clients at once. That's why it's important that they learn time management. If you own your own salon, you'll need to learn to balance your time between serving clients and running the business. This means using the time between clients to perform business or administrative tasks, which will help you to avoid constantly handling business matters after hours.
Remember that cosmetologists need to master a lot more than technical skills; they need to remember soft and practical skills as well. To ensure you learn both, join us at the Hollywood Institute today!